Went round the bay,
And up and down the shallow sands
Sang water at their play.
The mangroves drooped on salty creeks,
And through the dark,
Making a pale patch in the deep,
Gleamed, as it swam, a shark.
In streaks and twists of sudden fire
Among the reeds
The bream went by, and where they passed
The bubbles shone like beads.
All night the full deep drinking-song
Of Nature stirred,
And nought beside, save leaping fish
And some forlorn night-bird.
No lost wind wandered down the hills
To tell of wide,
Wild waterways; on velvet moved
The silky, sucking tide.
Deep down there sloped in shadowy mass
A giant hill,
And midway, mirrored in the tide,
The stars burned large and still.
The fisher, dreaming on the rocks,
Heard Nature say
Strange, secret things that no one hears
Upon the beaten way;
And whisperings and wonder stirred,
And hopes and fears,
And sadness touched his heart, and filled
His eyes with star-stained tears:
And so, thrilled through with joy and love
And sweet distress,
He stood entranced, enchained by her
First published in The Bulletin, 26 February 1898, and again in the same magazine on 24 August 1949;
and later in
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1946;
A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright, 1956;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Australia Fair: Poems and Paintings edited by Douglas Stewart, 1974;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985; and
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008.
Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library