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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 1 (April 1, 1940)



Black bank against the sky and pungent smell of burning;
The heat and hush of danger drawing near!
And from the undergrowth, wild panic-stricken creatures
Flee blindly, maddened by instinctive fear,
Before the onrush of that blistering inferno
That flies from tree to tree on lightning wings,
Leaving behind, a blackened trail of desolation
Where green quietude once harboured living things.
Proudly those virgin trees stood, arms upstretched to Heaven,
Their gowns in springtime with clematis starred.
Now—prone and pitiful, in shroud of drifting ashes—
Or standing gaunt, despoiled, their beauty marred.
Silenced the brown-owl's hoot from dim and shadowed branches;
The busy hum round wild-bees’ honeyed store.
And sweet, wild, ringing notes of tufted tuis—
By vandal's hands are stilled for evermore.