ALL four of us were inland born
And inland reared from birth were we,
And — though the tale be food for scorn —
We four had never seen the Sea.
We saw the sun by day; by night
The stars threw down their radiance keen;
These things were held a goodly sight,
But still the Sea remained unseen.
The sunlit plains about us spread
Mile after mile on every side;
But still, the sea-wise people said,
The blue salt waste was wondrous wide.
On lonely rides and desert tramps,
And when we searched in rain and dew
The breathing dark of cattle-camps,
A longing came and thrilled us through.
We dreamt of waters spreading far,
Of winding bay and shining reach,
Of shouting reef and growling bar
And breakers crashing down a beach.
The longing grew; we could not rest;
A vision beautiful and brave
Allured us to a mighty quest
Of rolling sea and crested wave.
All four of us were inland born
And inland reared from birth were we;
We mounted early in the morn,
And, riding gaily, sought the Sea.
We rode by day, and camped by night,
And night and day dreamed evermore
Of dawns that broke in rosy light
On curling wave and crescent shore;
The red sun sank upon our quest,
The shadows fell; and in the dark
There was no light in East or West,
Save where our camp-fire burned — a spark.
At times it seemed that we could hear
The sound of breakers in their fall —
We drew our reins, and, hand to ear,
We listened to the distant call.
A stillness reigned from East to West;
The trees and mountains seemed to swoon;
And weirdly paling in the West
Went down a late and lonely moon.
And, while the white moon slowly fell,
A scented breeze of morning blew —
Though inland-born we knew it well,
That odour keen and strange and new.
Then something seemed to burst its chains;
A wave of joy and wonder broke
Across our souls, and in our veins
An ancient Viking stirred and woke.
A sound of breakers came to stir
Our blood, and thrill us with delight;
And neck and neck with whip and spur
We galloped headlong through the night.
The moon had sunk; but in the sky
We saw the Dawn's first light of grey,
And straight as feathered arrows fly
We thundered on to meet the Day.
Afar we saw the shore-line loom;
Our horses, springing freely, strode;
And suddenly in purple gloom
The sea gave greeting as we rode.
We galloped on, nor ever ceased
Till gloriously in golden fire
The sun uprose, and in the East
We reached the goal of our desire.
We pushed our horses through the foam,
The breakers swirled about their knees;
And underneath the golden dome
We shouted to the Morning Seas.
Roderic Quinn's Other Poems
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