Sea-Grief by Dowell O'Reilly

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Along the serried coast the South wind raves,
Grey birds scream landward through the distance hoar,
And, swinging from the dim confounded shore,
The everlasting boom of broken waves    
Like muffled thunder rolls about the graves
Of all the wonder lands and lives of yore,
Whose bones asunder bleach for evermore    
In sobbing chasms and under choking caves.    
O breaking heart --- whose only rest is rage,
White tossing arms, and lips that kiss and part
In lonely dreams of Love's wild liberty --
Not the mean earth thy suffering can assuage
Nor highest heaven fulfil that hungry heart,
O fair, full bosomed, passionate, weeping Sea!

First published in The Bulletin, 10 June 1899, and again in the same magazine on 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percval Serle, R. H. Croll, and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964; and
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982.

Author: Dowell O'Reilly (1865-1923) was born in Sydney and educated at Sydney Grammar.  He was elected to parliament in 1894, but was defeated at an election in 1898.  He then became a master at his old school, where he remained until 1909.  His daughter Eleanor later achieved fame as the novelist Eleanor Dark.  He died in Leura, NSW, in 1923.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 10, 2011 8:17 AM.

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