A BEAM of light was shaken out of the sky
On to the brimming tide, and there it lay,
Palely tossing like a creature condemned to die
who has loved the bright day.
Ah, who are these that wing through the shadowy air?
She cries, in agony. Are they coming for me?
The big waves croon to her: Hush now! There, now,
there! There is nothing to see.
But her white arms lift to cover her shining head,
And she presses close to the waves to make herself small.
On their listless knees the beam of light lies dead,
And the birds of shadow fall.
(Courtesy, The Society of Authors–Literary Representative of the Estate of Katherine Mansfield)