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A Ripple Song

by Rudyard Kipling, 1919

Once a ripple came to land
  In the golden sunset burning—
Lapped against a maiden’s hand,
  By the ford returning.

Dainty foot and gentle breastHere, across, be glad and rest.
“Maiden, wait,” the ripple saith;
“Wait awhile, for I am Death!”

“Where my lover calls I go—
  Shame it were to treat him coldly—
’Twas a fish that circled so,
  Turning over boldly.”

Dainty foot and tender heart,
Wait the loaded ferry-cart.
“Wait, ah, wait!” the ripple saith;
“Maiden, wait, for I am Death!”

“When my lover calls I haste—
  Dame Disdain was never wedded!”
Ripple-ripple round her waist,
  Clear the current eddied.

Foolish heart and faithful hand,
Little feet that touched no land.
Far away the ripple sped,
Ripple—ripple running red!

Published in Rudyard Kipling's Verse: Inclusive Edition, 1885-1918

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