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An Island Pine

by Elisabeth Cavazza

Upon the promontory stands a Pine,
Where the last land is steep against the sea,
And waters break below, upon the shore:
The years pass by as clouds above his head;
And tempered by the sun and rain and wind,
His lonely strength is lifted to the sky.

And not for any changes of the sky,
Or heat or cold, is changed the constant Pine,
But sets his leafage hard against the wind;
And fed with salt, sharp moisture of the sea,
Before the hatred of the storm makes head,
And stands a sentinel upon the shore.

And when the sun-seared grass half clothes the shore,
And floating mists melt in the sapphire sky,
And birds of the new summer, overhead,
Fly to and fro about the ancient Pine,
And the sun's light is broken on the sea
As the thin waves are crisped before the wind,

The Pine, not moved by fierce or flattering wind,
All day, all night, upon the lonely shore,
As from a citadel, looks out to sea;
Where slender, pointed masts upon the sky,
Stature and shape of many a kindred pine,
Come up the bay with banners at their head.

And while the crown of leafage on his head
Is held on high to meet the ocean wind,
The mariner will hail the mighty Pine
Set as a beacon on the extreme shore,
And unafraid of darkening of the sky,
Or sullen murmur of the mutinous sea.

Year after year the Pine beside the sea
Has watched the ships sail past the granite head
And vanish in the distance of the sky,
And send no message backward by the wind,
To him who guards the lonely island shore.
Forever at his post, the faithful Pine.
Some day the Pine shall fall into the sea,
And on the shore the trees bewail their head,
While a great wind makes havoc in the sky.

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