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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

Piha—West Coast

Piha—West Coast.

Through virgin bush the hard-won road
Threads snake-wise o'er the barrier range,
And climbing still, the fern-fringed way
Beckons round each doubling bend.
We glimpse afar, through parting crags,
A breathless loveliness revealed
Where storming sea meets frowning cliff
In tumbling walls of driving spray:
The way emerges far above
Famed Piha's proud and sweeping strand,
A panorama, wide, sublime—
All little thought is swept away
Into the misty distance where the spray hangs long,
A grey-blue veil Silently cloaking the barren shore.

Lion Rock, with changeless calm,
Scans the horizon's opaque line;
He crouches, vigilant, alone,
The monarch of an ageless realm:
And still he guards the kneeling
Nun Who prays with steadfast faith, nor heeds
The foaming seas that sway her veil.
With what pathetic irony,
Symbolic of her chosen fate,
She prays with face averted from
The Wedding Rock—frail human love
Renounced for love of One divine:
The impartial seas sweep over all,
Nor know the endless beauty they
Alone have power to consummate.

The ocean rollers every glee
In racing through the narrowing Gap,
To batter there impotently
The granite rocks that bar their way.
Within the lee of unmoved cliffs,
Beyond the boiling cauldron's wrath,
A writhing mass of yellowed spume
Coils and swirls with twisted life.
While scarce removed, a deepening pool
Lies strangely still, as passion spent—
A scene of contrasts, uncanny as
The Blow-hole's siren, whistling shrill;
The blasting of a mighty forge
That belches smoking, liquid breath:
With eyes that marvel and enshrine
We peer through Nature's telescope,
The Tunnel chiselled through the cliff,
Where racing wave and undertow
Wrestle in unyielding might …
All these and more are Piha's fame,
The wonders that are not of man;
A thundering, relentless force—
And awful majesty that stuns
And overawes man's puniness
With immeasurable, untramelled power:
And yet the very ocean swell
Is ordered by His hand alone,
His arm controls the vivid play
Of breaking surf and mist-hung shore;
His voice is in the strident tongue
Of crashing wave through sea-sculpt rock.

“Look on this beauty—Earth and Sea
Reflect the Love that knows no bounds:
Guard thou thy land, its marvels keep
In trust for those who follow on,
That they may say, in youth's young day,
‘Great were the men who passed this way’.”

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