Sydney Harbour [poem by Agnes L. Storrie]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes L. Storrie was published in Poems, 1909.]

Sydney Harbour.

Thy beauty is an entity, coherent and endued
With more intricate essences than Nature ever brewed,
She truly made the lovely mould with cunning workmanship,
But a potent spirit brims it unto its carven lip,
An individual presence that informs, as with a soul,
Thy vital harmonies, and makes of thee a perfect whole.

Thou art a consummated wish, a craving satisfied,
The heart is subject unto thee, and rises with thy tide,
Its hidden joys dance visibly thy rippling curves among
And through thine ocean gates into profundity are flung.

Thou art achievement, and to thee the sense of beauty kneels
As to a benediction, the lucid moon reveals
In confidential midnights thy secrets to the waves
That lisp in silver syllables against thy wind-swept caves.

The clouds store up thy memory, and from the unquiet sea
Float in, like homing thoughts of peace to hover over thee,
Or, yearning as a lover yearns for the lips he once has kissed
They stoop and clasp thee in their arms of woven fog and mist.

The hours are all thy servitors, and bring at thy behest
Their opal flagons filled with wine to pledge the amorous west,
Or ringed with pearls of dawning, or shod with golden shoon
They open all the azure gates of morn and eve and noon.

And night’s own wonder-blossoms, emerald, orange, red,
Upon the silky, sliding dark their glowing petals shed,
Roses of living ruby bud upon their shadowy boughs
And weave a glittering coronal for thine imperial brows.

And mapped, and embed, and fettered, and scored by myriad keels
Who measures thy capricious moods or thy decree repeals?
Thy thirsty spirit quaffs and quaffs from its great cup the sea
And brimming with the vital draught knows no satiety.
Thy giant heart deep pulsing through every emerald vein
Links thee to cosmic forces that never wax nor wane.

And when, like sudden wolves unleashed, the ravening southerlies
Rush from their vaporous caverns set in white Antarctic seas,
Thy mettle answers, and the frothy spume of battle flies
With thundrous blows, and ringing shouts up to the troubled skies.

Strange echoes haunt thy silences, and when the dim stars drowse
Thy ripples feel the stealthy push of unrecorded prows,
And eldrich laughters ring along thy shadow-muffled shore,
Laughters re-echoing from rocks that they have known before,
And things that shun the daylight curdle the shuddering air.
Who knows thee best knows only how little he can share
Thy elemental mystery, or with all his wisdom guess
Why the hand that made thee chose to use such needless loveliness.

Thou art a challenge to the soul, a trust to chivalry
A touchstone for the human heart and its nobility.
How shall the ages find thee whom Time’s hand cannot dim?
By the measure of man’s grace to thee, God mete again to him.

Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 181-184

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