The Water Lily By Henry Lawson

The Water Lily is one of my favourite poems. For me, it captures the death of a loved one perfectly, especially the emotions felt after a miscarriage. Henry Lawson created fantastic imagery in this poem that acts as a metaphor for wanting to join somewhere in death but having to wait. It’s an incredibly powerful poem and I hope you enjoy it.

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!’

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