Farewell to Havana

Julia Ward Howe

My sight is blank, my heart is lorn;   
My tropic trance of joy I mourn,—   
That stolen summer of delight,   
Dreamed on the breast of wintry night,   
When sad, true souls abide the North,           
And we, love-truants, issued forth   
To find, with steady sail unfurled,   
The glowing centre of the world.   
The glorious sights went fleeting by;   
I had no hold on earth or sky:           
Two little hands, one helpless heart,   
Could claim and keep so small a part.   
A shadow of the stately palm;   
A burnish of the noontide calm;   
A dream of faces new and strange,           
Darkened and lit with sudden change;   
A joy of flowers unearthly fair   
In giant Nature’s tangled hair;   
A joy of fruits of other hue   
And savor than my childhood knew;   
A sorrow, as the vista grew,   
Longer and lesser, cherished too;   
A pang of parting, heart-bereft   
Of all I had,—is all I’ve left.   
To cheer my journey what remains     
Towards the rude heights where Winter reigns,   
What love-nursed thought shall shield my breast   
Warmer than cloak or sable vest?   
One hope serene all comfort brings,—   
Who made thy bonds did lend thy wings;     
Who sends thee from this faery reign   
Once brought thee here, and may again.

Main Location:

Havana, Cuba