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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

New Zealand Verse

page 23

New Zealand Verse

Piha—West Coast.

Through virgin bush the hard-won road
Threads snake-wise o'er the barrier range,
And climbing still, the fern-fringed way
Beckons round each doubling bend.
We glimpse afar, through parting crags,
A breathless loveliness revealed
Where storming sea meets frowning cliff
In tumbling walls of driving spray:
The way emerges far above
Famed Piha's proud and sweeping strand,
A panorama, wide, sublime—
All little thought is swept away
Into the misty distance where the spray hangs long,
A grey-blue veil Silently cloaking the barren shore.

Lion Rock, with changeless calm,
Scans the horizon's opaque line;
He crouches, vigilant, alone,
The monarch of an ageless realm:
And still he guards the kneeling
Nun Who prays with steadfast faith, nor heeds
The foaming seas that sway her veil.
With what pathetic irony,
Symbolic of her chosen fate,
She prays with face averted from
The Wedding Rock—frail human love
Renounced for love of One divine:
The impartial seas sweep over all,
Nor know the endless beauty they
Alone have power to consummate.

The ocean rollers every glee
In racing through the narrowing Gap,
To batter there impotently
The granite rocks that bar their way.
Within the lee of unmoved cliffs,
Beyond the boiling cauldron's wrath,
A writhing mass of yellowed spume
Coils and swirls with twisted life.
While scarce removed, a deepening pool
Lies strangely still, as passion spent—
A scene of contrasts, uncanny as
The Blow-hole's siren, whistling shrill;
The blasting of a mighty forge
That belches smoking, liquid breath:
With eyes that marvel and enshrine
We peer through Nature's telescope,
The Tunnel chiselled through the cliff,
Where racing wave and undertow
Wrestle in unyielding might …
All these and more are Piha's fame,
The wonders that are not of man;
A thundering, relentless force—
And awful majesty that stuns
And overawes man's puniness
With immeasurable, untramelled power:
And yet the very ocean swell
Is ordered by His hand alone,
His arm controls the vivid play
Of breaking surf and mist-hung shore;
His voice is in the strident tongue
Of crashing wave through sea-sculpt rock.

“Look on this beauty—Earth and Sea
Reflect the Love that knows no bounds:
Guard thou thy land, its marvels keep
In trust for those who follow on,
That they may say, in youth's young day,
‘Great were the men who passed this way’.”

* * *

From The Fields.

Fleecy clouds in an azure sky,
Songs of skylarks soaring high,—
Downy soft the scented breeze,
Golden showers from stirring trees—
All these are signs of Summer.

A million tiny fairy ships
Set snowy sail with faint pink tips
And float on seas of rippling, green,
Manned by elfin crews unseen.
Sail on, ye sprites, to Summer!

Across the fields in chequered shade
By nikau palms and tree-ferns made,
A brown stream whispers secrets there
To the clinging fronds of maiden-hair.
How sweet to love in Summer.

I homeward turn at close of day,
But someone waits along my way.
Her soft eyes glow with love for me;
My heart beats wildly, happily.
To me at last comes Summer.

* * *

September.

Magnolia petals, pink and white,
Dapple the lawn for my delight;
Scattered like star-dust in the night
By Winter's dying breath.

Green-budding branches swinging low,
Whisper secrets of long ago,
Secrets that you and I might know,
Could we but understand.

Nodding narcissi, row on row,
Polyanthus and poppies grow.
What though blustering winds still blow?
Springtime has come again!

* * *

Transformation.

I stood high on a hill last night,
And watched a village by the sea,
Until it seemed an elfin light,
Transformed the lovely scene for me.

I thought I saw a goddess fair,
Joyously waiting by the shore,
Soft twinkling lights shone here and there,
And flecked the flaunting gown she wore.

Her face was lost in filmy mist,
Her arms far-flung stretched round the bay,
The shades they tossed were amethyst,
Till lost in darkness, far away.

A rapture filled me suddenly,
My goddess glowed like buttercup,
And on the iris rim of sea,
Gold streaks arose, the moon came up.

Then, lo! The moon shone bright,
A soft wind stirred, my vision died,
No lovely goddess waited me,
Only a village; and I cried.

page 24

page break
When The Lake Trout Come Inshore: Told By The Camera.

When The Lake Trout Come Inshore: Told By The Camera.

Lake Rotoiti, North Island, New Zealand. Lake Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand. (Rly. Publicity photos.) Both on Rotorua, and in the companion lake, Rotoiti, rod-fishing for rainbow trout by wading anglers is an alluring pastime. In places the lake bottom shelves so gradually that the angler may walk out for distances, and good catches are made when the trout come inshore to feed in the evening. But fishing has other charms than fish. Note the forested beauty of the lake coast-line, and the willingness of vegetation to accommodate itself picturesquely to detached fragments. Lakeland is conquerable by water or by road. A natural playground, highly organised by man for the use of man, is at our door. And at moderate cost.

Lake Rotoiti, North Island, New Zealand.
Lake Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand. (Rly. Publicity photos.)
Both on Rotorua, and in the companion lake, Rotoiti, rod-fishing for rainbow trout by wading anglers is an alluring pastime. In places the lake bottom shelves so gradually that the angler may walk out for distances, and good catches are made when the trout come inshore to feed in the evening. But fishing has other charms than fish. Note the forested beauty of the lake coast-line, and the willingness of vegetation to accommodate itself picturesquely to detached fragments. Lakeland is conquerable by water or by road. A natural playground, highly organised by man for the use of man, is at our door. And at moderate cost.

page 26