Selected Poems

by Frederick George Scott


 

DEAD MAN’S ISLE


 

Cloven of old, these two gaunt headlands rise
Sheer from the base into the windy skies;
While at their feet are giant rocks down-hurled
By some convulsion which once shook the world.

Here come the seasons, winter and late spring.
5
With nesting birds and wild thorns blossoming;
When silver clouds float outward to the deep
To watch far off the sun going down to sleep.

This island stands a twelve mile from the shore
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And, on all sides, the constant billows roar;
No human foot has scaled those savage heights—
Play-ground of storms and watchers of stark nights.

God made it for some purpose all his own,
Man has no claim on it; it broods alone,
15
Superbly arrogant, and scorns the sea,
Which hurls itself against it fruitlessly.

Beware, ye ships, come yet not near this isle,
Though seas be blue and sunlit heavens smile,
For where the long waves wash and seaweeds grow
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Are hulls of ships that perished long ago. [Page 84]