Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
503. A Strip of Blue
 
By Lucy Larcom
 
 
I DO not own an inch of land,
  But all I see is mine,—
The orchard and the mowing-fields,
  The lawns and gardens fine.
The winds my tax-collectors are,        5
  They bring me tithes divine,—
Wild scents and subtle essences,
  A tribute rare and free;
And, more magnificent than all,
  My window keeps for me        10
A glimpse of blue immensity,—
  A little strip of sea.
 
Richer am I than he who owns
  Great fleets and argosies;
I have a share in every ship        15
  Won by the inland breeze,
To loiter on yon airy road
  Above the apple-trees.
I freight them with my untold dreams;
  Each bears my own picked crew;        20
And nobler cargoes wait for them
  Than ever India knew,—
My ships that sail into the East
  Across that outlet blue.
 
Sometimes they seem like living shapes,—        25
  The people of the sky,—
Guests in white raiment coming down
  From heaven, which is close by;
I call them by familiar names,
  As one by one draws nigh.        30
So white, so light, so spirit-like,
  From violet mists they bloom!
The aching wastes of the unknown
  Are half reclaimed from gloom,
Since on life’s hospitable sea        35
  All souls find sailing-room.
 
The ocean grows a weariness
  With nothing else in sight;
Its east and west, its north and south,
  Spread out from morn till night;        40
We miss the warm, caressing shore,
  Its brooding shade and light.
A part is greater than the whole;
  By hints are mysteries told.
The fringes of eternity,—        45
  God’s sweeping garment-fold,
In that bright shred of glittering sea,
  I reach out for and hold.
 
The sails, like flakes of roseate pearl,
  Float in upon the mist;        50
The waves are broken precious stones,—
  Sapphire and amethyst
Washed from celestial basement walls,
  By suns unsetting kist.
Out through the utmost gates of space,        55
  Past where the gray stars drift,
To the widening Infinite, my soul
  Glides on, a vessel swift,
Yet loses not her anchorage
  In yonder azure rift.        60
 
Here sit I, as a little child;
The threshold of God’s door
Is that clear band of chrysoprase;
  Now the vast temple floor,
The blinding glory of the dome        65
  I bow my head before.
Thy universe, O God, is home,
  In height or depth, to me;
Yet here upon thy footstool green
  Content am I to be;        70
Glad when is oped unto my need
  Some sea-like glimpse of Thee.
 

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