The Phantom Horsewoman

Queer are the ways of a man I know:
              He comes and stands
              In a careworn craze,
              And looks at the sands
              In the seaward haze
              With moveless hands
              And face and gaze,
              Then turns to go . . .
And what does he see when he gazes so?

They say he sees as an instant thing
              More clear than today,
              A sweet soft scene
              That once was in play
              By that briny green;
              Yes, notes alway
              Warm, real, and keen,
              What his back years bring—
A phantom of his own figuring.

Of this vision of his they might say more:
              Not only there
              Does he see this sight,
              But everywhere
              In his brain-day, night,
              As if on the air
              It were drawn rose bright—
              Yea, far from that shore
Does he carry this vision of heretofore:

A ghost-girl-rider. And though, toil-tried,
              He withers daily,
              Time touches her not,
              But she still rides gaily
              In his rapt thought
              On that shagged and shaly
              Atlantic spot,
              And as when first eyed
Draws rein and sings to the swing of the tide.

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