Henry Kendall

(18 April 1839 – 1 August 1882 / Ulladulla, New South Wales)

Drowned At Sea - Poem by Henry Kendall

Gloomy cliffs, so worn and wasted with the washing of the waves,
Are ye not like giant tombstones round those lonely ocean graves?
Are ye not the sad memorials, telling of a mighty grief —
Dark with records ground and lettered into caverned rock and reef?
Oh! ye show them, and I know them, and my thoughts in mourning go
Down amongst your sunless chasms, deep into the surf below!
Oh! ye bear them, and declare them, and o’er every cleft and scar,
I have wept for dear dead brothers perished in the lost Dunbar!
Ye smitten — ye battered,
And splintered and shattered
Cliffs of the Sea!
Restless waves, so dim with dreams of sudden storms and gusty surge,
Roaring like a gathered whirlwind reeling round a mountain verge,
Were ye not like loosened maniacs, in the night when Beauty pale
Called upon her God, beseeching through the uproar of the gale?
Were ye not like maddened demons while young children faint with fear
Cried and cried and cried for succour, and no helping hand was near?
Oh, the sorrow of the morrow! — lamentations near and far! —
Oh, the sobs for dear dead sisters perished in the lost Dunbar! —
Ye ruthless, unsated,
And hateful, and hated
Waves of the Sea!

Ay, we stooped and moaned in darkness —
eyes might strain and hearts might plead,
For their darlings crying wildly, they would never rise nor heed!
Ay, we yearned into their faces looking for the life in vain,
Wailing like to children blinded with a mist of sudden pain!
Dear hands clenched, and dear eyes rigid in a stern and stony stare,
Dear lips white from past affliction, dead to all our mad despair,
Ah, the groaning and the moaning — ah, the thoughts which rise in tears
When we turn to all those loved ones, looking backward five long years!
The fathers and mothers,
The sisters and brothers
Drowned at Sea!


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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