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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 47

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Chaotic crags are huddled east and west-- Dark, heavy crags, against a straitened sea That cometh, like a troubled soul in quest Of voiceless rest where never dwelleth rest, With noise "like thunder everlasting."

But here, behold a silent s.p.a.ce of sand!-- Oh, pilgrim, halt!--it even seems to be _Asleep in other years_. How still! How grand!

How awful in its wild solemnity!

_This_ is the spot on which the Chief did land, And there, perchance, he stood what time a band Of yelling strangers scoured the savage lea.

Dear friend, with thoughtful eyes look slowly round-- By all the sacred Past 'tis sacred ground.



IV

Sutherland's Grave

'Tis holy ground! The silent silver lights And darks undreamed of, falling year by year Upon his sleep, in soft Australian nights, Are joys enough for him who lieth here So sanctified with Rest. We need not rear The storied monument o'er such a spot!

That soul, the first for whom the Christian tear Was shed on Austral soil, hath heritage Most ample! Let the ages wane with age, The gra.s.s which clothes _this_ grave shall wither not.

See yonder quiet lily! Have the blights Of many winters left it on a faded tomb?*

Oh, peace! Its fellows, glad with green delights, Shall gather round it deep eternal bloom!

* A wild lily grows on the spot supposed to be Sutherland's grave.--H.K.

To Henry Halloran

You know I left my forest home full loth, And those weird ways I knew so well and long, Dishevelled with their sloping sidelong growth Of twisted thorn and kurrajong.

It seems to me, my friend (and this wild thought Of all wild thoughts, doth chiefly make me bleed), That in those hills and valleys wonder-fraught, I loved and lost a n.o.ble creed.

A splendid creed! But let me even turn And hide myself from what I've seen, and try To fathom certain truths you know, and learn The Beauty shining in your sky:

Remembering you in ardent autumn nights, And Stenhouse near you, like a fine stray guest Of other days, with all his lore of lights So manifold and manifest!

Then hold me firm. I cannot choose but long For that which lies and burns beyond my reach, Suggested in your steadfast, subtle song And his most marvellous speech!

For now my soul goes drifting back again, Ay, drifting, drifting, like the silent snow While scattered sheddings, in a fall of rain, Revive the dear lost Long Ago!

The time I, loitering by untrodden fens, Intent upon low-hanging l.u.s.trous skies, Heard mellowed psalms from sounding southern glens-- Euroma, dear to dreaming eyes!

And caught seductive tokens of a voice Half maddened with the dim, delirious themes Of perfect Love, and the immortal choice Of starry faces--Astral dreams!

That last was yours! And if you sometimes find An alien darkness on the front of things, Sing none the less for Life, nor fall behind, Like me, with trailing, tired wings!

Yea, though the heavy Earth wears sackcloth now Because she hath the great prophetic grief Which makes me set my face one way, and bow And falter for a far belief,

Be faithful yet for all, my brave bright peer, In that rare light you hold so true and good; And find me something clearer than the clear White s.p.a.ces of Infinitude.

Lost in the Flood

When G.o.d drave the ruthless waters From our cornfields to the sea, Came she where our wives and daughters Sobbed their thanks on bended knee.

Hidden faces! there ye found her Mute as death, and staring wild At the shadow waxing round her Like the presence of her child-- Of her drenched and drowning child!

Dark thoughts live when tears won't gather; Who can tell us what she felt?

It was human, O my Father, If she blamed Thee while she knelt!

Ever, as a benediction Fell like balm on all and each, Rose a young face whose affliction Choked and stayed the founts of speech-- Stayed and shut the founts of speech!

Often doth she sit and ponder Over gleams of happy hair!

How her white hands used to wander, Like a flood of moonlight there!

Lord--our Lord! Thou know'st her weakness: Give her faith that she may pray; And the subtle strength of meekness, Lest she falter by the way-- Falter, fainting, by the way!

"Darling!" saith she, wildly moaning Where the gra.s.s-grown silence lies, "Is there rest from sobs and groaning-- Rest with you beyond the skies?

Child of mine, so far above me!

Late it waxeth--dark and late; Will the love with which I love thee, Lift me where you sit and wait-- Darling! where you sit and wait?"

Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Four

I hear no footfall beating through the dark, A lonely gust is loitering at the pane; There is no sound within these forests stark Beyond a splash or two of sullen rain;

But you are with us! and our patient land Is filled with long-expected change at last, Though we have scarce the heart to lift a hand Of welcome, after all the yearning past!

Ah! marvel not; the days and nights were long And cold and dull and dashed with many tears; And lately there hath been a doleful song, Of "Mene, Mene," in our restless ears!

Indeed, we've said, "The royal son of Time, Whose feet will shortly cross our threshold floor, May lead us to those outer heights sublime Our Sires have sold their lives to see before!

We'll follow him! Beyond the waves and wrecks Of years fulfilled, some fine results must lie; We'll pa.s.s the last of all wild things that vex The pale, sad face of our Humanity!"

But now our fainting feet are loth to stray From trodden paths; our eyes with pain are blind!

We've lost fair treasures by the weary way; We cry, like children, to be left behind.

Our human speech is dim. Yet, latest born Of G.o.d's Eternity, there came to me, In saddened streets last week, from lips forlorn A sound more solemn than the sleepless sea!

O, Rachael! Rachael! We have heard the cries In Rama, stranger, o'er our darling dead; And seen our mothers with the heavy eyes, Who would not hearken to be comforted!

Then lead us gently! It must come to pa.s.s That some of us shall halt and faint and fall; For we are looking through a darkened gla.s.s, And Heaven seems far, and faith grows cold and pale.

I know, for one, I need a subtle strength I have not yet to hold me from a fall; What time I cry to G.o.d within the length Of weary hours; my face against the wall!

My mourning brothers! in the long, still nights, When sleep is wilful, and the lone moon shines, Bethink you of the silent, silver lights, And darks with Death amongst the moody pines!

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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 47 summary

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