For one carved instant as they flew,
The language had no simile --
Silver, crystal, ivory
Were tarnished. Etched upon the horizon blue,
The frieze must go unchallenged, for the lift
And carriage of the wings would stain the drift
Of stars against a tropic indigo
Or dull the parable of snow.
Now settling one by one
Within green hollows or where curled
Crests caught the spectrum from the sun,
A thousand wings are furled.
No clay-born lilies of the world
Could blow as free
As those wild orchids of the sea.
To hear E.J. Pratt reading "Sea-Gulls," recorded in March 1956, in the Victoria College Library [0:55; 594Kb], click here.