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Ch. 8: A Ripple Song


Once a ripple came to land
In the golden sunset burning--
Lapped against a maiden's hand,
By the ford returning.

Dainty foot and gentle breast--
Here, across, be glad and rest.
"Maiden, wait," the ripple saith.
"Wait awhile, for I am Death!"

"Where my lover calls I go--
Shame it were to treat him coldly--
'Twas a fish that circled so,
Turning over boldly."

Dainty foot and tender heart,
Wait the loaded ferry-cart.
"Wait, ah, wait!" the ripple saith;
"Maiden, wait, for I am Death!"

"When my lover calls I haste-
Dame Disdain was never wedded!"
Ripple-ripple round her waist,
Clear the current eddied.

Foolish heart and faithful hand,
Little feet that touched no land.
Far away the ripple sped,
Ripple--ripple--running red!

Rudyard Kipling