Roderic Quinn

1867 - 1949 / Australia

The Fisher

ALL night a noise of leaping fish
Went round the bay,
And up and down the shallow sands
Sang waters at their play.
The mangroves drooped on salty creeks,
And through the dark,
Making a pale patch in the deep,
Gleamed, as it swam, a shark.
In streaks and twists of sudden fire
Among the reeds
The bream went by, and where they passed
The bubbles shone like beads.
All night the full deep drinking-song
Of Nature stirred,
And nought beside, save leaping fish
And some forlorn night-bird.
No lost wind wandered down the hills
To tell of wide
Wild waterways; on velvet moved
The silky, sucking tide.
Deep down there sloped in shadowy mass
A giant hill;
And midway, mirrored in the tide,
The stars burned large and still.
The fisher, dreaming on the rocks,
Heard Nature say
Strange, secret things that none may hear
Upon the beaten way;
And whisperings and wonder stirred,
And hopes and fears,
And sadness touched his heart, and filled
His eyes with star-stained tears:
And so, thrilled through with joy and love
And sweet distress,
He stood entranced, enchained by her
Full-breasted loveliness.
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