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Kowhai Gold

[D. M. Ross]

page 124

The Shining Cuckoo
So you have come across the pathless skies,
Dear migrant messenger, ordained to bring
Greeting from other lands to our young Spring
Here blinking sunbeams from his dewy eyes.
The year has not forgotten, æon-wise,
The bird that comes on swift and punctual wing
The first green hour with votive offering
To the old carol-haunted tree's surprise.

I listen to your song and I am old
As infant wonder in the eyes of Eve
Seeing young Adam on the Eden sod
Beaming his wonder back that in such mould
One spirit had the daring to conceive
Woman and Spring—twin harmonies of God.

Upon our island's low and level sand,
Where past the coral reef the swift tides run,
Notching a foolish stick for every sun,
With a half-eager and half-hopeless hand,
I saw the ghost of a rude sailor stand,
Haggard, unkempt and utterly undone—
Trapped like a gnat within a gossamer spun
Around the horns, as cynic Fate had planned.

Are we no more to Fate than a voice heard
Calling the æons by creation's wheel;
page 125 No more, no more to Time than a midge slain
Within a sunbeam by a migrant bird,
Or than a star, crunched under God's great heel,
Glimmering to darkness in the vast Inane?

The Flight
Day after day I saw them gathering
From all along the desolated tide—
Fleet-winged old kuakas on pinions tried
And strong young birds on still unproven wing.
Day after day—and then not anything
But empty air and ocean vast and wide,
I knowing only how my heart had cried
At their so seeming treason to the Spring.

Here Had They Nested; On This Tawny Shore
They Raced Between The Foam Lines On The Sand
Then Flew To Arctic Summer From The South.
I Heard Them Pause; Heard, Too, The Waves Deplore
The Disavowed And Solitary Land—
The Sea-Rime Raw And Bitter In My Mouth.