Song of the Southern Trades [poem by E. J. Brady]

[Editor: This poem by E. J. Brady was published in The Ways of Many Waters (1899).]


Song of the Southern Trades.

The tall bergs Nor’ward straying
Their sisters once have been —
White ladies, still displaying
Their fading charms serene;
Lost maidens, gone a-Maying,
Decked all in opal sheen.

The dull Antarctic bound them
Who were not born to pine;
Now, far and fair, around them
The brave blue billows shine;
The Clipper Fleet hath found them,
Loud laughing to the Line.

On their swelled bosoms sleeping
These gay winds pillowed dream
Of dim, cold coasts still keeping
Long vigils in the gleam
Of Southern lights, up-leaping
Beyond the World’s extreme.

The penguin, standing lonely
’Neath weird, snow-darkened skies,
Sees wearing Night, that pronely
On wearied Nature lies
In silence, broken only
By groans, and screams, and sighs.

Gaunt Northern waves are beating
Their wild weight on the bar;
Gray fogs gray seas are meeting
In latitudes afar;
With no glad friendly greeting,
No high-hung Cross or star!

But here, in worlds grown kinder,
The sun-bars burn and blaze:
Each bark, with storm behind her,
Doth hail the pleasant ways —
With sky and sea to bind her
A wreath of summer days.

The Sou’-east trades are calling!
Across the creamy curls
The bow-thrown spray is falling
In scattered showers of pearls,
Or like the tears enthralling
Of soft-eyed island girls.

The Sou’-west trades are blowing!
The withered seaman smiles
To feel his strong ship throwing
Behind the flying miles:
His swift-sailed thought is going
Towards the Blessed Isles.

Now bears the Austral trader
Right gallantly away,
The brave West wind to aid her
Along the open way—
An iron-heeled Crusader
Of our more peaceful day.

A twin Sou’-easter carries
Her copper-coloured crew
By palm-clad coast, where tarries
The chieftain’s war-canoe;
Or, fickle, woos and harries
The long Malay prahu.

Low down their high spars frailly
Go swinging South amain;
Far down the great hulls daily
Fair haven do attain,
To dress them glad and gaily,
And journey out again.

Brave Southern Trades, o’erladen
With scent of tropic bowers!
They tell of some warm Aidenn
Where, lulled by opiate flowers,
A comely, brown-skinned maiden
Dreams idly out the hours.

With Bornean spices freighted,
With breath of Austral glades —
Which yet, mayhap belated,
No white man’s foot invades —
Still sweep they, unabated,
The Trades! the Southern Trades!

E. J. Brady, The Ways of Many Waters, Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 1909 [first published 1899], pages 113-115

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