The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 4 (July 1, 1938.)
New Zealand Verse
New Zealand Verse
Have you seen the thrushes swinging on an apple tree in spring,
Have you listened to the rippling songs a waterfall can sing,
Have you gathered mushrooms, wet with dew in fields when autumn's nigh Or watched a sunset's glory as it lights the western sky?
Have you ever let a madcap wind blow all your cares away As you walked along a spray drenched shore upon a wild March day,
Have you ever gathered buttercups to rob them of their gold,
Or seen the scudding clouds in flight before the moon grows old?
Have you stood upon a hilltop just when leaves are turning brown And watched the white mist rising like a cloud above the town? There are many other pastimes,
very old, yet always new. But if you have done none of these I'm glad I am not you.
* * *
The dark trees tower above me With friendly boughs and still … . Lie quiet, my heart, in the shadow,
Quiet as the resting hill. Now, when the day is over,
Now, when the last sounds cease,
I would be one with the earth-world Whose greatest gift is peace.
Night has a shawl of silver,
Fine as the angels spin,
And feather-soft as a cirrus cloud,
To fold my slumbers in,
Moss that is warm as velvet,
Dreams that are new and deep,
And overhead in a turquoise sky A star to light my sleep.
Then tower dark trees above me,
Where life broods wing on wing … . I shall be one with your cradled calm As the slow hours swing.
Upon these laden shelves last season's wealth is stored away; The jars are warm with coloured fruits in tempting rich array.
The plums are rosy marbles jostling in a scarlet sea,
And gooseberries are whiskered globes of green transparency; Peaches and apricots that burned through golden summer weeks In ripening stages on the bough now press their sun-flushed cheeks Against relentless walls of glass; in gravy dark with spice Lurk glooming walnuts; rhubarb jars are packed with crimson dice,
And onions swim in vinegar, each like a pallid moon A glimmer in a rainy sky. Squat jars of rich maroon Hold round red beetroot slices, and through syrup amber-clear As autumn sun gleam luscious curves of honey-coloured pear.
Ah, when the kitchen-garden's bare,
and bare the orchard trees,
With what deep satisfaction do I come and gaze at these.
* * *
Awake! Awake! the world is gold; A brimming cup of amber wine; Come out the sick, come out the old The gold is yours, the gold is mine.
With cup to lip,
And drench your heart in gold.
Awake! Awake! This precious thing To rich and poor alike is free! Come lowest wretch, come proudest king,
And drink together here with me.
But both must sup The self same cup,
To taste its living gold.
Awake! Awake The sun is high,
The birds, the beasts, the flowers, the trees,
Bathe in the wine that you and I Must drink, and share with all of these,
So raise the cup,
And drink it up,
This wine, this precious gold.
* * *
Here is beauty that's green and misty.
The grass is sweet, and the dew lies wet.
The trees lean down by tranquil water,
Cattle graze in the fields.
And yet My heart is sick for a wilder country,
Under a high and piercing sky,
Splash of snow in the high hill-passes,
Glacier lakes where the keas fly.
Soaring peaks, and the white snakes winding,
Down from the blinding summit's light.
Snakes that are coiled in glacial combat,
Moving the mountains with faith's own might.
For I am dreaming of tussock country,
The leaping snow-fed rivers that go By little lakes with a cold blue margin,
Down to the golden plains below.
Oh, though I never return to know them,
I shall remember until I die Splash of snow in the high hill-passes,
And the peaks against the blinding sky!
* * *