Roderic Quinn

1867 - 1949 / Australia

Sydney Cove, 1788

SHE sat on the rocks, her fireless eyes
Teased and tired with the thoughts of yore;
And paining her sense were alien skies,
An alien sea and an alien shore.
In gold-green dusks she glimpsed new flowers
And the glittering wings of gleaming birds —
But haunting her still were English bowers
And the clinging sweetness of old love-words.
A soft breeze murmured of unknown shores
And laughed as it touched her with fingers light,
But she mourned the more for the wind that roars
Down sullen coasts on a northern night.
Like topaz gems on a sable dome
The stranger stars stole shyly forth;
She saw no stars like the stars of home
That burned, white-fired, in the frosty north.
A restless sea was at her feet,
A restless sea of darkest blue;
The lights burned dimly on The Fleet,
And these were all the ships it knew.
She watched the dark tides rise and fall,
The lion-tides that, night and noon,
Range round the world, and moan and call
In sad sea-voices to the moon.
Thus while she watched they ebbed and flowed;
Till last with sudden splendour Day
Lit all the scene with gold, and showed
An arrow black on a garb of grey.
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