Illa Creek

A poem by Henry Kendall

A strong sea-wind flies up and sings
Across the blown-wet border,
Whose stormy echo runs and rings
Like bells in wild disorder.

Fierce breath hath vexed the foreland’s face,
It glistens, glooms, and glistens;
But deep within this quiet place
Sweet Illa lies and listens.

Sweet Illa of the shining sands,
She sleeps in shady hollows,
Where August flits with flowerful hands,
And silver Summer follows.

Far up the naked hills is heard
A noise of many waters,
But green-haired Illa lies unstirred
Amongst her star-like daughters.

The tempest, pent in moaning ways,
Awakes the shepherd yonder,
But Illa dreams unknown to days
Whose wings are wind and thunder.

Here fairy hands and floral feet
Are brought by bright October;
Here, stained with grapes and smit with heat,
Comes Autumn, sweet and sober.

Here lovers rest, what time the red
And yellow colours mingle,
And daylight droops with dying head
Beyond the western dingle.

And here, from month to month, the time
Is kissed by peace and pleasure,
While Nature sings her woodland rhyme
And hoards her woodland treasure.

Ah, Illa Creek! ere evening spreads
Her wings o’er towns unshaded,
How oft we seek thy mossy beds
To lave our foreheads faded!

For, let me whisper, then we find
The strength that lives, nor falters,
In wood and water, waste and wind,
And hidden mountain altars.

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