Waters of Wellington by Ethel Turner

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Through forty hours of wraith-white mist
   We splendid broke a way.
Faint on the ocean's farthest edge  
   A smear of purple lay.  

A smear of purple, warmed with rose
   And wine ran o'er the sea.
"Now feel I as Columbus felt,"
   Laughed low my heart to me.

Who first of very first time sees
   A new land far ahead.
Drinks of the fiery sailor's cup,
   And breaks his yeasty bread.

Wine-red the seas a little space,
   Then sudden shot with grey;  
And lilac veiled the fringy coast,
   Light lilac washed each bay.

Silent we slipped along the sea,
   And now the shores swim near,
Stern guards at arms around their land,
   Still, secret, and austere.

And red-roofed round the water's edge
   The sprinkled townships lay.
Or red-roofed climbed the sheerest bills,
   And clung 'twixt sky and bay.

O, not as other hills the hills
   That rose both near and far,
All crumpled in a thousand shapes,
   And creased with water-scar.

And so I came to Wellington,
   Piled round its opal sea.
"Now feel I as Columbus felt,"
   Laughed low my heart to me.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May 1926

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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