The Spike or Victoria University College Review October 1915
Votary whose shrine is the dim twilight,
Mother of evening, taking in your lap
The infant stars so feebly yet enkindled,
Nursing their fire to concentrated flame,
My sacred priestess, can I help remember
The way you led me one divinest eve,
When all the herald freshness of the dew,
Distilled on faded rows of tattered pinks
In city yards, did pilot through the airs
That brushed our face, and your voice circled me.
And as we walked the meadow grass, behold
The thistle's pallid down begemmed our feet,
And every drop that leapt the shredded waterfall
Resounded in its sphere with phantom bells
A-swinging in a gallery of dreams.
We loitered on the stern cliff's ragged edge;
I have a vision now of the wide sea
That turned her ripples to the laughing moon.
It was the landscape of another world,—
Wave after wave like grass before the wind
Rolled on to break in flowering beds of foam,
White lily stoles and bleaching daisy stars,
And snowdrops that resolved themselves to pearls,
All sweetly blooming in a bed of tears.
A fairer garden earth has never seen,
And yet how soon to fade! How soon to die!
How soon to melt upon the languorous air
And vanish from the changeful eye of night,
As if it were a dream too spiritual,
Too sensitive and fragile not to shrivel
At a touch from that dark ruthless hand
Whose clutches would extinguish moon and stars.
For now the wild beat chiller, and a boding sound
Rose from the hollow caves that once did greet
The waves with a reverberating welcome
From their echoing roofs. "Ah, evening's mother,
Leave me not, fold round my trembling form
Your pitying arms," I cried, "and me revive."
The shrill winds cooed and laughed in mocking answer,
The face of Night robbed of her kindly eyes
Seemed dark and pitiless. I stumbled on
Among the hills whose sides were rougher now.
And stretched wild hands into the foggy dark,
If by some chance they might find rest in yours,
But they would only strike the cutting gorse
Or beat upon the drear manuka bush.
And so night blackened on till morning came,
And with the morning rose a whisper song,
Elusive, evanescent, touched with hope
As by the dim foretelling of a Son of Man.
Hark to the brush of sea-birds' fleet wings
Among the rocks where the wild sea flings
Eerie arms to the distant sky
For those who must drown and die.
And the soft lisp of morning's young leaves,
Inspired by a wind which half believes
Them her children, and croons a song
That cannot be sad for long.
There is a whisper softer than these.
It comes and goes with the fitful breeze,
Like the pulse of a subtle thought
That wakes in a mind untaught.
Fair evening, tender evening, come again!
What polished moons have hung a cold half-circle,
What moons have mellowed to a disc of fire,
What stars have nightly strung a beaded pathway
Across the dazzling bosom of the sky
Since last I sang to hear that chastened whisper!
Evening's mother, was it my own sorrow
Did cast a silent curtain on my soul
That could eclipse the music of your voice,
And were the visions there if eyes could see them,
And your sweet symphonies for hearkening ears?
So deep a silence we wrap round our spirits,
Love's voice can wake in us no sweet response;
So dark the mind can shutter its own windows,
The forms of Heaven pass by invisible.