Cicely Fox Smith
The Fight On The Island - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Thro' the roaring dark of the tempest
We had struggled the whole night long,
With seas that broke on the bulwarks
And headwinds stubborn and strong,
When we came with the wind behind us
To an isle of slumber and song.
And we sailed thro' the scented palm-trees
Up an oarless beautiful reach,
And we lay to rest from our faring
On the sunbaked glittering beach,
And dwelt with the shy strange people
With their soft sweet languorous speech.
Till once in the grand calm twilight
When the beaches were loud with glee,
Brothers, by right of peril
Of the fight and the stormy sea,
Rose up and cursed one another
By all the names there be.
And one reached out for a pistol
And one for a knife to hurl,
All for the sake of a woman, -
A brown-skinned slip of a girl
With a voice like the distant surges
And teeth as white as a pearl.
And we buried the dead man sadly
Where the breakers plunge and comb,
In the sound of the sea's old crooning,
Over against the foam,
With the face on his still heart smiling
Of a girl he had loved at home.
We were sick of the wild shy people,
We knew we had dreamed too long:
And a slain man sat at the revel
And the beach was bitter with wrong,
And we sailed with the wind against us
From the isle of slumber and song.
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