Taboga

By James Stanley Gilbert

 

I know of an isle in the mighty Pacific,

To which Nature retires when her day's work is done,

And thence doth she issue decrees soporific

That govern the world to the rising of sun.

 

There she marshals the stars and parades constellations,

Commanding their march o'er the fleece-adorned blue,

And orders the moon to pour silver libations

To the Master of Night and his shadowy crew.

 

On the crest of the mountain a rude cross erected

By rev'rently pious hands long years ago,

Spreads sheltering arms, in soft light reflected,

O'er the bamboo-build hamlet that nestles below.

 

Down verdure-clad slopes and terracing reaches,

Where orange and mango and pine-apple grow,

One wanders thro' Eden to ocean-washed beaches—

An Eden that only the sun-children know.

 

Here Idleness tarries and Care is a stranger;

Here Love has his grotto and fashions the darts

That bear on their flight their ever-sweet danger

To eagerly waiting and passionate hearts.

 

Alas that our happiness never lacks leaven—

That an anchor is chained unto every delight!

That Taboga's a place which might be called Heaven,

Were it not for the fact that it isn't,—not quite!