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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2 (May 1, 1934.)

New Zealand Verse

page 14

New Zealand Verse


(A Waiata-tangi, song-of-lament, or ode, to my brother whom I have not seen for 43 years. The verses contain references to scenes of the year 1870. Hami is the Maorified form of Sammy. Written to the air: Londonderry: My Own Countree.)

O Hami dear our memories are recalling,
Those earlier joys which we together shared;
Among the woods when autumn leaves were falling,
And in those nooks where others had not dared:
Our ponies climbed the steeps where none had ventured,
And swam the streams whose waters furious rushed;
O'er ridge and dale we cantered and we entered—
The silent bush—when all around was hushed.
O summer days amid the woodland glories,
And hewing-out the creamy mokoroa;
To tempt those fish that liven-up our stories,
At Rua-mai-oro—we'll ne'er see more:
O Hami boy, O Hami are you coming,
To those dear places with pearly rippling streams;
To gather honey from bees so tuneful humming,
When all the world was sweet—as fondest dreams.
Blest days, we-two together roaming,
Our laughter oft the grey pihoihoi1 stirred;
Those eves we heard the screeching kaka2 homing,
And watched the antics of the blue pukeko2 bird:
O Hami, Hami, our silver-locks are drooping,
Our eyes less keen than in those times before;
But O our hearts are strong as lowly stooping—
We bow our heads—to blissful days of yore.
How oft we plodded through the ferns when fishing,
How oft our shots have woke the echoing breeze;
How oft well-laden, tired, in secret wishing,
We were at home—with kuras4 from the trees:
That sacred home, with sainted mother waiting,
For her loved boys, when night was falling fast;
With her dear hands and naught of toil abating,
To give us comfort—with that quick repast.
O Hami boy, I'm waiting for your coming,
To view those scenes we've dreamt throughout the years;
The stream is there, its fruitful waters running,
By those dear spots—we've hallowed with our tears:
There Tiki-kiwi rising from the lowlands,
Up to its bush-clad crown where pigeons dwell;
There, as of yore, repose the brightest show-lands,
Of all the earth—remembered still so well.
So let our future these emotions cherish,
So keep us mindful of life's brightest rays;
O never may their sweetness fade and perish,
Not even when utter darkness ends our days:
O Hami dear, how fast my tears are falling,
As those past scenes with all their joys I scan;
Their wistfulness their blissfulness recalling,
Those wonder-years—when early life began.
[1ground-lark; 2parrot; 2swamp-hen; 4treasures.]


When you tell of old world mansions
With their creeper covered walls
And their western windows glowing
When the silver arrow falls
From the long blue bow of heaven,
Striking crimson from the panes
As the broadsword of the sunlight
Wounds the misty summer rains,
Then I see lake Roto-iti
Where the Arnaud ranges rise
From their birch encumbered foothills
To their snow encompassed skies.
There the green protective pinions,
Fearful for its chastity,
Fold around this crystal glowing
Through the mountains’ majesty.
Speak you of a stained glass window
In an ivy mantled pile?
In my castle is a mirror,
In that mirror gaze awhile—
Gaze into these magic waters,
Gaze, and you shall never know
Which the mirror, which the mountains,
Which the clouds and which the snow.
Tell me shadowy romances
Of a story long ago,
Flit behind your mansion windows,
Tremulous and to and fro.
I shall tell of Roto-iti
Where the starry wraiths go by
With the moon, the most romantic
Moon of all thy pageantry.
Tell me yours is beauty fashioned
By the yearning heart of man;
Tell me art is the impassioned
Love of things he makes who can.
I reply—old loves forsaking—
By Zealandia's lakes is shown
Beauty's art gives man an aching
For the things no man has known.

Black Swans.

Through the dusk, the river's croon;
Six black swans against the moon.
Eerily, without a cry,
Six black swans go swinging by.
Their wings’ beat comes down to me—
Muted waves on phantom sea—
Whispers from eternity …
In the trees, the night wind's croon;
My love sleeps beneath the moon.
Earth long since was made his bed.
Six black swans fly overhead.