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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 11 (February 1, 1936)

Landscape Of Change

Landscape Of Change.

They remember, our oldest men, When tussock blew where now the city stands,
And when the bullock-dray creaked on its way
Towards the hills blunt bonnets cleave to-day.
What change shall our time see?
They tell half fanciful old tales
Of tasks rejoicingly begun,
Of dank grass sweeping over river dales,
Grey where our mills now shoulder
at the sun.
That moment lights again their eyes When the Assemby, troubled by a changing soil,
Paused, high in humility to ask for
help divine.
And wave on wave of cheering they recall
When engined wheels first shook the sketchy line.
The old guns rusting sightless by the sea
They saw installed, brave threat to distant foes:
These things the old men saw, by rock and tree;
What scenes our eyes shall rest upon—who knows?
Shall over this the high wave curl,
Drowning us deep among the ghostly fish,
Or shall the battled dust become our pall,
And old familiar streets a dying wish?
Or shall routine's smooth warp and weft of loom—
Time's stranglehold on lovely-flowering thought—
Blacken us slowly to the nameless doom
That once hushed Quetzacoatl's citied talk?
Are we too old to know great thoughts again,
Too far bitumenised from earth
To give our limbs to spears of driving rain
And split the crags with labour-loving mirth?
—These things they did, the older men:
What deeds shall our time do?

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