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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 3 (June 1, 1937)

new zealand verse

page 23

new zealand verse

Dawson's Falls.

The waters from the snowy hills Are clear and chill
The mountain tarn below the rills Is deep and still
And where with sheer abandonment The Fall comes tumbling down
An outcrop makes a gaping rent
Whereat the severed stream is bent
To show, through mists all heavenward sent
The cliff so bare and brown.
But down upon the plains afar The river flows
Creeping o'er pebbled reach and bar Until it goes
To where the rippling wavelet laves
The margin of the bay
And then by currents, tides and waves Convoyed to where the sunlight paves
Vast watery plains o'er jewelled caves Of ocean far away.
And such our life, from start to end An ever-flowing stream
Which ‘gainst the rocks may break or bend
As best to Heaven may seem;
Which must, though oft with wonderment
Come tumbling down the fall, Until our youthful discontent
Is lost in depths that hide the rent
And barms the lessons Heaven has meant
And finds the end of all.

* * *

Wild Ducks in the Shooting Season.

Fly high! fly high! oh, wild and timid things!
To the far hills
And deeply-hidden, unfrequented pool
Tranquil and cool
Where the dark-berried mokomoko spills
Its leaves upon the stream that softly sings
To damp, earth-scented fern-embowered banks.
How thinned your ranks
Rise higher, bravely-beating outstretched wings!
Upward and onward ‘neath the paling sky
That eastward dapples to the coming morn.
Innocent of all wrong to living thing, From death you fly—
Why was man born
With lust to strike the life from that warm breast?
That asked no greater joy than mating spring
Or brooding motherhood on lowly nest.
Press on! press on! oh, wildly-beating breast
Hidden by boulder and the spreading tree
That tranquil pool for weary wings holds rest

A thrice-blessed sanctuary.

* * *


Oh, there is healing in the sun's caress
And reconciliation in the breeze
That doth salute the pilgrim from the stress
Of that usurping town where Scotland sees
Herself in miniature. It was your ways
O dreaming Waikouaiti, now grass-grown
That in the minds of men in former days
Were teeming thoroughfares. The plan has flown
E'en as the white terns fly by marsh and sea.
Shall I regret that dream which came not true?
Is there not there conjunction sympathy
With English dreams? Dark as the English yews
Are yonder pine-crests that in concert sigh
About God's acre compassing quite close
The wooden church. Here might a dreamer lie
And in the resinous calm his mind engross
With images of home from seared leaves culled
While to his ears the rumour of a race
That knew not England loiters in the call
Of some far tui. Yet his heart is lulled
By sound of English throstles that install
A very England in that hallowed place.
There was a thin white road that always seemed
To beckon towards the ocean
To promise strange renewal, where of yore
A listener read an English poet, and dreamed
He heard the children play upon the shore.

* * *


There is an emerald glade of dream Where light haunts round a brimming well

So deep its source, no one can tell What hidden river feeds its stream
There is a time when evening brings The song of birds, divinely sweet, The prints of little fretted feet, The preen of sky-enchanted wings.
Here may a man his two hands cup And, leaning in a pool of shade, Drink from the bowl his need has made
And seven times seven draw water up.
But he must know a restless spell When comes the caravan of day To call him his appointed way, Nor shall he find again that well.
But ever after feel the green Dripping of fern fronds in his heart; Hear music in a place apart, Where only gentleness has been.