Sydney Cove, January, 1788 by Roderic Quinn

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She sat on the rocks -- her fireless eyes,
   Teased and tired with the thoughts of yore,
And paining her sense were alien skies,
   An alien sea and an alien shore.

In gold-green dusks she glimpsed new flowers,
   And the glittering wings of gleaming birds,
But haunting her still were English bowers,
   And the clinging sweetness of old love-words.

A soft breeze murmured of unknown shores,
   And laughed as it touched her with fingers light,
But she mourned the more for the wind that roars,
   Down sullen coasts on a northern night.

Like topaz gems on a sable dome,
   The stranger stars stole shyly forth,
She saw no stars like the stars of home,
   That burn white-fired in the frosty north.

A restless sea was at her feet,
   A restless sea of darkest blue,
The lights burned dimly on the Fleet,
   And these were all the ships it knew.

She watched the dark tides rise and fall,
   The lion-tides that night and noon
Range round the world and moan and call
   In sad sea-voices to the moon.

Through hour and hour they ebbed and flowed,
   Till last with sudden splendor day
Lit all the scene with gold and showed
   An arrow black on a garb of grey.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 March 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 27, 2011 9:56 AM.

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