How sweet it is to dream and let

The turbulence of life go by,

An islet in a river set,

Watching the scudding clouded sky.

Fern fronds trailing fingers wet

Reach out to touch a floating spar

Incuriously, for such things are.


How sweet, with reason left behind,

To feel the wind in grassy hair,

Not wondering, with placid mind,

What presages the quickening air,

And makes its whisper sound unkind,

Or why the sky, from blue to grey,

Veils its face and dims the day.


Not noticing the birds grow still

And little life a listening stand,

Or how the ducks with anxious bill

Their feathers fluff and make for land.

And black-browed clouds are boding ill.

Ignoring all the warning tones

Of murmuring currents in the stones.


Unmindful of the sullen roar

Of the dark waters upstream.

No hint of unkind fate in store

Disturbs this islands idle dream.

While water walls, like Severn Bore,

In angry flood, engulfing all

Upon the sleeping island fall


Brief Nightmare, as in anguished fight

My little isle seeks to withstand

The raging torrent. Seen from sight,

But for a branch, like clutching hand

Above the foam, it fades in watery night.

But Oh how sweet it were to dream

Unheedful of the cruel stream!


Copyright H. St. Vincent Beechey August 1954