Stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm. —Paradise Lost MAGPIES! With your mist of music fill That aloof theocracy of trees Over Towong Hill, Hand-gift of Bramh; most sacred cedars, Sanskrit-breathing cedars, From old God-mould of Asian mysteries. While we footle through our follies, led and leaders, You, birds unburdened with our plundering Blundering Banditry of trouble-breeders, Pure alkahest of happiness distil— Harboured in that sultanate of cedars Over Towong Hill. Ah! Your wonderful awaking, That half-hour before day-breaking In the season of mate-making, When suddenly it seems all the hidden host of dreams Is choral In that […]
I. This side of madness, while the flames abate, They have heaped their small belongings: tears, (Harsh in paindry)’ eyes), hunger and hate, And all their monstrous catalogue of fears. Death is the least of these—a troubled sleep Invaded by the memory of pain, So much, that even those who die still weep, And bones cry out and sinews are insane. At night the children dream, clutching the air With knotted hands … O sweet to dream of hell, Where fallen angels burn! O sweet to stare, Sleepbound, on demons! … No, their nightmares tell The day’s tale over, […]
The lone watch of the moon over mountains old. Night that is never silent, and none to hark. Down in the inky pool a fish leaps With a splash of silver light in the liquid dark. I walk the unknown ways of a foreign land. Those dose reeds whisper their secrecies, And hidden water tunes—earth’s oldest voice. What alien waif is mined among mindless these? Old, old, everything here is old. Life the intruder but so briefly stays, And the man the dreamer—soon old changeless time Will grass his ways. Fold him, spade him away. Where are they now, The […]
The apes I lead down Collins Street are weeping: seven circles they have traversed to greet me. The only traveller on the road was Dante, with sour breath and saintly logic, gaunt and concentric. ‘From the Rose in Hell that bleeds for me you are come’ he said, and the distance took him, so proud, so proud. They sing yet of that miracle in my business hours, but the wonder is worn and is gone. My dead powers. apes I lead down Collins Street, dear Dantes in reverse, you have cursed me with your blessing, and blessed me with your […]
The eyeless laborer in the night, the selfless, shapeless seed I hold, builds for its resurrection day – silent and swift and deep from sight foresees the unimagined light. This is no child with a child’s face; this has no name to name it by. Yet you and I have known it well. This is our hunter and our chase, the third who lay in our embrace. This is the strength that your arm knows, the arc of flesh that is my breast, the precise crystals of our eyes. This is the blood’s wild tree that grows; the […]
At the full face of the forest lies our little town; Do thou from thy lookout to heaven, O lory! come down. Come, charge with thy challenge of colour our thoughts cool and thin, Descend with the blood of the sunlight: O lory! come in. The clouds are away, ’tis October, the glees have begun; Thy breast has the valour of music, O passionate one! The rhythm is thine, the beloved, the unreason of Spring; How royal thy raiment! No sorrow is under thy wing. O thou of intrepid apparel, thy song is […]
Upon the burning mountain stands the palm. Deeper was its grove than the heart’s night, And hung with green the spring rose under it. Hidden in miles of leaves stood the great palm, That column of a thousand years. Too sharp, too bright burned this winter’s sun. The wind’s fine fever withered and pierced. O, time that brings us harm undoes our knowledge, dries our sap and love: upon the burning mountain burns the palm within the burning grove. ‘I am that which is not able to be whole’, says the fire: ‘and therefore I devour, seeking the absolute […]
There is a golden half-light on the hill, And the moon’s ghost above. The half-light is the time that I have still Left with my love. And the moon’s ghost is what I shall be, when Her life’s in the half-light. What shall we be a little later, then; Night, or a star in the night?
The year’s drought washed to mud in autumn rains, How flowery sweet the lost spring bursts the wood! No stay to mourn the barren summer’s dead. No darkened silence where the fallen stood. This is the hour when all the living sing Lightening their honeyed silks along the air, Mad with the clean sun and the shining world, Knowing this bright, brief moment all their share Of lengthening day and slow warm summer fruiting. Feeling already how the heart-beat fails Where coldly lifts above the southern skyline The first blue wing-tip of the winter gales. Nan McDonald (1921 – […]
I had expected the dumb scorn of the world. Seeing that I had chosen to decline the wine cups and the proffered hands of the world, and even disgraced myself in the eyes of love coming cynically with dollars and gum. I am not such a fool but I should have been prepared To meet the averted long silence of friends.
Embryonic snarls herald in lover’s ear; panther and viper like a traveller coming leafing the ice channels of winter roads. with the warm and wired pattern of their bloods. As it were, the eye locates its zoo and the new captives catch old echoes, reprint the stamp of “very good” at school. and cages now crestfallen eagles are, the bars of wings huddled to the side, and the limp glint of lidless eye. curses the fingers of passersby whose torments of cheap peanuts shower the bird’s heart like bullets. The amorous alligator, glutted with lust, sinks its breast in the […]
Not publication by the earnest few Of altruistic lives and shining deeds. Nor probing of the passions and their creeds. Not Freudian analysis to see The secret cause, why blood burnt white with rage And bone and muscle fought to turn a page. Not vague memorials, with bordered grass Lapping the white, commemorative walls Nor gilded tablets hung in village halls. Not one of these shall bring the nameless back From distant graves, where each forever lies Watching the earth with brave, unselfish eyes.