"In Silence and Tears" by Mabel Forrest

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As I watch how the slender white oars dip 
   In a line of light thro' the waters green, 
And along the blade how the clear drops slip 
As they cut a path to the waiting ship
   Through the ocean's changing sheen, 
I note well how every white sail fills, 
   How the sun hangs low on the shore behind, 
How the dawning's rose still enwraps the hills, 
And the distant gleam of the mountain rills, 
   And the scents in the summer wind. 

I note, too, the brown of your sunburnt cheek, 
   Of your restless eyes and your fretting hands, 
Of how you falter the words you speak, 
All your wavering purpose, your faith so weak -- 
   One who watches you understands. 
And yet I move not -- I hold no arms 
   Towards your silence to break the spell; 
I make no effort of conscious charms. 
No luring softness that Fancy warms; 
   And so - there is naught to tell! 
Only the beat of the long white oar, 
   And the jewelled drops on the slender blade; 
And the vessel shall speed to a far-off shore; 
And we who, once parted, can meet no more, 
   Of a life's joy can stand afraid! 


There are others, they say, who have prayed full well 
   With white souls seared with some cruel fate, 
And that never a soul prayed yet and fell, 
   Though the answer came too late. 
Ah! but I have seen a white ship sail,
   And heard to my own heart a lost heart call; 
Tho' no earthly voice spoke the spirit's wail, 
And I knew that, at last there was no avail, 
   And the silence conquered all.   
Only a word to have broke the spell!
   The soul leapt up with a glad reply; 
Nothing in speech could have helped to quell 
The wild, fierce faith that had trusted well - 
   But the silence made it die.

First published in The Queenslander, 20 March 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 20, 2014 7:44 AM.

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