The Water-Lily by Australian poet Henry Lawson (19th century Australia)

The Water-Lily

A lonely young wife

In her dreaming discerns

A lily-decked pool

With a border of ferns,

And a beautiful child,

With butterfly wings,

Trips down to the edge of the water and sings

“Come, mamma! come!

Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!”

And the lonely young wife,

Her heart beating wild,

Cries, “Wait till I come,

Till I reach you, my child!”

But the beautiful child

With butterfly wings

Steps out on the leaves of the lily and sings:

“Come, mamma! come!

Quick! follow me!

And step on the leaves of the water-lily!”

And the wife in her dreaming

Steps out on the stream,

But the lily leaves sink

And she wakes from her dream

Ah, the waking is sad,

For the tears that it brings,

And she knows ’tis her dead baby’s spirit that sings:

“Come mamma! come!

Quick! follow me!

Step out on the leaves of the water-lily!”

 

What are your thoughts on this poem?

What is one technique that Henry Lawson used to capture the reader?

Kaye LindenThe Water-Lily by Australian poet Henry Lawson (19th century Australia)

4 Comments on “The Water-Lily by Australian poet Henry Lawson (19th century Australia)”

  1. patricia stein

    This poem gave me the chills. It pulls or draws you into a vortex that you feel compelled to follow

  2. ellen herbert

    Lovely narrative poem.
    Love the dreamy dialogue and imagry of the lilly pads that look solid on the surface, but won’t hold when one steps on them.

  3. Kaye Linden

    Thanks for the comment, Ellen. Interesting about the lily pads. They are symbolic of life’s journey – so many illusions, so many wrong turns and captivating situations that lure us in. k.

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