Henry Kendall

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

Sutherland’s Grave - Poem by Henry Kendall

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.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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