barefootsong: Silhouette of someone jumping against a sunset sky. (jump)
[personal profile] barefootsong

I would I had been island-born.
I dearly love things insular:
The coral bed, the quaint bazaar,
The palm and breadfruit never shorn,
The smoking cone that cannot char
The azure of a tropic morn,
The dancing girl in soft cymar,—
All these such lures, such wonders are—
Oh, why was I not island-born?

In island crossed of Capricorn
In Otaheite, wild Happar
Lurk all the powers that make or mar.
The ogress, wrinkled like a Norn,
The parrot-fish, the nenuphar,
The tides that leave in quiet scorn
The moon out of their calendar,
Miranda’s cave, Nausicaa’s car,—
All these are for the island-born.

’T was on a far-off isle forlorn
That Haidee wore her golden bar,
Virginia seemed a drifted spar,
Rarahu’s loving heart was torn,
Sweet Allan Bane, in peace and war,
Awoke St. Modan’s harp outworn,
And Graziella her guitar;
She bore the brimming water-jar
Not grieving to be island-born.


Prince, on three islands, sundered far,
Thine were life’s flower, its husk, its thorn.
Ripe grew thy wrath on Elba’s scar,
In St. Helena sank thy star.
Napoleon, thou wast island-born!

       ~ "A Ballade of Islands" by Lucy Robinson



Hyper-annotations added by me. There were only two I couldn't solve. The first was "The tides that leave in quiet scorn / The moon out of their calendar" in the second stanza. The other was "Virginia seemed a drifted spar" in the third stanza. (Possibly it refers to the wreck of the Sea Venture on Bermuda while en route to Virginia?)
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About the girl

The random musings of a librarian with a passion for reading (duh), a vast curiosity about the world, and a penchant for noticing things most people don't (like the way sunlight falls through the leaves on a tree).

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