Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)

New Zealand Verse

page 41

New Zealand Verse

Wellington at Night.

The hills my stronghold—silence, rich and wise,
To spill a golden wisdom in the grass;
The harbour, polished by the moonlight, lies
Amid those myriad scintillating eyes,
And dreams of winds that pass.
Oh, silver moon, know you my heart is tired?
Oh, golden city-lights that gently quiver,
See, a low mist is gathering on the water,
And on my soul, as the creeping breezes shiver.
And hark! The bells….
The calm is broken by their sudden pealing.
The chiming swells;
Now rises with the wind, is stealing
To fall and echo into silence pale.
They stir the hush of evening,
Brake and clang in chaos, trail
And tumble, fade, and weep into the bosom
Of the wind. They burst and break their bond,
And dance upon the hilltops,
Mingle with the air, and sweep beyond
Into the pine trees, croon
Sigh and bury themselves
In the silver of the moon.
Below, the eye of the carillon glows,
In watchfulness o'er those who might have sinned.
The soul of the bells has left its dwelling-place,
To be laid at rest, by a kobold of a wind.

The New Zealand Warbler.

Methinks there is one way
To render back your song,
To set beside your lay
The racked world's clamant wrong.
As he who once invoked his Philomel
Within a Hampstead casement, I might sing
Of labyrinthine horrors, and the knell
That bruited forth the passing of a king;
But let me praise your lyric if I can,
Without the old device of contrast drear.
It was as if swift healing fingers ran
Along a dreamy flute, how far how
near I cannot tell. Your limpid song pervades
Like fountain melody the listening shades.
Your brittle chant has kin
To song of Ariel,
Disturbing from within
The pleasuance where you dwell.
Not yours the housled happiness that seems
The English blackbird's reverie to inform.
You are interpreter of restless dreams.
Not as the sea-birds you announce the storm,
But with an urgent sweetness do you make
Your premonition in the sunlight seem
Like sudden ripples on a silver lake.
Yet while you sing we are sustained in dream
Then with the storm you wilt, and Lo! there comes
Again the menace of Pan's bitter drums.

“The New Land.”

You made a grotto by the sea
Because you loved your English land,
You planted flowers for you—for me
You planted fern-roots in the sand.
But you were lonely by the sea
Because your eyes with love were blind,
You did not see the tussock-land
But lovely England—left behind.
I waited—hoping you would turn
And hear the bush songs tempting thee,
And answer them with joyous shout
And leave the cold unhappy sea.
I laughed with joy to see you start
When from the misty bush there fell,
A roving warbler's song of Spring
As clearly sweet as crystal bell.
A gleaming kowhai lit the gloom
And led the way from weeping sea,
New Zealand found your heart—and so
You tread the bushland tracks with me.

The Sheep Dog.

His baby plume would wave in glee
When on our walks we chanced to see
Some timid, noisy flock.
He was a scrap of tan and black—
His sire, they said, was Ayrshire Mac,
Of ancient, noble stock.
I housed him in my garden small;
At first he did not mind at all
The tameness of his home.
But as he grew in powerful grace
He grew in boredom of the place
And longed for hills to roam.
He dreamed of dogs and shouting men—
Of wise and wily sheep to pen—
Of action all the day.
Until, with bitter tear and ache,
His heritage I let him take;
He wanted it that way.


Oh, warm little hands of the sun!
Feeling your touch and your soft caresses,
I can forget all that man has done—
Forget the pain and the swift distresses
Thronging the path of the luckless one;
Nor heed the world, if it scorns or blesses.
Oh, soft little hands of the wind!
Brushing my cheeks like remembered kisses,
Breathing of love in a world unkind,
Yours is the magic of all earth's blisses,
Thrilling with music the troubled mind,
Wak'ning to beauties the sad heart misses.
Oh, cool little hands of the rain!
Stilling the fever of vain desire,
Freeing the heart from despair and pain,
Rouse me from grief, let my soul aspire,
That in my spirit may shine again,
Heatless and pure, the celestial fire.

page 42

Gold Mining in Central Otago.

(Continued from page 39.)

gold. The sand may be blown off, or the sand and gold separated by means of mercury. In this latter course the mercury is introduced into the pan. Mercury possesses the peculiar property of amalgamating with, and collecting the gold. Thus, if the pan is shaken and stirred to allow the mercury to penetrate the silt, small globules of “loaded” mercury gather, and all the gold is thus rescued. To separate the gold from the mercury, an evaporation process is required. Here again several methods are open, viz., by a retort, by a potato, by paper; with all of these, of course, heat is essential. The mercury-gold conglomerate is gathered together (usually spooned out of the pan) and put into a rag. This is rolled, and all the water squeezed from the mercury mixture. Let us use paper, as the simplest and most expedient method. The block of mercury-gold conglomerate is wrapped in a piece of paper, and put into a tin match box, in the top of which is a hole (for the double purpose of providing a grip for a poker, and of providing a vent for the evaporating mercury).

The closed tin is then put bodily into a red fire, where it remains for several minutes, after which it is removed and the gold extracted. We now examine interestedly this lump of dirty-yellowish matter. Gold!

Now is the moment when the miner excitedly dances a jig, smiles with philosophic calm, or with disdainful or despairing grimace, reveals the innermost reflections on this visible sign of the reward of his labours.

Please be it understood that this is a description of the means adopted by the individual miner in certain parts of Central Otago. There are other forms of mining—quartz reef crushing is a notable example.

On a larger scale, mining here is carried on by dredging, by elevating, by large power sluicing. But for the individual, the above descriptions cover the existing means.

You will soon know when you are in a mining area. You will see large heaps of stones—“tailings” is their name. You will see the hillsides marked and scarred with tiers upon tiers, and miles upon miles of water-races. You will see an old sod hut here, a derelict cottage there, a ruined pipe line, falling into disrepair. And should you enter into a group of miners you will at once hear such remarks as: “How was So-and-So's wash-up?” “How are you off for water?” and so on.

By their speech shall ye know them.