Fata Morgana

O SWEET illusions of song
That tempt me everywhere,
In the lonely fields, and the throng
Of the crowded thoroughfare!

I approach and ye vanish away,

I grasp you, and ye are gone;
But ever by night and by day,
The melody soundeth on.

As the weary traveller sees

In desert or prairie vast,
Blue lakes, overhung with trees
That a pleasant shadow cast;

Fair towns with turrets high,

And shining roofs of gold,
That vanish as he draws nigh,
Like mists together rolled --

So I wander and wander along,

And forever before me gleams
The shining city of song,
In the beautiful land of dreams.

But when I would enter the gate

Of that golden atmosphere,
It is gone, and I wonder and wait
For the vision to reappear.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Probably the best thing about endeavoring to learn about poetry and poems for myself is that I can choose what catches my interests as opposed to having it forced upon me as it often is in school.This poem is from Birds of Passage, Flight the Third (1873). Longfellow was recognized in his lifetime and I think a new work by him was looked forward to. Bob Blair from The Poet's corner, an ardent admirer writes:
    "Part of the Longfellow caricature is of a poet self-consciously poetic (and) Longfellow's Fata Morgana has a lot of archaic conventions in it, but at heart it is a plain complaint about the impossibility of achieving perfection. "

Not only is Fata Mogana known as the legendary sister of King Authur but it's also a term used by Sicilians as the name of a mirage that manifests during certain seasons off the Calabrian coast.


Part of the Longfellow caricature is of a poet self-consciously ...:

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

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