Roderic Quinn

(1867 - 1949 / Australia)

A Grey Day


THE long still day is ending
In hollow and on height,
The lighthouse seaward sending
White rays of steady light;
A little cloud is leading
A great cloud west by north;
Woe waits on ships unheeding
That blindly venture forth.
All day the sea, dull-heaving,
Moaned low like one who ails,
While spectre hands were weaving
A veil o'er distant sails.
All day, with drooping feather
And wings devoid of gleam,
The sea-birds grouped together
Forebore to wheel and scream.
Salt-arms and river-reaches
Were glazed and leaden-hued,
And haunting sodden beaches
Went grey-haired Solitude.
The dead leaves in the forest
Sank earthward all aswoon;
The green marsh-frogs that chorused
Had ta'en a sadder tune.
Lost loves, and sins long hidden,
Through some unguarded gate
Entered the soul unbidden,
And made men desolate.
And fears beset the fearless,
And laughs were stayed to sigh,
And eyes long dry and tearless
Grew moist — and none knew why.
Gleamed red the covered ember
Beneath its ashen grey,
And some said, 'I remember,'
And some, ' 'Twas such a day!'
And all were lonely-hearted,
Sight inward-set and blurred;
At touch or tone they started
And groped for fitting word.
Down-cast in weeds went Nature,
Stilling man's mirth and song;
And mourning in each creature
A grave and ancient wrong . . .
Light fades on hill and hollow;
Night falls, and close behind
Storm-rage and Sea-wrath follow
With wild cries on the wind.

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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