Round the Coast at Kiama [poem by Philip Durham Lorimer]

[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]

Round the Coast at Kiama

Oh ! nigh to the roar of the broken sea-waves
Of the cliff-bordered ocean I roam,
Where the billows are leaping up high to their cave
In the walls overhanging their home.
No cares have I now, while that emerald deep
Is bespangled with foam and with spray ;
For my wildest of thoughts a rich harvest can reap,
From the sea round Kiama to-day.

Not often — as now — can I hear the loud surge,
Or can list to the mighty refrain
Of that deep sound which peals like mortality’s dirge,
As it moans from the face of the main.
There loudly it breaks on the wide rugged shore,
On a coast where the hurricane strews
Too many a wreck that the billows roll o’er
As the storm-waves have rolled o’er their crews.

The blow-hole is loud, and its rumblings are hoarse
In its fierce, roaring growl of disdain ;
The sea rushing back to return with a force
That is spent in the hollow again.
For ever it seems that a feud between each
Has been fought and embittered by strength ;
But the rock must give in to the ocean’s vast reach,
And be conquered by water at length !

The buffeting rolls of the incoming tide,
As the foam rears on high with its spray,
Are monarchs of power on the throne of their pride,
With a crown for each hour of the day.
The change of the wind brings them o’er the sand bar,
With their clash and their seething below ;
While through the rain-mist the bold tempest afar
Is at large — with the scowl of a foe !

Then black is the frown of that terrible hole,
When the crown of dead whiteness subsides,
And grim is the yawn of the cliffs to the roll
Of the sea, which in majesty rides.
But deadlier far is the inner unseen,
Where the whole of its glory must be,
With that terrible strength which is part of the mien
Of the powerful march of the sea !

Parramatta, February 3, 1894.

E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 216-217

Editor’s notes:
list = listen (in a context of sound or noise)

mien = the air, bearing, demeanor, or manner of a person, especially as showing an attitude or personality

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