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Sutherland's Grave Post by :Yoon_Ho_Um Category :Poems Author :Henry Kendall Date :September 2011 Read :1486

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Sutherland's Grave

(* Sutherland: Forby Sutherland, one of Captain Cook's seamen, who died shortly after the _Endeavour_ anchored in Botany Bay, 1770. He was the first Englishman buried in Australia.)


All night long the sea out yonder--all night long the wailful sea,
Vext of winds and many thunders, seeketh rest unceasingly!
Seeketh rest in dens of tempest, where, like one distraught with pain,
Shouts the wild-eyed sprite, Confusion--seeketh rest, and moans in vain:
Ah! but you should hear it calling, calling when the haggard sky
Takes the darks and damps of Winter with the mournful marsh-fowl's cry;
Even while the strong, swift torrents from the rainy ridges come
Leaping down and breaking backwards--million-coloured shapes of foam!
Then, and then, the sea out yonder chiefly looketh for the boon
Portioned to the pleasant valleys and the grave sweet summer moon:
Boon of Peace, the still, the saintly spirit of the dew-dells deep--
Yellow dells and hollows haunted by the soft, dim dreams of sleep.

All night long the flying water breaks upon the stubborn rocks--
Ooze-filled forelands burnt and blackened, smit and scarred with lightning shocks;
But above the tender sea-thrift, but beyond the flowering fern,
Runs a little pathway westward--pathway quaint with turn on turn--
Westward trending, thus it leads to shelving shores and slopes of mist:
Sleeping shores, and glassy bays of green and gold and amethyst!
There tread gently--_gently_, pilgrim;
there with thoughtful eyes look round;
Cross thy breast and bless the silence: lo, the place is holy ground!
Holy ground for ever, stranger! All the quiet silver lights
Dropping from the starry heavens through the soft Australian nights--
Dropping on those lone grave-grasses--come serene, unbroken, clear,
Like the love of God the Father, falling, falling, year by year!
Yea, and like a Voice supernal, _there_ the daily wind doth blow
In the leaves above the sailor buried ninety years ago.


(The end)
Henry Kendall's poem: Sutherland's Grave

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