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Roderic Quinn

(1867 - 1949 / Australia)

At Dawn


THE night-long clamour of winds grew still;
The forest rested, its foes withdrawn;
On sounding ocean and silent hill
There crept a sense of the coming dawn.
A bird awoke on a leaning limb
And fluttered its plumes a moment's space;
Dark purple lay on the sea's far rim:
The sky grew pale as a dying face.
Then all the trees and the rocks and heights
With wondering faces watched the East:
It seemed an altar hung with lights
And waiting for a vestured priest.
And in that intimate first hour
When land and sea rejoiced as one,
And Nature, like an opening flower,
Gave incense, came the burning sun.
Yet, while the hour of gold went by,
I saw through all its pageantry
The vast indifference of the sky,
The heartless beauty of the sea.
For wet and wan, and cold and sped
Beyond the breakers' reach of pearl,
There lay a strong man drowned and dead,
And in his arms a drowned white girl.

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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