Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 12 (March 2, 1936)

New Zealand Verse

page 29

New Zealand Verse

Prayer Of A Woman.

She lay so still
In the heavy-seeded grass,
Broken off, like cherry-branches
Where the gay spoilers pass,
Praying not to god Hermes
Of the white timeless head,
To the little god of gardens
With his wreathed pipes of lead,
To the owl-light's tall lady
Walking stilled and apart—
But to some god blind and silent
In a locked human heart.
Saying, through the raindrop voices
Of the untormented birds,
“Father, Master, free me
From necessity of words.
“Watch the flowers sing about me,
Blue, golden, green as flames—
Lord, though I see them,
Let me know not their names.
“When their music chimes o'er me,
Bid that no echo lingers—
Set not so frail pattern
Under stiff human fingers.
“An Thou ask me for beauty,
God of sunlight and birds,
Limb and breast shall obey thee—
But seek not for words.”
She lay so still
In the heavy-seeded grass,
Watching clouds, a white cotillion,
Glitter and pass

* * *


I shall remember how, on quiet eves,
The teeming air was vibrant in the spell
Of one bird's song, as through the languid leaves,
It musically rose, and fluting, fell.
Or how, in hush of dawn, a cloud dove-grey,
That dimpled 'gainst a sky of silver mist,
Was colour-splashed, and spangled by new day,
From burnished gold, to rose and amethyst.
Oh, I shall see again in sunset's glow,
Pure lint-white sails upon a sapphire sea,
Flash in the sun like jewelled flakes of snow,
Caught in a ray of dazzling brilliancy!
Such lovely things will close, into a crowd,
Athwart the shrine of my heart's secret space;
The song, the little sparkling ship, the cloud,
Will dim from Memory the commonplace.

* * *


There was peace in the vale; and the stream swam by,
With a murmurous dash and a bubbling sigh
O'er the smooth-worn rocks, thru’ the eddying bay,
Where the waters of time had carved their way
From the Earth… There was peace that day.
There was peace in the bush where the tui sang,
In the sweet-dank depths; in the sunny tang
Of manuka blooming on the dry, steep hill.
There was peace in the blue of the sky, in the still
Hot air… And the fern-bird's trill.
There is clamour and bustle in the valley now,
And feverish haste; and the highpitched sough
Of the saw in wood, and the axe's ring.
But ask the hewn bough, the broken wing,
What gold… and man can bring.
I see a city where a valley stood,
Where the bird once sang, where grew a wood
Of restful green, its top splashed red
With rata bloom. Beneath man's tread
That past, that peace, are dead.

Heather At Tongariro.

When I return at last from my long roaming,
To my own land beneath the lonely mountains,
Ah, then, once more my longing eyes shall see
The golden tussock on the hills and in the valleys.
Always in my dreams, my eyes have seen them—
The lonely peaks, white with their glittering snow.
Always my heart has bid my feet return
To my own land, amid the glowing tussock.
At night time, when the troubled winds are waking,
My heart goes sadly questing, but I do not see
The tussocks’ glow against the burnished sky,
But only the sombre purple of the foreign heather.
Oh, you, who come from cold lands far away—
Cold lands whose cradle-songs are twined about your hearts,
Leave me the tussock! Lest your feet returning,
Find on your Scottish moorlands, its glow among the heather.

* * *

Getting Old.

Dear tree, you've grown old with me through the years…
Was I ten when I set you there?
I wore a pinafore trimmed with lace
And a crimson bow in my hair.
How anxiously watered and watched you were;
Remember the wild delight
When I ran to fetch father and mother and all
The day a new leaf came in sight?
And now I just walk from the house to your shade.
“She's off to her tree,” they say.
“She talks to it, sometimes, the poor old dear—
But at eighty they get that way.”

page 30