A Coast (Poem by Edwin John Dove Pratt)

Beautiful Poem


A Coast
By Edwin John Dove Pratt


Scaling where a hundred crags
    Disclose their high, precipitous walls,
Up hidden clefts and burnished jags,
    The shore-line like a python crawls.
Along a league of ridges overspread
    With the dead trunks of pine and oak, it drags
A roughening path; around the head
    Of the last bluff it climbs, then falls,
Spilling its folds on spur and boulder,
    Down a deep gulch where it rears and sprawls
Upon the Cape's lean shoulder.

Rolling dusks and vapors pour
A turgid silence on the shore,
Broken by a curlew screaming,
    And a low, regurgitant note
    Borne in from the laboring throat
Of a wave along a line of basalt streaming;
And, further off, where denser gloom
    The headland and a reef-curve hides,
Falls the ground-swell's muttered boom
    From the belfries of the tides.

Under a tattered curtain of fog
    A flaw of wind makes the waters start;
They drift and scud and whirl;
    And, held a moment near the heart
Of the eddy, a waterspout, — 
Or some wild thing with twisted shape,
    Compact of mist and wind and surge — 
Hangs like a felon off the Cape.

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