Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Herding

by Cale Young Rice

Quietly, quietly in from the fields
Of the grey Atlantic the billows come,
Like sheep to the fold.
Shorn by the rocks of fleecy foam,
They sink on the brown seaweed at home;
And a bell, like that of a bellwether,
Is scarcely heard from the buoy--
Save when they suddenly stumble together,
In herded hurrying joy,
Upon its guidance: then soft music
From it is tolled.

Far out in the murk that follows them in
Is heard the call of the fog-horn's voice,
Like a shepherd's--low.
And the strays as if waiting it seem to pause
And lift their heads and listen--because
It is sweet from wandering ways to be driven,
When we have fearless breasts,
When all that we strayed for has been given,
When no want molests
Us more--no need of the tide's ebbing
And tide's flow.

Cale Young Rice (December 11, 1872 – January 24, 1943) was an American poet and dramatist. He was born in Dixon, Kentucky to Laban Marchbanks Rice, a Confederate veteran and tobacco merchant, and his wife Martha Lacy. He was a younger brother of Laban Lacy Rice, a noted educator. Cale Rice grew up in Evansville, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky. He was educated at Cumberland University and at Harvard (A.B., 1895; A.M., 1896).

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