The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)
New Zealand Verse
Tradition lay behind them,
Adventure lay ahead,
They followed old tradition
Out where adventure led.
Gaily those gallant dreamers
Sailed out into the blue,
In search of new horizons
And making dreams come true.
The stately old windjammers
Held southward for the line,
To winds of chance they trusted
Forebears of yours and mine.
O'er lonely seas they voyaged
To lonely lands they came,
And to a southern harbour
They gave a British name.
From bush-clad wildernesses
Founded a newer home,
And dainty fernleaf emblems
For those who ever roam.
They fought the stubborn Maori,
New lands were broke for corn,
And by their high endeavour
Then was Dominion born.
Strange marks upon a parchment,
Peace with the Maori folk,
The Maori as a brother
Within an Empire's cloak.
Still keeping old traditions
Our forebears turned a page,
And out of Isles of Romance
They built our heritage.
They bred the men called Anzacs,
Who journeyed with the light
To make historic landings
And keep this honour bright.
On us now falls the mantle
The trust of heritage,
To hold with grace and honour
Until we leave the stage.
The pansies washed their faces in the softly falling rain,
And roses nodded grateful thanks against my window-pane.
'Twas but a passing shower, but it cooled the heated air,
Till perfume from the breath of flowers was wafted everywhere.
A busy spider in the hedge, stopped spinning cobweb lace
And hastened down a silken thread, to find a sheltered place.
A butterfly sought cover in a poppy's heart o’ flame,
And over all the raindrops danced—I wonder whence they came?
But soon they ceased to patter on the roof-top and the ground,
Till thrushes in my garden fluted joyfully with sound.
I watched the sun peep shyly forth, a warm breeze passed me by
And then I saw the fairies place—a rainbow in the sky.
* * *
Who fences in a farm we deem
His acres held inviolate;
And builds a steading beam by beam
Has home and living consecrate.
Yes, consecrate by all the vows
Ambition, young, commands at whim;
Inviolate as man allows
And God ordains to humour him.
With axe and fire he carves a place,
With post and wire he marks it in
While Time, too germinal for grace
Is urgent in him to begin.
His cows are sired toward a herd,
His ewes are lambed unto a flock,
And hope aroused or hope deferred
Springs from the sale-yard price of stock.
The stumping done, his plough is set
In ups and downs of fearful toil,
And pride that comes or shrugged regret
Is blamed on season, pest or soil.
Comes grass or hay, lucerne or roots,
Come cheques for butterfat or wool,
Twice mortgaged, in those calloused boots
There stands no ordinary fool.
No fool is he whose wares take ship
In rattling can or swollen bale,
Whose craft return with Factory slip
Or Bank slip in the Rural Mail.
And wife he has (dear God, these wives
Are more than wives!) to share his lot
In pastures green while many lives
Break blossom in their garden plot.
Her hands are young as yours, in truth;
They gave their velvet to receive
The cornland mark and etch of Ruth
Twixt candle-morn and lamp-lit eve.
She shall grow old while you grow old,
But not in your proportioned ease,
For vital forces here shall mould
Life's meaning on her, and God please.
Epitome of work! No day
Whereon they neither toil nor spin;
Arrayed not as the lilies—say,
Are hills enrobed in grass not kin?
Then night comes down: a sheer duress
Of sleep o'er-burdens flesh and soul
While music speaks, but weariness
Now robs them of the life made whole.
To-morrow's wan cold winter blight,
To-morrow's dust and summer glow,
To-morrow's wax and wane, its night
Must find these twain with work to show.
These are a Country's noble strength,
Descendents these of Abraham;
Forswear them not, because, at length:
“Where soil is delved,” cries God, “I Am.”