by Louise Mack (1870-1935)
Where the long beach runs to its far north end,
And the sandways cease at the the north rock’s feet,
And the foam is fiercer, the waves more fleet,
Lies a low lagoon that the high tides blend
With their billows’ brine as they come and go;
And the ways of its waters are smooth and slow.
Though the salt waves sweep through it night or noon,
Yet its mother-stream from the backland sweeps;
With a sighless swaying her water creeps
O’er the inward edge of the slow lagoon,
And her tender bosom bears life and grace
To the lips of the lake in the sea-girt place.
In the summer dusk, when the moon rides fast,
Ere the sunset’s burning has faded quite,
And the seas fall eastward in liquid light,
On the sea-lake’s face such a gleam is cast,
That it lies on the earth, in the day’s red close,
Like the quivering leaf of a heavenly rose.
All the seas to eastward move silver sweet
In a floating shroud by the moonbeams made;
All the westward skylands their lights have laid
On the lake that lies at the sunset’s feet;
And between the shroud and the golden lands
Is a narrowing pathway of surf-swept sands.
But in winter eves, when the sun is not,
And the moon is buried in mist and cloud,
And the sea, unlit, is a moaning shroud
For the bones of the dead that the sea-waves rot,
On the narrow shore between sea and lake
Boils an ocean of sea-foam and billow-break.
In the far sad sky not a rose is blown,
Not a fleeting gleam in the grey-bound west,
Not a mirrored glow on the lakelet’s breast,
And no light where the waves round the north crags moan;
But the cold sea creeps on the narrow sands,
And the shroud has enveloped the golden lands.