[Editor: This poem by Marie E. J. Pitt was published in The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses (1911).]
I dream of wet and where the surf is thrashing
A long, low coastline, and, nerves astart,
I lean for the whisper of wavelets washing
The white-combed beaches and rock-pools swart —
In a world aflame with the raptures flashing
From the rose and gold of the sunset’s heart.
I dream of the tramp of the leagued battalions,
Where the grey gulls wheel over Mersey bar,
When the Storm King loosens his swift white stallions,
And cleaves the deep with his mighty car;
And through black flotillas of spumespun galleons,
The lighthouse peers like a kindly star.
A scent of white roses from blue hills sleeping,
Where the sunset burns to a smouldering spark;
A shimmer of foam where the surge is leaping
On basalt bulwarks austere and stark;
And beyond the hollow swells, shoreward sweeping,
The brown sails beating into the dark.
Brown sails! Brown sails! You have long since threaded
The shadowy course where no helmsman steers,
With warp wind-wasted, and woof salt-shredded —
But what of the best of your bold compeers,
To burdens fettered, to sharp cares wedded,
Strong soul-ships beating into the years?
Soul-ships that follow an endless questing,
By coasts uncharted, o’er seas sublime;
White argos, ever the green swirls breasting
Towards the magian isles in the sunset clime;
While the sea-ghosts sob through the years unresting
’Mong the weed-wound wrecks on the shores of Time!
Soul-ships that fare where the white steeds thunder
O’er the green arched domes of the echoing caves!
Still the sea-kings revel in halls of wonder
To a wizard music of winds and waves:
But the drowned men dream not of power or plunder,
Where the lost ships lie in their deep sea graves.
And the grey years pass, and the drift is scudding
Over Mersey bar as in years of old;
And waves are lapping or swells are thudding
On basalt bulwarks austere and bold,
’Neath the flame and fawn of the sunset flooding
White Devonport beaches with rose and gold.
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 40-41
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