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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5 (August 1, 1934)

New Zealand Verse

page 16

New Zealand Verse

Old Mother Hubbard.

See this old woman, feeble and outworn?
Her withered brow, her countenance forlorn?
Whose weary eyes, too spiritless for tears,
Reflect the dismal burden of her years?
Whose faltering footsteps seem to tread the way
That leads to obsolescence and decay?
A woman old and destitute, and yet
Not too much so to keep a household pet.
Observe the scene more closely, and you see
A member of the canine family,
His tail between his miserable legs
And in his eye a mute appeal, that begs
So humbly, as to some faint hope it clings—
A look that seems to say so many things.
And as he crouches meekly at her feet,
Pathetically asks “When do we eat?”
His mistress' eyebrow quivers with remorse
And croaks she, inarticulate and hoarse,
How now there, sweet my Fido, what's to do?
What is it that so sorely troubles you?
The creature's face lights up, and then with care
Assuming his expression of despair,
Endeavours with comparative success
To register nutritional distress.
Ah. who to such entreaty could be blind?
His pleading message penetrates her mind,
That weary frame he drags along the floor
And follows her towards the pantry door.
Alas! How many castles in the air,
Transparent hopes, ephemerally fair.
When sweetest and most exquisite they seem
Turn out as but a broken, shattered dream?
The darkest hour is just before the dawn
(A statement as absurd as it is worn):
So might we not untruthfully remark,
The brightest hour is just before the dark.
'Tis thus our Fido signals in his joy
The prospect of a tasty saveloy,
'Tis thus his mistress, pity in her heart,
Promises him a wealth of apple tart.
Imagine then the feelings of the pair
On finding that the larder shelf is bare.
“O Hunger,” sighs the dog, “here is thy sting,
No saveloy nor tart nor anything.
If music is the Food of Love, play on—
All traces of material food arc gone.
O Fate, how would thy cruelty to-day
Provoke the wrath of our S.P.C.A.?”


Long years ago this lakeside town has known
The frenzied quest for gold, the turbulent
And fevered days of gold when seekers came
And founded here their tented settlement.
Yet though those times are laid away in sleep
Long and long ago, the golden days.
Great golden days, remain as heritage
When sunshine floods adown the alpine ways
To where the waters of the lake lie deep
And blue as summer skies of Maori land.
This lake, wherein at times lie mirrored all
The wealth of splendour that a master hand
Has woven into mountain, snow and sky
In intermingled light and shade until
Enchantment and tranquility are made
As one and all is hushed and clear and still.
Sub-alpine nights in vestal clarity
Of starry skies close down the golden day
Whilst towering battlements stand sentinel
Inviolate against time's slow decay.
The seasons march upon their way, they merge
And change along the slow-revolving year,
Yet ever with her queenly grace, this town,
This regal town, this Queenstown of the clear
Wide southern skies shall keep her open court,
Here taking tribute from the majesty Of mountain lands, and here in her own realm
Transcending grandeur to sublimity.

New Zealand River.

Over! Over! Over!
Over and ended the dream by the river.
Born of the rain
Held by the wind
Heavy with scent of white field clover.
Twisting and turning
The blue of the river,
Lupin and fescue and broom together,
Snared the feet and the heart together,
Tore my heart
As it never was torn
By anyone guised as a human lover.
Treefoil and gorse! Ah, the seas of yellow
Guarded and banded by seas of willow…‥
Leave my heart lest it break forever,
Leave my heart as I leave forever …
Call me not to the fields of clover—
Because of the dream—it is ended and over.


My friend and I were both enamoured
Of your subtle, proud allure;
You seemed, upon your pedestal,
Beyond our reach, secure.
But while I tarried, hesitant.
My friend more recklessly
Rushed in and claimed you. Oh, my dear!
I watched you jealously.
And when at length I turned away.
My heart seemed made of ice.
I'd lost you, darling hat, because
I could not pay your price.