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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 3, No. 1. 1940

Literary Columns

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Literary Columns



From splintered green of forest depths
rise cloud-nymphs dancing their eternal ballet, swift and graceful,
an invocation to the Sky-God.

White-laced seas clad in grey satin
shot with deep-sea green
applaud with thunderous roar beneath the pale grey dome.

But aloof and disdainful
intent upon their own delight
the cloud-nymphs rise and sway and fall,
embrace, and flee,
weaving and interweaving intricate patterns of a formal dance
in grace that, effortless and true,
holds all the magic of the hidden sky.


Dark Victory (adapted from Saroyan).

In front, to my left, to my right, behind, unseen spinsters are sniffling. A tear flashes. Bette Davis, screen idol of millions, almost blind, has staggered up the stairs. You know what's going to happen - she knows\- Hollywood knows - it's well- known....but they still sniffle.

A fiendish "toomer", which the doctor discovered before the married her, is the cause. The scene is their backblocks home, where he romantically plays Pasteur. But could Romance go on? No; tragedy must have its way.

Little Bette Davis has staggered up the stairs. She can't see! The "toomer" is blinding her. Alone in her despair, she closes the door. For her sake, for her husband's sake, for God's sake, for your sake and my sake, she's got to do it. More sniffles.

What's happening? Ah, the old servant opens the door. She goes in, and millions of us in the rest of the world, all go in. Thank God it's not done yet. Mournful music dirges as the old servant leaves. Darkness! Little Bette Davis, about to quit the world, is praying. Symphonic music and sniffles! I am nearly drenched by the enthusiastic orgy of the female on my right. Then it is the end; a merciful Hollywood has released us from the ordeal of being in at the death

D. M. S.

Diary of a Passenger on an Atlantic Liner: "Last night took a blue pill. This morning passed an iceberg".

Book Review.

Day and Night (Caxton Press) seems to be the most original verse (I feel like saying poetry) written in this country in recent years. The words are clear, musical, and replet with new and beautiful ideas. The forms are harmonious and well modulated, and are used to express thoughts of a splendid maturity.

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The quacking clowns
Escort the intelligent sheep
With a bloodless grin
At the barbed [unclear: fences]

White rippled thighs
Decked with dead tinsel
Essay delicate evolutions
In the billowing roof

Chair and sharp whip
Mock the li the brute
The lovely tiger springs
Through the fire-ringed hoop

Remembering his emblems gouged on the tree-trunk,
The omnipotent and the contorted animal,
Desiring the obscene embraces of the vampire,
The precocious adult,
Dulled by the commandments of his father's father,
Laughs insecurely,
And applauds with sincerity the dappled horse.

You may remember their admiration,
You whom we stupidly quicken with life,
When the blind forces whirl into unity.
And you shell not being to dream
Until the wire-walked fails at the command performance,
The tricks of the conjurer are penetrated by children,
And the last absurd elephant excreting,
Is led ponderously from the trampled ring.


Spring Snow and Tui.

We said: there will surely be hawthorn out
down in the sun-holding folds of the sea;
but suddenly snow had forestalled the thorns there,
death-white and cold on their boughs hung the festival wreaths.

It is all one. The same hand scatters the blossoms
of winter and spring-time. The black-robed psalmodist,
traversing swiftly the silent landscape like Azrael,
echoed in clear repetition his well-tuned antiphon;
a waking bugle it might be, a passing bell,
of life, death, life, life telling: it is all one.

From Day and Night (Caxton Press)

The peculiar people who think that sexuality
Is an abnormality,
Invariably speak with great abhorrence
Of the works of D.H. Lawrence,


Book Review.

Oriflamme - A literary journal of youth and the fine arts,so runs the title of this new ship on the troubled waters of literature. If it maintains the interest which has been stimulated by the first issue, it will be a valuable addition to the small list of New Zealand periodicals featuring original verse and prose. Copies may be obtained free on application to the editor, 27 Bowen street, and contributions of verse or prose will be welcomed.