Sydney Cove, 1788 by Roderic Quinn

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.

From: Quinn, Roderic, Poems, 2003, University of Sydney Library: Sydney, p. 18.
(http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/quipoem.pdf)

Date: 1920

By: Roderic Quinn (1867-1949)

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