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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 12 (March 1, 1935)

New Zealand Verse

page 20

New Zealand Verse

The Sea and the Children.

What are you singing, bright waves of the ocean?
Washing the beach where the little birds run;
Catching the shimmering sunbeams in motion,
Kissing them, tossing them back to the sun.

What are you telling the gay children playing
Knee-deep within your soft salt waves of blue?
Can their young hearts understand what you're saying?
Sweet secrets whispered between them and you.

Does their clear vision behold caverns lying,
Filled with sea wonders, your waters below?
Do their ears hear in your murmuring sighing
Surf on the lonely rocks wheeling gulls know?

Can they hear great winds in night darkness calling
Over your bosom from spaces afar?
Can they feel the great heart of you rising and falling?
See the moon's pale reflection and many a star.

Do they stand spellbound before your great story?
Young hot hearts wistful; though fettered; yet free—
Do they feel the salt tang of your breast old and hoary?—
These are the lads, then, who follow the sea.

* * *

Day Dreams.

I have lain all through the halcyon morn,
Upon a grassy cliff above the sea,
Where white gulls sing their ancient songs forlorn,
And skylarks carol on unceasingly,
And scents of gorse and manuka are borne
Upon the little soft, sea-winds to me.

Yet I have been across the world away,
Where, bright beyond a strange, fantastic quay,
A white town floats upon a blue, blue bay,
And weary, battered ships, spent with the sea,
Sail in to haven for a happy day,
And deep-voiced sailors swagger when they see
The slow, brown glance of girls—and wish to stay.

Oh, I have been across the world away,
Roaming the hot streets of a foreign town,
And, dreaming by the drowsy, palm-fringed bay,
Have heard a lilting tune come drifting down,
And seen a lissom girl with laughter gay,
Dance to its music, in a crimson gown.
I have lain all through the halcyon summer morn
Upon a grassy cliff above the sea.

* * *

Humpty Dumpty.

To-day, little one, we attempt to review
A work which may be of some interest to you.
Its nature is narrative, simple of course,
With rather a strong allegorical force.
It preaches a moral but does it with skill
And takes the precaution of gilding the pill,
For the writer expresses his argumentation
By means of a vivid personification.
We see brought to life with a stroke of the pen
The ordinary egg of an ordinary hen.
This vitalised figure is placed on the field
And little by little the plot is revealed.
The action proceeds to a climax at length
In language of elegance rather than strength,
But stark is the tragedy, tragic the gloom
In which it is ruthlessly rushed to its doom.
The parable ends on a quieter note,
Proceeding with logical calm to denote
The fruitless exertions of all the king's men
To fasten the victim together again.
So that is the story of Humpty the egg,
And you will remember the moral, I beg.
You see it of course? It is this, little folk,
A lot of bad eggs are all right till they're broke.

* * *

On Queenstown Hill.

The damp mists clung about the trees
Where the hill path went winding:
For wafting down the morning breeze,
We heard the tui singing.
The wet grass sagged against our knees
But we went onward climbing,

Upward we climbed, and soon the song
Wove through our happy laughter,
But, pausing where the white mists throng,
We heard it growing softer,
Till one clear note plealed loud and long
And there was silence after.

We turned and watched a golden light,
The formless white mists scatter,
And saw them, mirrored in their flight,
Deep in the lake's blue water
Like dreams left by the laggard night
For dawn's quick light to shatter.