The Highlands, Cape Cod

CROUCHED, tiger-wise, above the centuries’ prey
Of ships and men, of merchantry and pelf,
It lures and broods beneath its sandy shelf
This piteous wreckage, crumbling to decay.
It sweeps the sea with sullen, half-mad eye
Dreaming of thundering waves and shrieking sky
And ships that shattered at its feet shall lie
Rent by the storm, as merciless as itself.
The shore rang loud with flood-tide yesternoon;
And I, who plodded in the heat and glare
Chanced on this piece of silver, lying bare
Upon the wimpling sands beneath the dune.
Square-shapen, battered, still it bore full plain
The three Herculean pillars of old Spain,
And straightway, working magic in my brain
The passing trade-ships melted into air;
Vanished the noon-tide — in the afterglow
Of purpling sunset, jeweled with a star,
Glided a caravel, with gleaming spar,
The carven prow advancing sure and slow.
The captain’s warning tones rang loud and clear;
Paled, as he gazed, the roystering buccaneer;
The swart, rude sailors crossed themselves in fear,
And quaking, murmured, “Dios! Malabar!”
Annie Weld Edson Macy.