The Water Lily

Henry Lawson, 1890

      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!
             'Quick! follow me —
      '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!'