Euroclydon [poem by Henry Kendall]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Kendall was published in Leaves from Australian Forests (1869).]


On the storm-cloven Cape
The bitter waves roll,
With the bergs of the Pole,
And the darks and the damps of the Northern Sea:
For the storm-cloven Cape
Is an alien Shape
With a fearful face; and it moans, and it stands
Outside all lands

When the fruits of the year
Have been gathered in Spain;
And the Indian rain
Is rich on the evergreen lands of the Sun;
There comes to this Cape —
To this alien Shape,
As the waters beat in and the echoes troop forth,
The Wind of the North,

And the wilted thyme,
And the patches past
Of the nettles cast
In the drift of the rift, and the broken rime,
Are tumbled and blown
To every zone
With the famished glede, and the plovers thinned
By this fourfold Wind —
This Wind sublime!

On the wrinkled hills
By starts and fits
The wild Moon sits;
And the rindles fill, and flash, and fall
In the way of her light,
Through the straitened night,
When the sea-heralds clamour, and elves of the war
In the torrents afar,
Hold festival!

From ridge to ridge
The polar fires
On the naked spires,
With a foreign splendour, flit and flow;
And clough and cave
And architrave,
Have a blood-coloured glamour on roof and on wall,
Like a nether hall
In the hells below!

The dead dry lips
Of the ledges, split
By the thunder fit
And the stress of the sprites of the forkéd flame,
Anon break out
With a shriek and a shout,
Like a hard bitter laughter cracked and thin,
From a ghost with a sin
Too dark for a name!

And, all thro’ the year,
The fierce seas run
From sun to sun,
Across the face of a vacant world!
And the Wind flies forth
From the wild white North,
That shivers and harries the heart of things,
And shapes with its wings
A Chaos uphurled!

Like one who sees
A rebel light
In the thick of the night,
As he stumbles and staggers on summits afar —
Who looks to it still,
Up hill and hill,
With a steadfast hope (though the ways be deep,
And rough, and steep),
Like a steadfast star;

So I, that stand
On the outermost peaks
Of peril, with cheeks
Blue with the salts of a frosty Sea,
Have learnt to wait
With an eye elate
And a heart intent, for the fuller blaze
Of the Beauty that rays
Like a glimpse for me —

Of the Beauty that grows
Whenever I hear
The Winds of Fear
From the tops and the bases of barrenness call:
And the duplicate lore
Which I learn evermore,
Is of Harmony filling and rounding the Storm,
And the marvellous Form
That governs all!

Henry Kendall, Leaves from Australian Forests, Melbourne: George Robertson, 1869, pages 19-23

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