The Poems Of Henry Kendall - novelonlinefull.com
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I cannot tell what change hath come to you To vex your splendid hair. I only know _One_ grief. The pa.s.sion left betwixt us two, Like some forsaken watchfire, burneth low.
'Tis sad to turn and find it dying so, Without a hope of resurrection! Yet, O radiant face that found me tired and lone!
I shall not for the dear, dead past forget The sweetest looks of all the summers gone.
Ah! time hath made familiar wild regret; For now the leaves are white in last year's bowers, And now doth sob along the ruined leas The homeless storm from saddened southern seas, While March sits weeping over withered flowers.
The silvery dimness of a happy dream I've known of late. Methought where Byron moans, Like some wild gulf in melancholy zones, I pa.s.sed tear-blinded. Once a lurid gleam Of stormy sunset loitered on the sea, While, travelling troubled like a straitened stream, The voice of Sh.e.l.ley died away from me.
Still sore at heart, I reached a lake-lit lea.
And then the green-mossed glades with many a grove, Where lies the calm which Wordsworth used to love, And, lastly, Locksley Hall, from whence did rise A haunting song that blew and breathed and blew With rare delights. 'Twas _there_ I woke and knew The sumptuous comfort left in drowsy eyes.
-- * Sutherland: Forby Sutherland, one of Captain Cook's seamen, who died shortly after the _Endeavour_ anch.o.r.ed in Botany Bay, 1770.
He was the first Englishman buried in Australia.
All night long the sea out yonder--all night long the wailful sea, Vext of winds and many thunders, seeketh rest unceasingly!
Seeketh rest in dens of tempest, where, like one distraught with pain, Shouts the wild-eyed sprite, Confusion--seeketh rest, and moans in vain: Ah! but you should hear it calling, calling when the haggard sky Takes the darks and damps of Winter with the mournful marsh-fowl's cry; Even while the strong, swift torrents from the rainy ridges come Leaping down and breaking backwards--million-coloured shapes of foam!
Then, and then, the sea out yonder chiefly looketh for the boon Portioned to the pleasant valleys and the grave sweet summer moon: Boon of Peace, the still, the saintly spirit of the dew-dells deep-- Yellow dells and hollows haunted by the soft, dim dreams of sleep.
All night long the flying water breaks upon the stubborn rocks-- Ooze-filled forelands burnt and blackened, smit and scarred with lightning shocks; But above the tender sea-thrift, but beyond the flowering fern, Runs a little pathway westward--pathway quaint with turn on turn-- Westward trending, thus it leads to shelving sh.o.r.es and slopes of mist: Sleeping sh.o.r.es, and gla.s.sy bays of green and gold and amethyst!
_There_ tread gently--_gently_, pilgrim; _there_ with thoughtful eyes look round; Cross thy breast and bless the silence: lo, the place is holy ground!
Holy ground for ever, stranger! All the quiet silver lights Dropping from the starry heavens through the soft Australian nights-- Dropping on those lone grave-gra.s.ses--come serene, unbroken, clear, Like the love of G.o.d the Father, falling, falling, year by year!
Yea, and like a Voice supernal, _there_ the daily wind doth blow In the leaves above the sailor buried ninety years ago.
A heap of low, dark, rocky coast, Unknown to foot or feather!
A sea-voice moaning like a ghost; And fits of fiery weather!
The flying Syrinx turned and sped By dim, mysterious hollows, Where night is black, and day is red, And frost the fire-wind follows.
Strong, heavy footfalls in the wake Came up with flights of water: The G.o.ds were mournful for the sake Of Ladon's lovely daughter.
For when she came to spike and spine, Where reef and river gather, Her feet were sore with sh.e.l.l and chine; She could not travel farther.
Across a naked strait of land Blown sleet and surge were humming; But trammelled with the shifting sand, She heard the monster coming!
A thing of hoofs and horns and l.u.s.t: A gaunt, goat-footed stranger!
She bowed her body in the dust And called on Zeus to change her;
And called on Hermes, fair and fleet, And her of hounds and quiver, To hide her in the thickets sweet That sighed above the river.
So he that sits on flaming wheels, And rules the sea and thunder, Caught up the satyr by the heels And tore his skirts asunder.
While Arcas, of the glittering plumes, Took Ladon's daughter lightly, And set her in the gracious glooms That mix with moon-mist nightly;
And touched her lips with wild-flower wine, And changed her body slowly, Till, in soft reeds of song and shine, Her life was hidden wholly.
On the Paroo
-- * The name of a watercourse, often dry, which in flood-time reaches the river Darling.
As when the strong stream of a wintering sea Rolls round our coast, with bodeful breaks of storm, And swift salt rain, and bitter wind that saith Wild things and woeful of the White South Land Alone with G.o.d and silence in the cold-- As when this cometh, men from dripping doors Look forth, and shudder for the mariners Abroad, so we for absent brothers looked In days of drought, and when the flying floods Swept boundless; roaring down the bald, black plains Beyond the farthest spur of western hills.
For where the Barwon cuts a rotten land, Or lies unshaken, like a great blind creek, Between hot mouldering banks, it came to this, All in a time of short and thirsty sighs, That thirty rainless months had left the pools And gra.s.s as dry as ashes: then it was Our kinsmen started for the lone Paroo, From point to point, with patient strivings, sheer Across the horrors of the windless downs, Blue gleaming like a sea of molten steel.
But never drought had broke them: never flood Had quenched them: they with mighty youth and health, And thews and sinews knotted like the trees-- _They_, like the children of the native woods, Could stem the strenuous waters, or outlive The crimson days and dull, dead nights of thirst Like camels: yet of what avail was strength Alone to them--though it was like the rocks On stormy mountains--in the b.l.o.o.d.y time When fierce sleep caught them in the camps at rest, And violent darkness gripped the life in them And whelmed them, as an eagle unawares Is whelmed and slaughtered in a sudden snare.
All murdered by the blacks; smit while they lay In silver dreams, and with the far, faint fall Of many waters breaking on their sleep!
Yea, in the tracts unknown of any man Save savages--the dim-discovered ways Of footless silence or unhappy winds-- The wild men came upon them, like a fire Of desert thunder; and the fine, firm lips That touched a mother's lips a year before, And hands that knew a dearer hand than life, Were hewn--a sacrifice before the stars, And left with hooting owls and blowing clouds, And falling leaves and solitary wings!
Aye, you may see their graves--you who have toiled And tripped and thirsted, like these men of ours; For, verily, I say that _not_ so deep Their bones are that the scattered drift and dust Of gusty days will never leave them bare.
O dear, dead, bleaching bones! I know of those Who have the wild, strong will to go and sit Outside all things with you, and keep the ways Aloof from bats, and snakes, and trampling feet That smite your peace and theirs--who have the heart, Without the l.u.s.ty limbs, to face the fire And moonless midnights, and to be, indeed, For very sorrow, like a moaning wind In wintry forests with perpetual rain.
Because of this--because of sisters left With desperate purpose and dishevelled hair, And broken breath, and sweetness quenched in tears-- Because of swifter silver for the head, And furrows for the face--because of these That should have come with age, that come with pain-- O Master! Father! sitting where our eyes Are tired of looking, say for once are we-- Are _we_ to set our lips with weary smiles Before the bitterness of Life and Death, And call it honey, while we bear away A taste like wormwood?
Turn thyself, and sing-- Sing, Son of Sorrow! Is there any gain For breaking of the loins, for melting eyes, And knees as weak as water?--any peace, Or hope for casual breath and labouring lips, For clapping of the palms, and sharper sighs Than frost; or any light to come for those Who stand and mumble in the alien streets With heads as grey as Winter?--any balm For pleading women, and the love that knows Of nothing left to love?
They sleep a sleep Unknown of dreams, these darling friends of ours.
And we who taste the core of many tales Of tribulation--we whose lives are salt With tears indeed--we therefore hide our eyes And weep in secret, lest our grief should risk The rest that hath no hurt from daily racks Of fiery clouds and immemorial rains.
Faith in G.o.d