First Arrivals© R. G. Hay
All very well for Phillip.
He's a sailor and it's all one sea
from Thames to this harbour.
Land, says Phillip, and means the shore,
room for a warehouse and timber for a wharf.
But land - you couldn't call it land:
it's rock or sand
and the twisted trees without shade -
hundreds and hundreds of trees
and all the shade my own shadow.
Land, he says, and means the shore
his kind will never conquer more,
sit round the edge and look at the sea
Ulysses' sea, and Nelson's.
land's for the likes of me
and all that so far I've found
I can't understand
I wish I were a seaman.