James Lister Cuthbertson

(8 May 1851 – 18 January 1910 / Glasgow, Scotland)

The Australian Sunrise


The Morning Star paled slowly, the Cross hung low to the sea,
And down the shadowy reaches the tide came swirling free,
The lustrous purple blackness of the soft Australian night,
Waned in the gray awakening that heralded the light;
Still in the dying darkness, still in the forest dim
The pearly dew of the dawning clung to each giant limb,
Till the sun came up from ocean, red with the cold sea mist,
And smote on the limestone ridges, and the shining tree-tops kissed;
Then the fiery Scorpion vanished, the magpie's note was heard,
And the wind in the she-oak wavered, and the honeysuckles stirred,
The airy golden vapour rose from the river breast,
The kingfisher came darting out of his crannied nest,
And the bulrushes and reed-beds put off their sallow gray
And burnt with cloudy crimson at dawning of the day.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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  • John Collinson (11/16/2009 12:40:00 AM)

    After thr works of Henry Clarence Kendall, specially 'Bellbirds', this would be my favourite piece of Australian verse. The lyrical flow is almost music to the ear. (Report) Reply

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