Stars in the Sea by Roderic Quinn

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I took a boat on a starry night
   And went for a row on the water,
And she danced like a child on her wake of light,
   And bowed where the ripples caught her.

I vowed as I rowed on the velvet blue
   Through the night and the starry splendour;
To woo and sue a maiden I knew
   Till she bent to my pleadings tender.

My painted boat she was light and glad,
   And gladder my heart with wishing,
And I came in time to a little lad
   Who stood on the rocks a-fishing.

I said "Ahoy!" and he said "Ahoy!"
   And I asked how the fish were biting --
"And what are you trying to catch, my boy,
   Bream, silver and red -- or whiting?"

"Neither," he answered; "the seaweed mars
   My line, and the sharp shells under --
I am trying my luck with those great, big stars
   Down there in the round skies under."

Good-bye from him, and good-bye from me.
   And never a laugh came after;
So many go fishing for stars in the sea
   That it's hardly a subject for laughter.

  b18990415-p10-Stars in the Sea-illo-amended.jpg

First published in The Bulletin, 15 April 1899;
and later in
Aussie: The Australian Soldiers Magazine, 4 April 1918;
The Bulletin, 1 February 1950;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Note: the poem was originally published with the accompanying illustration.

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

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 15, 2011 8:57 AM.

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