Katharine Lee Bates
Two Centuries - Poem by Katharine Lee Bates
Two centuries' winter storms have lashed the changing sands of Falmouth's shore,
Deep-voiced, the winds, swift winged, wild, have echoed there the ocean's roar.
But though the north-east gale unleashed, rage-blind with power, relentless beat,
The sturdy light-house sheds its beam on waves churned white beneath the sleet.
And still when cold and fear are past, and fields are sweet with spring-time showers,
Mystic, the gray age-silent hills breathe out their souls in fair mayflowers.
And where the tawny saltmarsh lies beyond the sand dunes' farthest reach,
The undulous grass grown russet green, skirts the white crescent of the beach.
Above the tall elms' green-plumed tops, etched against low-hung, gray-hued skies,
Straight as the heaven-kissing pine, the home-bound mariner descries
The goodly spire of the old first church, reverend, serene, with old-time grace,
Symbol and sign of an inner life deep-sealed by time's slow carven trace.
Out of that church in days long gone went a stalwart, true-eyed sturdy band,
Sons of the mist and the flying foam, the blood and brawn of the Pilgrim land;
Down to the sea where the tall masts rose, where the green-mossed black hulls rose and fell,
And the cables strained at the call of the tide, for they knew and heeded its summons well.
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