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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI. 1876–79.

Appendix: Sandwich Islands

The Beach at Hilo Bay

By F. Coan

WHAT has this grand, curved beach to show?

Slimy wharves, in the sun aglow?

Warehouses grim, in a dismal row,

Stretching for weary miles? No, no!

Gracefully fringed it is, with trees

Nodding obeisance to every breeze

Born on the mountain or on the high seas.

Under the trees the lagoons are asleep,

Children dumb of the roaring deep,

Into their cradle the wild waves peep.

Darling gem is each bright lagoon,

Molten silver at fervid noon,

Burnished mirror for evening’s moon.

Birds on the smooth, packed sand are parading,

Legs stripped bare, all ready for wading,

Or daintily poised, the foam-crest evading.

Here is the tablet the waves prepare

For ragged school artists, so burnt and bare,

With faces begrimmed, and tangled hair.

And on this easel so smoothly sanded

Fleets are sketched by the deftly handed,—

You would think the Royal Navy was stranded.

Queer little crabs are making their tracks,

With dinners robbed from their neighbors’ sacks,

And stolen houses upon their backs.

Here are mosses in rarest green

And royal purple, fit for a queen,

Which painters may envy in vain, I ween.

And blue-eyed flowers, with faces bland,

All untended by human hand,

Asking nothing but sunshine and sand.

Yonder are snow-tipped mountains bold,

Always new, though a cycle old,

Full of fire as their sides can hold.

Nearer at hand,—no tongue can tell,

The mighty magic of beauty’s spell,

That wakes our smiles, and tears as well.

Rarest beauties our beach can show,

As bounding along its crescent we go,

Or lost in thought we saunter slow,—

And the half has not yet been told,—no, no!