Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Occasional Poems
Kenoza Lake
 
          This beautiful lake in East Haverhill was the “Great Pond” of the writer’s boyhood. In 1859 a movement was made for improving its shores as a public park. At the opening of the park, August 31, 1859, the poem which gave it the name of Kenoza (in the Indian language signifying Pickerel) was read.

AS Adam did in Paradise,
  To-day the primal right we claim:
Fair mirror of the woods and skies,
  We give to thee a name.
 
Lake of the pickerel!—let no more        5
  The echoes answer back, “Great Pond,”
But sweet Kenoza, from thy shore
  And watching hills beyond,
 
Let Indian ghosts, if such there be
  Who ply unseen their shadowy lines,        10
Call back the ancient name to thee,
  As with the voice of pines.
 
The shores we trod as barefoot boys,
  The nutted woods we wandered through,
To friendship, love, and social joys        15
  We consecrate anew.
 
Here shall the tender song be sung,
  And memory’s dirges soft and low,
And wit shall sparkle on the tongue,
  And mirth shall overflow,        20
 
Harmless as summer lightning plays
  From a low, hidden cloud by night,
A light to set the hills ablaze,
  But not a bolt to smite.
 
In sunny South and prairied West        25
  Are exiled hearts remembering still,
As bees their hive, as birds their nest,
  The homes of Haverhill.
 
They join us in our rites to-day;
  And, listening, we may hear, erelong,        30
From inland lake and ocean bay,
  The echoes of our song.
 
Kenoza! o’er no sweeter lake
  Shall morning break or noon-cloud sail,—
No fairer face than thine shall take        35
  The sunset’s golden veil.
 
Long be it ere the tide of trade
  Shall break with harsh-resounding din
The quiet of thy banks of shade,
  And hills that fold thee in.        40
 
Still let thy woodlands hide the hare,
  The shy loon sound his trumpet-note,
Wing-weary from his fields of air,
  The wild-goose on thee float.
 
Thy peace rebuke our feverish stir,        45
  Thy beauty our deforming strife;
Thy woods and waters minister
  The healing of their life.
 
And sinless Mirth, from care released,
  Behold, unawed, thy mirrored sky,        50
Smiling as smiled on Cana’s feast
  The Master’s loving eye.
 
And when the summer day grows dim,
  And light mists walk thy mimic sea,
Revive in us the thought of Him        55
  Who walked on Galilee!
 
 
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