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Kowhai Gold

[Boyce Bowden]

At Silverstream, in Maoriland, the hours are very young;
They dance to the measure that the cascades sing,
And the gay days at Silverstream are little beads hung,
Turquoise and amber, on a fine gold strings.

page 113

The soft winds of Silverstream walk down the valley aisles
Laden with the gorse-scent and many tui tunes;
They part the sweet manuka scrub and cross the meadow miles
To frolic with a sea-wind tramping the dunes.

There are great hills at Silverstream, mysterious with trees;
Here and there a plume where the toi-toi nods;
And the green hills at Silverstream are down upon their knees—
Down upon their knees, girl, like great grim gods!

'Tis fine to feel the tall reeds against the finger-tips,
The feet dance-dancing to the white stream's strain;
For all the air of Silverstream puts music on the lips,
And all the hours of Silverstream go dancing through the brain—

Dancing through the brain, girl, and every strolling wind
Crooks a rounded elbow, inviting tired hands.
And the fragrance of Silverstream puts magic in the mind,
The sweet winds of Silverstream lead on to magic lands.

The waters of Silverstream throw lace across the stones—
Silver lace and silver spray all in the silver air!
page 114 And the valley-place of Silverstream is musical with tones,
Like an old Greek chorus on a moss-grown stair.

The hunched hills at Silverstream are ponderous with prayer,
And the incense of Silverstream is heavy round
their knees; But the white clouds at Silverstream are twining in the air,
And the swift wings at Silverstream are whirling in the breeze.

White clouds and wings, girl, joyous o'er the meads,
Slim feet and swift blood, riotous with youth,
Take the string of gold days, tell the glowing beads,
Where the streams and birds chant the litany of truth!

Wet Weather
Pools upon the pavement, round as pallid moons;
Sobs within the doorways, tears upon the pane!
High up in the housetops the cool wind croons;
The dim streets of Wellington are musical with rain!

The tramcars of Wellington go droning through the hours,
Waking fountains from the rails where rinkling rivers race;
And each is like a brown bee amid the dewy flowers,
For each is like a brown bee with dew upon its face.

page 115

And the tramcars of Wellington, the little weeping cars,
Are filled with wagging round heads, like peas within the pod;
And the wee streets of Wellington know neither sun nor stars
When Wellington is hidden in the flowing robes of God.

But the wet folk of Wellington go laughing to and fro—
Oh, every heart's a merry heart that's sheltered from the rain;
And a grey phrase whispers of the storms of long ago,
And a gay lip is singing that the wind will swing again.

The garden of the Cityside is breaking into bloom—
Shop fronts are tulip beds, and some are daffodils;
And lights like early primroses are showing 'mid the gloom
Behind the swaying curtains, above the window-sills.

The swift winds of Wellington may swing into the west,
The clouds o'er Terawhiti may break within the south;
The rain-song of Wellington will linger in my breast,
For the moist kiss of Wellington is music on my mouth!

page 116

Wellington Lights
The high hills of Wellington are like a balustrade
That the winds walk over, and the tired, dim sun;
And the weary little city is drowsing in the shade,
And the harbour lights of Wellington are waking, one by one.

The harbour-tide of Wellington is laving pier and bay,
And wrinkles are upon it, and many a flowing fold;
And the visage of the waters is very drawn and grey,
For the harbour-tide of Wellington is very, very old.

But the young lights, the bright lights, are wonderfully
Dancing from the shadows and twinkling here and there;
Like little eyes that watch the tardy passing of the day;—
Like golden slippers flashing on a dim, dark stair.

And the lights upon the steamers a-dream beside the pier!
Red lights and green lights on many an idle boat,
Beam through the cool shades marvellously clear
And blithe as the singing from a deep-sea throat!

Oh, some are ruddy rich lights, and some are sere and dim;
But each finds an echo in the dark, still wave,
And each wakes my heart to an old-time hymn,
And the harbour lights of Wellington are notes upon the stave.

page 117

And the night streets of Wellington are leading froms the sea,
Twining in and winding out like little yellow ropes;
And the street lights of Wellington are very dear to me,
And the street lights of Wellington go winding up the slopes.

Amethysts and moonstones and ilakes of polished jade,
Blended together with an old-world charm;
The city lights of Wellington are showing 'mid the shade,
A glowing heap of jewels on a negro's palm.