Manly Lagoon

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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.

This work is in the public domain because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.


The author died in 1935, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.