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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 6 (September 1939)

Russell: Centenary

Russell: Centenary.

Below her hill the lazy beach
Dreams in the sun of days gone by;
Of paddles slipping through the tide,
And white-plumed spears against the sky;
Of wild war-fleets upon the breast
Of these calm waters long at rest.
Within these guarding island arms
The whaling fleet at anchor lay;
The light of try-works’ fires as red
As though the night were eerie day,
And up against the tranquil stars
The tracery of wind-strained spars.
The bells have struck the slow sea-hours
From frigate and from battle-sloop,
And rung an echo on the hill.
From frowning bow and brass-mouthed poop
Across this blue wind-sheltered tide
The smoke of guns has rolled and died.
Blue harbour, rest of many ships,
The anchors of a vanished fleet
Have lain upon your rippled sand.
No more the old sea-rovers meet
And drink and dice, and tell strange tales
Of Southern seas and Southern gales.
Below her hill the lazy beach
Dreams in the sun of days gone by,
And seas white-winged across the tide,
Where only seagulls drift and fly,
The spread of canvas on the breeze
Of long-dead ships of many seas.

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