I will row my boat on Muckross Lake when the grey of the dove
Comes down at the end of the day; and a quiet like prayer
Grows soft in your eyes, and among your fluttering hair
The red of the sun is mixed with the red of your cheek.
I will row you, O boat of my heart! till our mouths have forgotten to speak
In the silence of love, broken only by trout that spring
And are gone, like a fairy's finger that casts a ring
With the luck of the world for the hand that can hold it fast.
I will rest on my oars, my eyes on your eyes, till our thoughts have passed
From the lake and the sky and the rings of the jumping fish;
Till our ears are filled from the reeds with a sudden swish,
And a sound like the beating of flails in the time of corn.
We shall hold our breath while a wonderful thing is born
From the songs that were chanted by bards in the days gone by;
For a wild white swan shall be leaving the lake for the sky,
With the curve of her neck stretched out in a silver spear.
Oh! then when the creak of her wings shall have brought her near,
We shall hear again a swish, and a beating of flails,
And a creaking of oars, and a sound like the wind in sails,
As the mate of her heart shall follow her into the air.
O wings of my soul! we shall think of Angus and Caer,
And Etain and Midir, that were changed into wild white swans
To fly round the ring of the heavens, through the dusks and the dawns,
Unseen by all but true lovers, till judgment day,
Because they had loved for love only. O love! I will say,
For a woman and man with eternity ringing them round,
And the heavens above and below them, a poor thing it is to be bound
To four low walls that will spill like a pedlar's pack,
And a quilt that will run into holes, and a churn that will dry and crack.
Oh! better than these, a dream in the night, or our heart's mute prayer
That O'Donoghue, the enchanted man, should pass between water and air,
And say, I will change them each to a wild white swan,
Like the lovers Angus and Midir, and their loved ones, Caer and Etain,
Because they have loved for love only, and have searched through the shadows of things
For the Heart of all hearts, through the fire of love, and the wine of love, and the wings.