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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 3 (June 1, 1939)

Song of Durse

Song of Durse.

You are swept by the call of the Greeks
For a new thing,
Sorry master.
You are cowed by the bezom that seeks
For a wasp's sting
In the plaster.
And the songs I proposed for your claribel dwindle and die,
For a prophet hath risen who passes our melodies by.
His verse is a fevered mosaic of bits and of ends
From the slag-heap of sapience. Potsherd with amethyst blends,
And his rhythms are tuned to the girding of ratchet and rod
Or the syncopate cough of exhaust; but you dither and nod
At the thought incandescent. You mow at the sizzle and spark,
But I, Durse, await you without in the cool and the dark.
I am still as a cairn. I am fey as a pondering faun.
Oh, let me come into your eyrie and play lepracaun.
You have spurned our old songs for the dread
Of a new scorn,
Sorry master.
There's a load of ellipses instead
On a wheel borne
Ever faster.
But you follow the press as they puddle the future to shape
Lest they lift a compassionate brow at the song of “escape.”
Still, I bide your good moment. I dwell in the casual call
Of a bird you might name as a throstle by sedge-way and wall
That tells of a matter which never aforetime was known
Till it came to your ears. I dwell in the touch and the tone
Of the wood acquiescent that housels the sentient strings
Of a maestro's viola. I light on the tendril that clings
To the casement at dusk. I dwell in the dewy reverse
Of the frond and the blade, in the hawthorn at noon. I am Durse.