The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 7 (October 1, 1937.)
New Zealand Verse
New Zealand Verse
The harbour swell sucks lazily among the sea-mossed piles,
And mirrors, O! how crazily, stained hulls and smoke-dim'd tiles.
White liners swing at moorings, dark tramp to wharfside clings,
At rest from world-wide tourings; gulls dip, make shining rings.
A chain of ports life flickers on, and, as with ships at sea,
Men meet and greet, careen, are gone, to windward or to lee.
Some find calm days and tread white decks,
where sun-etched cordage plays.
And others gales, aye, woe and wrecks; go their eternal ways.
Far ports seem sweet to battered ships that buffet storm and foam,
On long and lonely ocean trips, the crews' thoughts winging home.
O'er decks awash taut rigging sings, shrill birds midge sleety skies,
The torn grey waste in anger flings its spume in red-rim'd eyes.
Yet down below the watch asleep in dreams that rest the mind,
Heed not the thudding chilly deep nor hear the screaming wind.
For they are now in Slumber Sound where catspaws lull and die,
Their souls are now Nirvana drowned, the din, mere lullaby.
But peace ashore is vainly sought without the honest mind.
It may be neither sold nor bought, yet may be your's to find.
A man's mind is like history, selects what to admit,
Thus makes its own mad mystery, then thinks bleak thoughts that fit.
This age of ours when mind may dare may change the point of view,
Make crimes of what mean virtues were, and cherish virtues new.
Success may not mean jewels rare, the holders' souls in pawn,
But men's homes free of weary care and eager for each dawn.
I have seen the spring to-day,
Dancing where the bluebells sway;
'Twas a blackbird, bold and gay,
Led me by that leafy way… .
Through the wood and o'er the hill,
Down beside a fairy rill,
Where the dewdrops sparkled still
On hyacinth and daffodil.
Primroses were growing there,
The breath of violets filled the air;
Glowing from their mossy lair,
Buttercups shone everywhere… .
Winter lingers long they say;
Still the skies are cold and grey—
But where laughing bluebells play, I have seen the spring to-day.
* * *
Hidden by the hills surrounding
Hark! an echo sounding, sounding;
'Tis the voice of falling water
'Tis the chanting of Hunua.
Here the breezes tell the Fern Trees
Songs of love so sweet and low;
Here the brown skinned youths and maidens
Roamed contented long ago.
Where the white-skinned wild Manuka
Gives its perfume to the air;
Where the Rata's bright red blossoms
Fall to earth, lie bleeding there.
* * *
What do I care that he died in honour,
Breasting the clouds, and facing the sun… .
It is nothing to me that you call him a hero,
Nothing to me when the long day is done.
I am his mother; I bore his body.
I gave him strength, and I gave him sight.
This was my son, the man you honour, Cleaving the heavens on wings of light,
Riding alone, and lapping the sunrise, Circling the earth as the dark midnight flies.
This was my son, I mourn him for ever.
Leave me alone to weep where he lies.
What do I care that a king brings laurel
Bound in a wreath to lay by his head… .
I am his mother, I come empty-handed.
Leave me alone to grieve for my dead.
* * *
The peace of autumn sunshine warmly lies
Above the glory of the dreaming flowers,
And, from the trees, a drowsy wind blows down
The falling leaves in glinting golden showers;
The dahlia's petals, rich and tawnyred,
Drift softly like a fairy's rainbow wing,
And from the rose's loveliness, there falls
The crimson treasure that the sunbeams bring
To crown her summer beauty. Every hill
Is veiled with shadows, misty-blue and cool,
And clouds, with gentle fingers, touch their sides,
And dim the radiance of each sunlit pool,
Rich scents and colours give the quiet days
A wonder and enchantment, that is near
To perfect beauty, and that shining peace
Through which there shines God's image, pure and clear.