The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 10 (January 2, 1939)
New Zealand Verse
New Zealand Verse
The roads that run, criss-cross, around the world,
Bearing unending loads with endless calm,
Bannered with joyous memories unfurled
Whose reminiscence brings to tired souls balm:
These roads can show a harvest which no farm
Or gorgeous garden, snug round its abode,
Can grant to gleaners fenced from all alarm;
Such may not reap the yield of open road.
Bare you must go, small pulse within your scrip.
(But, oh! the glories of the moonlit hills.)
Light purse—light heart! Sweetness of chance-found lip
Shall be your anodyne for worldly ills:
Brightness of vagrant eye your unease stills.
Joy for the sunshine, fortitude for loads,
Patience with well-meant charity that chills:
So shall you garner sheaves along the roads.
When, toward the journey's end you sit and dream,
(See, in the embers how the trails unfold.)
Friends shall step down—by bush or hill or stream,
Trysted from time-worn tracks—they ne'er grow old.
Again with one you feel the Arctic cold,
And, with another, watch the crowd that showed
Black on the flood-lit streets in days of gold ….
Glad gleanings from the harvest of the road.
Princess! Come, leave the fatted soul of things, Break with the fetish of the tithings owed.
Taste vagabondage sweet, around which clings Full fragrance of the harvest of the road.
* * *
The holiness of lillies is on her breast,
The daffodils make glad her feet
Where here she lies,
The singer, beneath the lark-enraptured skies.
She seems to rest,
Yet is she not withheld from pilgrimage,
To look upon the last consummate Rose.
She sang the valley of Rhona
That trembles never to the march of day—
Rhona the timeless whose twilight
Hears a new voice, whose gray
Enfolds the lost, the pilgrim gentleness.
Her sleep abides
Among the forms of peace, the grass, the trees,
For she was one with these
In quietness, and the larks, the larks her long
Dreaming roof with song.
* * *
Suggested by last phrases in Rupert
Brooke's hand, quoted in the Memoir by E.N.
“Nothing remains,” he wrote, and yet we hear
How like spread grain those volumes multiply,
Those slender tokens of his empyry
Among the dawn-crowned of this latter year.
His written canon holds. It need not fear
Oblivion's courtesy. He shall not die.
In those young hearts that seed shall fructify.
Day that he loved to them shall be most dear;
But we to whom his legend brings the thought
Of other broken shafts, of books unwrit
Of senates unaddressed, of suits unfought,
Con those authentic phrases all unknit
To any fabric, and the breath is caught,
As if the Aegean sighed “The waste of it.”
* * *
I heard a quiet tapping on the path,
I heard a quiet laugh,
I turned to see him smiling on a child,
A blind man with his staff.
I watched him as he shuffled on his way,
The child tossed her head,
He could not see her curls, yet heard
The pretty thing she said.
I wondered at the trust she showed in him,
That child who blessed the day,
I wondered how that man deprived of sight,
Could tell where danger lay.
And after they were lost within the crowd,
I saw myself anew,
I saw then how misfortune and the times
When pain had come were few.
What right had I to feel depressed and worn,
To feel so much in need?
What right when one with sightless eyes could laugh?
—That sight had sown a seed.