Celia Laighton Thaxter was an American writer of poetry and stories. She was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Life and work
Thaxter grew up in the Isles of Shoals, first on White Island, where her father, Thomas Laighton, was a lighthouse keeper, and then on Smuttynose and Appledore Islands.
When she was sixteen, she married Levi Thaxter and moved to the mainland, residing first in Watertown, Massachusetts at a property his father owned. In 1854, they accepted an offer to use a house in Newburyport. The couple then acquired their own home, today called the Celia Thaxter House, built in 1856 near the Charles River at Newtonville. She had a son, Roland, born ... more »
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Celia Thaxter Poems
Across the lonely beach we flit, One little sandpiper and I, And fast I gather, but by bit, The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry.
Black lie the hills; swiftly doth daylight flee; And, catching gleams of sunset's dying smile, Through the dusk land for many a changing mile The river runneth softly to the sea.
Rock, little boat, beneath the quiet sky, Only the stars behod us where we lie, - Only the stars and yonder brightening moon
From out the desolation of the North An iceberg took it away, From its detaining comrades breaking forth, And traveling night and day.
Sunflower tall and hollyhock, that wave in the wind together, Corn-flower, poppy, and marigold, blossoming fair and fine,
In that new world toward which our feet are set, Shall we find aught to make our hearts forget Earth's homely joys and her bright hours of bliss? Has heaven a spell divine enough for this?
Thou little child, with tender, clinging arms, Drop thy sweet head, my darling, down and rest Upon my shoulder, rest with all thy charms; Be soothed and comforted, be loved and blessed.
"Tell us a story of these Isles," they said, The daughters of the West, whose eyes had seen For the first time the circling sea, instead Of the blown prairie's waves of grassy green:
Come under my cloak, my darling! Thou little Norwegian main! Nor wind, nor rain, nor rolling sea Shall chill or make thee afraid.
The Spaniards' Graves
O sailors, did sweet eyes look after you The day you sailed away from sunny Spain? Bright eyes that followed fading ship and crew, Melting in tender rain?
At her low quaint wheel she sits to spin, Deftly drawing the long, light rolls Of carded wool through her finders thin, By the fireside at the Isles of Shoals.
"What is that great bird, sister, tell me, Perched high on the top of the crag?" "'T is the cormorant, dear little brother; The fishermen call it the shag."
O look at the horses and people! How they hurry and trample and fight! And the smoke blowing over the steeple,-- O look, how the guns shine bright!
Here is a problem, a wonder for all to see. Look at this marvelous thing I hold in my hand! This is a magic surprising, a mystery Strange as a miracle, harder to understand.
Comments about Celia Thaxter
Across the lonely beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I,
And fast I gather, but by bit,
The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud, black and swift, across the sky:
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach,