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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1924

Laus Montium

Laus Montium

O'er the sunken harbour that once a sun-swept grassland
Raised its head to heaven, now the long tides surge and sweep;
Troubled are the waters that break beyond Pencarrow,
Stinging stilly rock-pools from their silent summer's sleep.
Misty loom the mailboats, slow steaming up the roadstead;
Eerily gaunt cranes grope out and swing their arms cloud high;
Swirling o'er the grey mist there comes a storm-black blanket,
Blotting earth and heaven, swift enshrouding sea and sky.

Now the storm-rent velvet veils dim the hills from vision,
Hills where I have loitered through long, lilting summer days,
Climbing to their summits, and turning, far below me,
Lo, realm on realm of ocean beyond the breaking bays.
See, they gather round me, they burst the black frost curtain,
Rough and frozen winter has drawn o'er their dreamless case,
League on league of wonder, the stars that shine above them
Call my heart a-leaping from their lapping, crooning seas—

Kapakapanui, the snow-clad Tararuas,
Orongorongo hills, and the hills that look away
Across the Southern Ocean, where Tapuaenuku
Leans and lures and beckons from Oterongu Bay.
These still I see ice-pale as once of old I saw them,
Grandly then aloof they stood against the arching sky;
Now this I know full well, where circling mists enfold them,
All grander and lonelier they watch the summer die.

Fuji-Yama, Everest, Hills of the Buried Land,
Kenya, Karakoram, the Mountains of the Moon,
Calling in the twilight clear from a serried strand,
Lined Avith hills of morning and afire with gold at noon.
Cold and grey your Southern day drifts o'er your tree-tossed hills,
Rude and blind your viking wind rides bare from Polar skies,
Far away your blowing spray steals from the storm and stills;
Sail behind where straggle-lined the summering swallow flies.

We have builded our camp in the wilderness while the stars marched over the hills of night;
What matter the dearth or the day's duress so we flinched no summit, but held it light.
There are hills afar in the Happy Isles, and care is fled in the stranger seas,
But dearer the call of the winding miles of the hills of home than their tropic ease.