Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 4 (July 1, 1936)

Harry Holland's Poems

Harry Holland's Poems.

In his own book of verse, “Red Roses on the Highways,” published in Sydney in 1924, Holland expressed a passionate love of freedom and the right. His verses revealed also his deep love of nature and the beautiful, and his intense sympathy with the unfortunate, the poor, and the suffering.

His hatred of war was sharpened by the thought of the women whose hearts were wrenched with grief. In “The Mothers Left to Mourn,” he wrote:

“A million men of kindred race
Stand there in France—stand face to face,
Stand there beneath the shudd'ring skies
With hatred flaming in their eyes.
The flags of conquest fly unfurled,
And legions are on legions hurled;
They strive for all the wide world's marts
With murder raging in their hearts.
And as each blacker battle-day
Unto each blackest day succeeds,
Young lives like vapour melt away.
But ‘tis the mother's heart that bleeds.
One day the battle's rage shall end,
One day the living men return,
But hearts shall break and never mend—
The hearts of mothers left to mourn.”

Sunset on Lake Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand.

Sunset on Lake Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand.

Holland wrote of the night of sorrow, but always looked to the morning and the sunshine and peace that would follow. In the last poem in his book, there was a triumphant ring, and a cheerful injunction and a note of prophecy:

“When I am dead
And you who fought the fight with me
Shall come to say the last farewell,
Let no sad funeral dirge be sung.
No ‘Dead March’ played with dismal time,
Nor mournful beat of muffled drums,
Before the hearse that bears me hence:
But let the silver cornets wake
The sleeping echoes of the hills
With vibrant notes that shall proclaim
There is no sting in Death for me,
No victory the Grave hath won.
O not in sorrow shall you walk,
In slow procession to my tomb,
But proudly march as though you come
To hail me victor in the fight—
When I am dead.”

With that note of a cheering Reveille we leave Harry Holland sleeping there on his hill-top, a smile on the spirit lips.

page 22