When the wind's flourish suddenly shakes
the saw-tooth edges of the dunes
into a flurry and torment of sand,
and the day is late and the sun has gone;
when birds wheel from star-fall
and brown-skinned girls from the water shout
to the wall-eyed breakers and the sea,
waves leap and salt blows
bitterly up to the darkening trees;
when up from the water, tired children
bring buckets, shells, spades,
the restless shadows of fretful dreams,
and the beach seems empty, as cold and strange
as the hands of the drowned, slowly,
shoes filled with sand, come
the sad-eyed watchers — those who have been
with Pharoah's daughter and the infant Moses.
They have seen a country as black as the clouds
which cover the moon when night closes
blind eyes to the hunting owl —
they walk in sorrow at what they have found.
A I H Paterson.