The Nacreous Oughts

27 July 2004


Against deep seas blue-black like mussel-shells
The island arched its bluffs and stony scarps,
Which, wave-rocked, tolled in winter time like bells,
Or chimed to spring as sweet as Irish harps.

Above, a fool's crown of canary cloud,
Moulded by mighty winds to dizzy height,
Leaned to the isle like press of sail o'erbowed,
And sunshine pierced the eyes with swords of light.

This have we chosen, far from friends and home,
This space of barren rock and crimson heath,
With cliffs of quaking honey-comb
And the tides of death in the galleries beneath."

Charles Spear

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