A Nervous Governor-General

We read in the press that Lord Northcote is here
To take up Lord Tennyson's mission.
'Tis pleasant to find they have sent us a Peer,
And a man of exalted position.
It's his business to see that the Radical horde
From loyalty's path does not swerve us;
But his tastes, and the task, don't seem quite in accord
For they say that His Lordship is nervous.
Does he think that wild animals walk in the street,
Where the wary marsupial is hopping?
Does he think that the snake and the platypus meet


A Myth

A FLOATING, a floating
Across the sleeping sea,
All night I heard a singing bird
Upon the topmast tree.

“Oh, came you from the isles of Greece
Or from the banks of Seine;
Or off some tree in forests free,
Which fringe the western main?”

“I came not off the old world
Nor yet from off the new—
But I am one of the birds of God
Which sing the whole night through.”

“Oh, sing and wake the dawning—
Oh, whistle for the wind;
The night is long, the current strong,


A Musician's Wife

Between the visits to the shock ward
The doctors used to let you play
On the old upright Baldwin
Donated by a former patient
Who is said to be quite stable now.

And all day long you played Chopin,
Badly and hauntingly, when you weren't
Screaming on the porch that looked
Like an enormous birdcage. Or sat
In your room and stared out at the sky.

You never looked at me at all.
I used to walk down to where the bus stopped
Over the hill where the eucalyptus trees
Moved in the fog, and stared down


A Mother Gazes Upon Her Daughter

Is she not lovely! Oh! when, long ago,
My own dead mother gazed upon my face,
As I stood blushing near in bridal snow,
I had not half her beauty and her grace.

Yet that fond mother praised, the world caressed,
And ONE adored me -- how shall HE who soon
Shall wear my gentle flower upon his breast,
Prize to its utmost worth the priceless boon?

Shall he not gird her, guard her, make her rich,
(Not as the world is rich, in outward show,)
With all the love and watchful kindness which


A Mirage

Were I thy bride,
Then the whole world beside
Were not too wide
To hold my wealth of love -
Were I thy bride!
Upon thy breast
My loving head would rest,
As on her nest
The tender turtle-dove -
Were I thy bride!

This heart of mine
Would be one heart with thine,
And in that shrine
Our happiness would dwell -
Were I thy bride!
And all day long
Our lives should be a song:
No grief, no wrong
Should make my heart rebel -
Were I thy bride!

The silvery flute,


A Memory of June

When June comes dancing o'er the death of May,
With scarlet roses tinting her green breast,
And mating thrushes ushering in her day,
And Earth on tiptoe for her golden guest,

I always see the evening when we met--
The first of June baptized in tender rain--
And walked home through the wide streets, gleaming wet,
Arms locked, our warm flesh pulsing with love's pain.

I always see the cheerful little room,
And in the corner, fresh and white, the bed,
Sweet scented with a delicate perfume,


A Memory

Adown the grass-grown paths we strayed,
The evening cowslips ope’d
Their yellow eyes to look at her,
The love-sick lilies moped
With envy that she rather chose
To take a creamy-petalled rose
And lean it 'gainst her ebon hair,
All in that garden fair.

A languid breeze, with stolen scent
Of box-bloom in his grasp,
Sighed out his longing in her ear,
And with his dying gasp
Scattered the perfume at her feet


A Martian Sends A Postcard Home

Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings --

they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.

I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.

Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on ground:

then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.

Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the property of making colours darker.


A March Day in London

The east wind blows in the street to-day;
The sky is blue, yet the town looks grey.
'Tis the wind of ice, the wind of fire,
Of cold despair and of hot desire,
Which chills the flesh to aches and pains,
And sends a fever through all the veins.

From end to end, with aimless feet,
All day long have I paced the street.
My limbs are weary, but in my breast
Stirs the goad of a mad unrest.
I would give anything to stay
The little wheel that turns in my brain;
The little wheel that turns all day,


A Manager's Perplexities

Were I a king in very truth,
And had a son - a guileless youth -
In probable succession;
To teach him patience, teach him tact,
How promptly in a fix to act,
He should adopt, in point of fact,
A manager's profession.
To that condition he should stoop
(Despite a too fond mother),
With eight or ten "stars" in his troupe,
All jealous of each other!
Oh, the man who can rule a theatrical crew,
Each member a genius (and some of them two),
And manage to humour them, little and great,


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