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Poem Title:  At Cape Schanck

Poem Category:  Nature Poems

Poet:  James Lister Cuthbertson

Poet Biography: 
James Lister Cuthbertson (1851-1910), was born in Scotland and was educated at Glenalmond in Perthshire and then Merton College, Oxford. Emigrating to Australia in 1874 he taught as a Senior Classical Master at Geelong Grammar School, in Victoria for 21 years.

Down to the lighthouse pillar The rolling woodland comes, Gay with the gold of she-oaks And the green of the stunted gums, With the silver-grey of honeysuckle, With the wasted bracken red, With a tuft of softest emerald And a cloud-flecked sky o'erhead. We climbed by ridge and boulder, Umber and yellow scarred, Out to the utmost precipice, To the point that was ocean-barred, Till we looked below on the fastness Of the breeding eagle's nest, And Cape Wollomai opened eastward And the Otway on the west. Over the mirror of azure The purple shadows crept, League upon league of rollers Landward evermore swept, And burst upon gleaming basalt, And foamed in cranny and crack, And mounted in sheets of silver, And hurried reluctant back. And the sea, so calm out yonder, Wherever we turned our eyes, Like the blast of an angel's trumpet rang out to the earth and skies, Till the reefs and the rocky ramparts throbbed to the giant fray, And the gullies and jutting headlands were bathed in a misty spray. Oh, sweet in the distant ranges, To the ear of inland men, Is the ripple of falling water In sassafras-haunted glen, The stir in the ripening cornfield That gently rustles and swells, The wind in the wattle sighing, The tinkle of cattle bells. But best is the voice of ocean, That strikes to the heart and brain, That lulls with its passionate music trouble and grief and pain, That murmurs the requiem sweetest For those who have loved and lost, And thunders a jubilant anthem To brave hearts tempest-tossed. That takes to its boundless bosom the burden of all our care, that whispers of sorrow vanquished, of hours that may yet be fair, that tells of a Harbour of Refuge Beyond life's stormy straits, of an infinite peace that gladdens, of an infinite love that waits

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