A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Will-o'-the-Wisp" by Annie Campbell Huestis (1878-1960)
In Garvin, John William, ed. Canadian Poets. Toronto, Canada: McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, Publishers, 1916. pp. 275-276.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 275]

The Will-o'-the-Wisp

THE Will-o'-the-Wisp is out on the marsh,
  And all alone he goes;
There's not a sight of his glimmering light
  From break of day to close;
But all night long, from dusk till dawn,
  He drifts where the night wind blows.

The Will-o'-the-Wisp, he has no roof,
  Yet he seeks not hut nor hall;
He will not wait for a friendly foot,
  But starts if a shadow fall;
And never a voice can make him turn,
  But the far off winds that call.

The twilight covers the dreaming hills,
  The evening dews begin;
There's none to care that he wanders there,
  There's none to call him in;
And all the night, with his lonely light,
  He goes where the mists have been.

From firelit window and open doors,
  The roads have golden bars;
And round and round the world is bound
  By a girdle of radiant stars;
But I watch to-night for a fleeting light
  That a moment makes or mars.

Flit, flit, with the hurrying hours,
  In shadow and mist and dew
Will-o'-the-Wisp, O Will-o'-the-Wisp,
  I would I could follow you,
With your elfin light for a lantern bright
  The bogs and the marshes through !

O Will-o'-the-Wisp, in silver dusk
  Who'd wish for golden dawn?
In purple night, with stars a-light,
  Who'd dream of noontide gone?
Who would not stray by the glimmering way
  Your wandering feet are drawn ?

[Page 276]

The dawn comes over the silent hills,
  And calls to the winds of morn;
The stars grow pale, and the sun cries, 'Hail!'
  To the shadowy fields forlorn;
And good-bye, good-bye, to the Will-o'-the-Wisp,
  Who dies when the day is born!


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom