A Ballade of Home

LET others prate of Greece and Rome,
And towns where they may never be,
The muse should wander nearer home.
My country is enough for me;
Her wooded hills that watch the sea,
Her inland miles of springing corn,
At Macedon or Barrakee—
I love the land where I was born.
On Juliet smile the autumn stars
And windswept plains by Winchelsea,
In summer on their sandy bars
Her rivers loiter languidly.
Where singing waters fall and flee
The gullied ranges dip to Lorne


A Ballad of Hell

'A letter from my love to-day!
Oh, unexpected, dear appeal!'
She struck a happy tear away,
And broke the crimson seal.

'My love, there is no help on earth,
No help in heaven; the dead-man's bell
Must toll our wedding; our first hearth
Must be the well-paved floor of hell.'

The colour died from out her face,
Her eyes like ghostly candles shone;
She cast dread looks about the place,
Then clenched her teeth and read right on.

'I may not pass the prison door;
Here must I rot from day to day,


A Ballad of Ducks

The railway rattled and roared and swung
With jolting and bumping trucks.
The sun, like a billiard red ball, hung
In the Western sky: and the tireless tongue
Of the wild-eyed man in the corner told
This terrible tale of the days of old,
And the party that ought to have kept the ducks.
"Well, it ain't all joy bein' on the land
With an overdraft that'd knock you flat;
And the rabbits have pretty well took command;
But the hardest thing for a man to stand
Is the feller who says 'Well I told you so!


1915

I’ve watched the Seasons passing slow, so slow,
In the fields between La Bassée and Bethune;
Primroses and the first warm day of Spring,
Red poppy floods of June,
August, and yellowing Autumn, so
To Winter nights knee-deep in mud or snow,
And you’ve been everything.

Dear, you’ve been everything that I most lack
In these soul-deadening trenches—pictures, books,
Music, the quiet of an English wood,
Beautiful comrade-looks,
The narrow, bouldered mountain-track,


1914

War broke: and now the Winter of the world
With perishing great darkness closes in.
The foul tornado, centred at Berlin,
Is over all the width of Europe whirled,
Rending the sails of progress. Rent or furled
Are all Art's ensigns. Verse wails. Now begin
Famines of thought and feeling. Love's wine's thin.
The grain of human Autumn rots, down-hurled.

For after Spring had bloomed in early Greece,
And Summer blazed her glory out with Rome,
An Autumn softly fell, a harvest home,


Araluen

River, myrtle rimmed, and set
Deep amongst unfooted dells—
Daughter of grey hills of wet,
Born by mossed and yellow wells;
Now that soft September lays
Tender hands on thee and thine,
Let me think of blue-eyed days,
Star-like flowers and leaves of shine!

Cities soil the life with rust;
Water banks are cool and sweet;
River, tired of noise and dust,
Here I come to rest my feet.

Now the month from shade to sun
Fleets and sings supremest songs,


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - spring