Arthur Henry Adams

6 December 1872 – 4 March 1936 / Lawrence / New Zealand

The Garden Of The Sea

THE infinite garden of the sea is His
To play in. Gravely smiling He resigns
To man his choice—this rugged plot of earth,
Watches man tear it with his deep canals,
Wound it with iron rails, scar it with roads,
And spot its pleasant freshness with the sore
Of festering cities, oozing heavy smoke.
He sees and He forgives. Then gently takes
His pliant sea into His yearning hands—
As an old mother might caress a doll
When all her sons are dead—and wistfully
He moulds it. O, that He might so thrust man—
That interloping soul of stubbornness—
The solitary irreconcilable
Of His subservient Universe—within
The grim, unalterable grooves of law!
But, ah! the sea, the fecund woman-sea,
Is His to fashion as He wills! He girds
It round with whitely gleaming paths of beach;
Then, at His word, the blossoms of the spray
Rise on their swaying wave-stalks, bloom and break,
And scatter desolate petals on the foam.
League-long His flower-bordered avenues
In bending sward of blossom run. Lo, now
A winter comes unwonted, heaping high

His garden world with snow of wasted blooms.
Or Spring sweeps in resistless, and the sea
Shimmers—an orchard in her nuptial white!
And sometimes He will smooth His garden plot,
And cover with trim tapestry of grass
Its restless beauty, till there shyly break
The daisies through, like pale hands timorous
And fragile, groping blindly to the sun.
Sometimes he plans great curving pathways, where
'Neath sullen shoulders of cool greenery
The shadows crouch, and high above the sun
Whispers his sunny secrets to the boughs
That sway and ripple everlastingly.
And sometimes, hidden by a moving ridge
From ships that flit like furtive white moths by,
The Master of the garden gravely walks
The cool green paths in reverie along:
Ah, what if I could turn into that lane
Of pulsing wave, and see Him pacing there,
As once of old they saw Him, with that look
Of wistful sadness on His old kind face!
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