Songs & Poems
Edwin John Pratt (1882-1964) was born in Western Bay, Conception Bay. After leaving the province in 1907 to attend the University of Toronto, he published his first volume of poetry, Newfoundland Verse, in 1923
Here the tides flow,
And here they ebb;
Not with that dull, unsinewed tread of waters
Held under bonds to move
Around unpeopled shores—
Moon-driven through a timeless circuit
Of invasion and retreat;
But with a lusty stroke of life
Pounding at stubborn gates,
That they might run
Within the sluices of men’s hearts,
Leap under throb of pulse and nerve,
And teach the sea’s strong voice
To learn the harmonies of new floods,
The peal of cataract,
And the soft wash of currents
Against resilient banks,
Or the broken rhythms from old chords
Along dark passages
That once were pathways of authentic fires.
Red is the sea-kelp on the beach,
Red as the heart’s blood,
Nor is there power in tide or sun
To bleach its stain.
It lies there piled thick
Above the gulch-line.
It is rooted in the joints of rocks,
It is tangled around a spar,
It covers a broken rudder,
It is red as the heart’s blood,
And salt as tears.