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Dorothea Mackellar

(1 July 1885 – 14 January 1968 / Sydney)

The Open Sea


From my window I can see,

Where the sandhills dip,

One far glimpse of open sea.

Just a slender slip

Curving like a crescent moon—

Yet a greater prize

Than the harbour garden-fair

Spread beneath my eyes.



Just below me swings the bay,

Sings a sunny tune,

But my heart is far away

Out beyond the dune;

Clearer far the sea-gulls’ cry

And the breakers’ roar,

Than the little waves beneath

Lapping on the shore.



For that strip of sapphire sea

Set against the sky

Far horizons means to me—

And the ships go by

Framed between the empty sky

And the yellow sands,

While my freed thoughts follow them

Out to other lands.



All its changes who can tell?

I have seen it shine

Like a jewel polished well,

Hard and clear and fine;

Then soft lilac—and again

On another day

Glimpsed it through a veil of rain,

Shifting, drifting grey.



When the livid waters flee,

Flinching from the storm,

From my window I can see,

Standing safe and warm,

How the white foam tosses high

On the naked shore,

And the breakers’ thunder grows

To a battle-roar…



Far and far I look—Ten miles?

No, for yesterday

Sure I saw the Blessed Isles

Twenty worlds away.

My blue moon of open sea,

Is it little worth?

At the least it gives to me

Keys of all the earth

Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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