by Henry Kendall (1839 - 1882)
Gloomy cliffs so worn and wasted, with the washing of the waves,
Are ye not like giant tombstones round those lovely ocean graves?
Are ye not the sad memorials telling of a mighty grief,
Dark with records ground and lettered into covered rock and reef?
Oh, ye show them, and I know them, and my thoughts in morning go
Down among your soulless chasms deep into the surf below.
Oh, ye bear them and declare them and o'er every cleft and scar,
I have wept for dear dead brothers, perished in the lost Dunbar.
Ye smitten - ye battered, and splintered and shattered, cliffs of the sea.
Ay, we stooped and moaned in darkness, eyes, might strain and hearts might plead
For our darlings crying widely, they would never rise nor heed!
Ay, we yearned into their faces, looking for life in vain,
Wailing like to children blinded in a mist of pain!
Dear hands clenched and dear eyes rigid, in a stern and stony stare,
Dear lips white from past afflictions, dead to all our mad despair.
Ah! The groanings and the moanings; ah! The thoughts that rise in tears,
When we turn to all those loved ones, looking backwards through the years!
The father and mothers, and sisters and brothers, drowned at sea."
Poem from a Newspaper (unreferenced) and image both from the Small Pictures File - Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.
Page last updated: 31 August 2012