The opposite shore was low and far, and flawed
With Asian darkness. Nothing gleamed. No stir
Of wind or tide could reach the cobalt blur
Of that dim country under the sleeping cloud.

We sailed the water once, on drumming wind.
Astern the landmarks merged and fell away.
And slowly there, across that marching sway
Of seas, the blue shore lightened…and was land.

Far out, beyond our bowsprit’s veer and swerve
The blue land livened: planes of bronze and green
Broke on the slopes unfolding there, between
The shawl of cloud and the white thread of surf.

Slowly it sharpened: hills and climbing roads,
And fields above the measured rise and fall…
Barns, fences, houses, cattle, beetle-small
In pastures hemmed from the dark cape of woods.

Earth, rock, fields, people, were the leaf and bloom
Of that strange land. We sheltered in its lee.
And turned away and saw the whole wide sky and sea,
And low and far, the cobalt blur of home.

© Harry Bruce, All Rights Reserved