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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 6 (September 2, 1935)

New Zealand Verse

page 31

New Zealand Verse

New Zealand Verse
Wellington Harbour New Zealand.

Our harbour is a lady fair
With dainty maiden ways:
She fashions us, with loving care,
New clothes to fit the days.
She dons a sweet dress for us,
Waving a sly caress for us,
To salve the sore distress for us
Who walk the city ways.
And when the skies are wan with storm
She offers us in play
A dear old frock, last season's form
In winsey, softly grey.
She plays this kindly part for us
To show her tender heart for us,
Making a tranquil start for us
Who face a city day.
But when the sky is blue and free
She swings her wardrobe door,
And takes a gown of dimity
With white ‘flecked pinafore;
Then softly sends a smile for us,
Her thought is all the while for us,
She shows this winsomé guile for us
Who watch a city door.
Now, see this many coloured dress
Of rose and gold and fawn,
A rainbow show of loveliness
In watered silk and lawn:
So, laughingly, she sighs for us,
Planning this sweet surprise for us,
To glad the sad sunrise for us
Who fear a city dawn.

* * *


“It is not Death I fear so much”—
But the last passing by
Of sight and sound and scent and touch;
Of earth and sun and sky.
Of all the quiet and glowing things
That bring me such delight—
To pass me by on sable wings,
Into the silent night.
Beauty that sears the soul, yet heals—
Gorse to a river's brim.
The loveliness of light that steals
Over the mountain's rim.
Dawn on the earth, and mellow noon.
Eve on the singing folds.
The last light in a radiant swoon
Athwart a bed of marigolds.
“It is not Death I fear so much”—
But that I have to part
With sight and sound and scent and touch—
These things that hold my heart.
This loveliness of earthly things
Of limpid shade and laughing light—
To pass me by on sable wings,
Into the silent night.

* * *

Night and Quiet.

Outside the dark roads stretch, mile upon mile.
Over, and close, the heavens pinked by stars;
The stars themselves remote, a distant smile
Of light in dimness. Low the huddled trees
Crouch to the earth. The menace of the hills
(The quiet and waiting hills) flows in to me
Here, where I cower in the light, and fills
My very room with essence of the dark.
Mine is the chalice! So I turn from sight
Of warm, familiar things, and, fearing, flee
To hear upon the bosom of the night
The longed-for heart-beat of eternity.

The Bell Bird.

The one clear note rings out
Making the traveller pause
Enrapt he stands
Most anxious, waits to hear
The liquid sweetness
Fall upon his ear.
There in the grove
Where sweet birds sing
Their ecstasy of love
Like some lone muezzin
From tall minaret
The Bell Bird calls to prayer.
Within the Temple
Decked with giant fern
Devoutness walks
The mysteries to learn
Enthralled by sound
Rich grace the souls discern.
And as a spirit
That would glory share
The silver peal rings forth
Once more to evening prayer
A call to peace
That shuts the door on care.
The soul of music
In one rich tone is heard
Dream we of this,
Or are the senses real
What spirit sings
Which we declare a bird?
What of the body?
Nay! we little care.
The gold of sound
Refined, without alloy;
Perfection's splendid note
Of confidence and joy.
A disembodied spirit
And a dream come true;
For in that high note clear
The great thought comes to view
That what is spiritual
Is ever with us here.