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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1935

Another Argo

Another Argo

Under this attractive title come three poems from the Caxton Club Press—producers of the historic "Oriflamme."

Opening the group with "Doom at Sunrise" Allen Curnow somewhat elusively runs through four stanzas typical of him. The poem reaches, at its best, quite epic heights—

the poised peaks will not fall on us
the folded wings of rock not cover us
in this our day of doom striking.

But elsewhere his common fault recurs, of leaving too much to those colossal terms pain, fire, birth, love, beauty. Up to a point these will convey, in half a line, more than a chapter's length of common prose; yet relied on too much they turn conciseness into mere abstraction.

A rather pitiful lament arises from A. R. D. Fairburn, who, noting the decay of England, writhes in sarcastic verse. With little or no feeling for the inevitability of things he pines for crusading days and roving knights. Eminently entertaining withal, he nevertheless plies his pen in vain except for Fascists.

With pleasing directness Denis Glover condenses an almost fatalist philosophy into the space of a brief poem:

When all the world is bombed to pungent dust
The earth will conquer and the quiet moss grow.

With simple phrase and unextravagant metaphor he reveals a new "peace on earth"—when devastation's work is done. Yet this unpeopled world he paints so warmly that, after the jangle and the pain of our twentieth-century days, one might well see in this a longed-for consummation. The humanist almost defeats his purpose.

Leo Bensemann contributes a frontispiece—"Another Argo's painted prow." In keeping with the lines of Yeats it is indeed a flashy bauble, brilliant in execution, yet so plainly derivative from the work of Beardsley that the merit of its conception can hardly be appreciated.