Sunday, March 6, 2011

Icicle Drops / Arthur John Lockhart

Icicle Drops


Fast from yon icicle's inverted spire,
Yon shining minims, glittering in the sun,
Fall brightly down, sheen drops of fluent fire,
Momently hanging, — sinking, one by one, —
Sliding clear beads as down a silver wire;
So archer-stars shoot thro' abysses dun;
So blood drips down from the knive's fierce desire;
So fall our moments; so our tears do run.

With drop on drop, with everlasting flow,
With changing atom, and revolving sphere,
Our never-resting lives must downward go; —
Still hung in momentary brightness here,
Then sinking to that breast toward which incline
The drops that glow, and eke the beams that shine.


The sun, at length, with a more fervent fire,
Hath gained a subtle mastery of the dawn;
And, still more swiftly, from the less'ning spire
The hastening gems descend, till all are gone.
But, lo! they come! The vanish'd ones surprise
In golden mist, my wistful, musing sight;
Soul o' th' earth, its exhalations rise,
And soon the drops return to air and light.

There shall they hang 'mid purple glooms aloof,
With clouds noon-white, or tinct with crimson eve:
Or shine supreme in Iris' circling woof,
Wherein his married hues the sun doth weave.
And so this falling life shall not remain
Sunk in the earth; 'twill rise to Heaven again.

Arthur John Lockhart (1850-1922)
from Beside the Narraguagus, and other poems, 1895

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada, the United States, and the European Union]

Arthur John Lockhart biography


  1. All rights reserved by the author's estate-please do not copy. I was wondering how you have a copy of this poem, and what do you have to do with Dr, Reverend Arthur John Lockharts (Paster Felix) estate. I would love to know the details thanks. Jane (Lockhart) Waugh

  2. Thank you for commenting. I have very few details on Rev. Lockhart; those I have are in the biography at Nor am I connected with his estate. The poem is actually public domain in Canada (as Rev. Lockhart died before 1962), the United States (as it was published before 1923), and England (as he died before 1942); the copyright notice is displayed because this blog can be accessed worldwide, including in countries where the poem may still be under copyright. I first heard of Rev. Lockhart when I found "Icicle Drops" in an online anthology (which may have been Songs of the Great Dominion), but IIRC that copy did not carry the entire poem, which I searched out and found in the above-cited book (which is linked in the biography).