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Roderic Quinn

At The Tide's Will

WHEN the tide came surging in
To the beach it bore
Drift-wood and brown weeds —
These — and nothing more!
As the stranded weeds and wood
Borne by the sea,
Tossed at the wind's will,
Even so are we!
When the tide went out again
From the beach, it bore
Drift-wood and brown weeds —
These — and nothing more!
Little peace is ours indeed,
Little rest we know —
Weeds at the Tide's will
Tossed to and fro!

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Perfection

THIS rose, to which each dawn anew
Come bees to fill their honey-sacks,
Though sweet in shape, and scent, and hue,
Perfection lacks.
To gain it were to crown one's toil
And set the very world astir:
Blow, Rose, make most of sap and soil,
Strive, Gardener!
Though Youth may dwell some honeyed years
In Arcady, most true is this —
There is no joy unmixed with tears,
No perfect bliss.
Though Love, on high adventure set,
Complete achievement may not know —
Reach out your white arms, Juliet!
Climb, Romeo!

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Homeward Going

GRAY smoke in the green leaves,
Someone homeward going,
No sound in the lone hills . . .
Only cattle lowing.
Still trees and a hushed world,
Leaf and limb unshaken,
No wind in the tall grass,
Creeksides bird-forsaken.
Pale, pale and with mute lips
One in shadow lying —
Near gone from the green world,
Sorrow nigh him sighing.
Day's strife and a life's strife
Each in quiet ending;
Life's light and the dark of death
Softly interblending.
One star on a far ridge,
Home the Homeward going,
No sound on the lone hills . . .
Only cattle lowing.

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The Song

I SANG of the sun on the waters,
And then of the wind in the wood;
And the people hearkened my singing
And said that the song was good.
I sang of the sheep on the mountains,
And then of the thrush on the hill;
And the people hearkened my singing
And said it was better still.
I sang of the bliss of lovers,
And then of their hopes that fall;
And the people hearkened my singing
And said it was best of all.
For the song that is loved of the people,
And sought since the world began,
Is the sad and beautiful music
Of the loves and sorrows of Man.

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The Little House

WHEN my heart goes a-roving
'Tis the wide ways for me,
And the fields, and the hills,
And the big, blue sea.
Then 'tis far, far I wander,
And 'tis little that you care,
With your wiles, and your smiles,
And your eyes and hair.
But the dream of you follows,
Or it gleams at my side;
And I turn, turn about,
For the world seems wide.
There's a rose-mist about you
And 'tis sweet, sweet you are,
With your throat and your cheeks
And your face a star.
When my heart comes a-homing
'Tis the little house I see,
Where you sit all alone
With a stool for me.

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The Artist

THE year has turned the corner,
Cold June is with the dead,
And Spring, the singing artist,
Is mixing gold and red.
The red is meant for roses,
Rich roses, brave and bold;
The gold is for the wattle —
'Tis delicate, pale gold.
The Sun, grown tired of exile,
Comes marching south again;
'Tis he that stays the west wind
That chills the hearts of men.
There shall be frond and feather,
Glad ways of greenery,
When Spring unveils her painting
For all the world to see.
Oh, red 'twill be and golden,
That canvas of the South:
* * * * *
The gold shall be a girl's hair,

[...] Read more

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The Lagoon

WE crept through reed-beds wet with dew,
The sun went down in gold;
Hoisting her round triumphantly,
The moon showed red and bold.
The unseen sea upon our right
In splendid turmoil broke;
The spindrift, driving ceaselessly,
Was vague as drifting smoke.
The grass-tree lances spiked our flesh,
The brushed ferns wet our knees;
The she-oaks, crooning steadily,
Stirred in the late salt breeze.
Thus, pushing on with velvet tread
Beneath the lavish moon,
We saw, spread wide, spread gloriously,
All gold, the still lagoon.
And on its breast (a picture this
Recalling old-time Dons
And Spanish galleons at sea)
A squadron of black swans.

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The Surrender

HERE, in the new day's golden splendour —
Headlands pushing their foreheads forward —
Sweet is the surfer's glad surrender
To the will of the wave, as it rushes shoreward.
Nought in his ears but the breaker's thunder,
Arrowing on through the surf he flies,
Foam about him and clean sands under,
Over him arching the radiant skies.
Yielding himself as a toy to the ocean,
Locked and mute in its fierce embraces,
Thrilled and filled with the joy of motion,
Limbs outstretched, through the swirl he races.
Here, in the gold day's new-born splendour,
Sea winds sighing in tree and cave,
Sweet it is in a glad surrender
Thus to yield to the will of the wave.

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All Of A Piece

ALL of a piece were the sunset light,
The rose in the tree, and the golden girl;
Beauty, the weaver, 'twas that wove them,
Weaving deftly, as Beauty can,
Just to capture the eyes of a man,
Just to make the heart of him love them,
Setting the blood in his veins a-swirl;
Ah, the rose, and the girl, its piece-mate!
Ah, the sunset of rose and pearl!
All of a piece are the faded light,
The rose in the mire and the girl grown old;
Beauty, the trickster, 'twas that wove them,
Weaving deftly, as Beauty can,
Just to capture the soul of a man,
Just to make the heart of him love them,
Then to sicken and grow grave-cold;
Fragile wear is the cloth of Beauty —
Rose and sunset and girl of gold!

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The Dread Beyond Death

WHY do you shudder and stare,
Grown cold in a moment and white?
The moon's at her full, and the air
Is flooded with wonderful light.
There is never a sound or a sign
Or a shadow of harm in the trees,
And the little leaves ripple and shine
At the kiss and caress of the breeze.
You tremble and shudder, my love,
As a hare at a hound's flashing fangs —
As a bird, when in azure above
A poising hawk motionless hangs.
Fear not, and the terror shall yield
To peace and to sweetness at length;
My love is a guard and a shield,
My arms are a fortress and strength.
'I fear not the hawk in the sky,
Or the hound, though his fangs flash anear;
A dread beyond death makes me sigh —
'Tis the end of our love that I fear.'

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