Wanderers Lost by C. J. Dennis

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Oh, we are the phantoms of rovers lost --
   See how the mocking mirages play!
Men who have ventured and paid the cost.
   Lone, waiting women, 'tis vain to pray!
We died unshriven, as rovers die,
And no man knows where our white bones lie.
   Black birds gather when rovers stray,
   Out where the mocking mirages play.

A maiden has waited a long year thro'.
   Mark where a crow from the northward flies!
"Ah, can he be false that had sworn so true?"
   They say that a wanderer woos with lies.
A maiden has waited and counted the days,
Since a lover went roving the northward ways.
   What do they profit -- unheeded sighs?
   Mark where a crow from the northward flies!

Out in the desert a still thing lies.
   Westward the sun is sinking low.
Who is to mourn when a rover dies?
   Hark!  'Tis the caw of a sated crow.
Who is to tell of a mad'ning thirst --
Of a lonely death in a land accurst?
   Merciful God!  Is she ne'er to know?
   (Hark to the caw of a sated crow.)

Oh, we are the legion that never came back --
   Ever have rovers to count the cost.
Men who went out on the waterless track.
   Curst is the plain that was ne'er recross'd!
Restless to roam o'er the desert our doom,
Till our end shall be known and our bones find a tomb.
   Mourn for the souls of wanderers lost,
   Ever have rovers to count the cost.

First published in The Critic, 12 January 1905

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 12, 2013 9:17 AM.

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