The Sandpiper

by Celia Thaxter

Across the lonely beach we flit,
    One little sandpiper and I,
And fast I gather, but by bit,
    The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
    The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,
    One little sandpiper and I.

Above our heads the sullen clouds
    Scud, black and swift, across the sky:
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
    Stand out the white light-houses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
    I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach,
    One little sandpiper and I.

I watch him as he skims along,
    Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
    Nor flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong,
    He scans me with a fearless eye;
Staunch friends are we, well tried and strong,
    The little sandpiper and I.

Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,
    When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My drift-wood fire will burn so bright!
    To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
    The tempest rushes through the sky;
For are we not God's children both,
    Thou, little sandpiper, and I?

 

 


Frank Benson

Title:

Sandpiper, The

Poet:

Thaxter, Celia

Year of Publication:

1872

Age Appropriate:

12+

Subject:

Birds

Form:

Octaves, rhymed double quatrains

Stanza:

4

Type:

Description

Lines:

21

Rhyme:

abab

Literary Period:

Romantic

Things to Discuss:

Who is the speaker in the poem? Is this just a lyric description of the habits of a sandpiper, or is there a deeper meaning considering that the sandpiper is a he and the poet a she? What is the setting of the poem?

About the Poet:

1835-1894