November 22 - 28, 2015: Issue 241

Australian Poems of Surfing, Bathing and the Sea: 1833 to 1950

By the Author of "PETOLETTI."
Wild--wild were the sights of the shore and the wave                            
When I dwelt by the side of the sea,    
And wilder the swelling emotions they gave
By night and by day unto me.  

I have gazed on thee, ocean! and worshipp'd thy dies                
As they chang'd, like the neck of the dove
To purple or gold while reflecting the skies    
Of clouds or of sunshine above.      

I have stood by thy terrible billows unscar'd
When the white gleaming foam of thy spray,                        
In the darkness of midnight as fearfully glar'd  
As the teeth of some monster of prey.  

I have woke from my slumbers almost with alarm
As couch'd in my chamber I lay,        
When thy horrible cauldron was boiling a charm
To cover mankind with dismay.      

And the sound of the wave-driven shingle beneath,            
Made me fancy with soul chilling fear    
That the genius of storms drew his breath through his teeth                          
At the thought of some wreck that was near.

I have mus'd on thy sands when the tide had  gone by,                
And there breath'd not a whisper or tone
Save the soft plaintive pipe of the sea-lark whose cry                    
Seem'd to mourn for some wreck that was gone. 
And I've walk'd on thy shores when the wave re-as-umed      
A beauty no language could reach,  
For a moment in palmy magnificence plum'd  
'Ere it gracefully fell on the beach.      

I have flung off my garments and stole to thy breast            
When tranquil and tempting to view,  
As the bosom of beauty,—while something confest                  
That thou wert as treacherous too;    

And I've stem'd thy vex'd waters, till vanquish'd at length            
By the surf when it frightfully ran,    
I have trembled at nature's invincible strength,  
And wept at the weakness of man.
ORIGINAL POETRY. (1833, July 26). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848), p. 3. Retrieved from 

Down by the sea coast in the gloaming .
Where the surf breaks on the land,
Down here the waves are ever foaming
Over the rocks and sifting sand;
Swiftly the waves are coming and going,
A fringe of froth on their green crest showing,
Till they dash on the rocks, flinging and throwing
Their spray high in colors grand.

Alone I sit where the spray comes splashing,
Flung from the green waves troubled crest,
That comes with a roar on the grey rocks dashing
And is flung back again on its heaving breast.
Love, I know thou art calmly sleeping,
Undisturbed by the moaning or leaping
Of the snow-capped waves that are boldly sweeping
Over the lonely bed of rest.

The sun has set though his rays still redden
With purple tints the western sky,
The same as he sat as in years that have fled in
The march of time, then my hopes were high.
Love, it is many a long weary year
Since last I stood at the sea board here
And then saw I on the horizon, radiant beneath the sky
The ship that bore thee was sailing by

Her sails were set as she ploughed the foam,
And parted the waves of the billowy sea
Bringing thee nearer thy future home,
Where I waited, my love, long years for thee,
Love, then my fancy its flight was winging
To that Irish home in memory clinging,
To the emerald hills, to the clear streams singing,
Where oft thou has wandered alone with me.

But that night the storm king mustered his forces,
Rallied the ranks of the ocean swell,
And in the maddening rush of his great white horses,
That leaped and plunged, rose and fell.
On the barren reefs where boiling and seething,
The foam leaped up at his savage breathing,
And the cables broke of the good ship, leaving
Her to drift where the billows fell.

On that grim grey crag with its head uplifted
Out of the waters, sullen and steep,
For in the wild midnight the good ship drifted,
And all went down in the restless deep.
Love; many hearts were torn asunder,
When the doomed ship went swiftly under,
And thou hast found thy bed in the swirl out yonder,
The tangle wreck for thy winding sheet.

Oh, still are the surges moaning and leaping.
Still the waves foam in sullen glee,
But, oh, my lost one, thou art calmly sleeping,
From the storm-king's wrath thou art ever free.
Love, we were parted without a meeting,
Without an embrace or without a greeting,
But I know thou art safely in the keeping
Of One who rules over land and sea.

It was hard to part, but He knoweth best
Who ruleth over the land and sea
He giveth His own beloved ones rest,
He hath given that sweet rest to thee.
Love, I would long that rest to share,
But I have a life to live, its sorrows to bear,
And I have one sweet hope that In Heaven fair,
We'll meet when the Redeemer calls on me.
-Broadford. CULLAS ADOBE.
ORIGINAL POETRY. (1892, June 9). Kilmore Free Press(Kilmore, Vic. : 1870 - 1954), p. 1 Edition: MORNING.. Retrieved from 


Last night I went to Fairyland. On every
black bough's shoot
The mallow stars had hung themselves to
make the golden fruit,
And gentle waves came muttering against
the muffling sand
Where shining lamps of cinema set jewels
on the land.
And when the Moon grew carious about the
path I trod,
Twas coloured as an apricot from gardens
planned by God,
Grown paler as it climbed the stars that
Loop each far blue mile.
It saw my heart in Fairyland-for such a
ORIGINAL POETRY. (1922, April 8). The Australasian(Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 52. Retrieved from 

Blue and white the sea is; blue and white the sky;
Softer than the flight of birds the little breezes fly;
The very clouds are flecks of light, the sand is warm and gold,
And you and I this morning are six and five years old!

Take my hand and run with me! 
Now the waves begin;    
Quickly through the shallows-deeper, deeper in!
The laughing water plays with us, splashes us with spray.
Leaps at us and knocks us down and rolls
our years away.

Towering come the great waves-will you jump or dive?
Are you glad the summer's come-glad that you're alive?
Happy is the sparkling sea, the sky, the golden sands,
And all the world is given into our young hands.
SURFING MORNING. (1925, February 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from 

Let who will swim in the sea,
Quiet rivers call to me
Cool, and brown, and shadowy,
Colour of mahogany.

They are loveliest when seen
Where white birches laugh and lean
Clumps of rushes tall and green
Marching up the banks between.

Oh, to float in one, and lie
Face up to the summer sky
With the water wimpling by,
Creamed with lilies for the eye!

Peaceful rivers charm and please
With their rooty-smelling breeze
Those who like to swim at ease
Far from agitated seas.
(Dorothy Lamb.)
POEM OF THE WEEK. (1950, November 21). Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld. : 1909 - 1954), p. 5 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved from