Written In Australia

THE WIDE sun stares without a cloud:
Whipped by his glances truculent
The earth lies quivering and cowed.
My heart is hot with discontent:
I hate this haggard continent.

But over the loping leagues of sea
A lone land calls to her children free:
My own land holding her arms to me—
But oh, the long loping leagues of sea.

The grey old city is dumb with heat;
No breeze comes leaping, naked, rude,
Adown the narrow, high-walled street;


Written at Lovere, October, 1736

If age and sickness, poverty and pain,
Should each assault me with alternate plagues,
I know mankind is destin'd to complain,
And I submit to torment and fatigues.
The pious farmer, who ne'er misses pray'rs,
With patience suffers unexpected rain;
He blesses Heav'n for what its bounty spares,
And sees, resign'd, a crop of blighted grain.
But, spite of sermons, farmers would blaspheme,
If a star fell to set their thatch on flame.


Wraiths

They know not the green leaves;
In whose earth-haunting dream
Dimly the forest heaves,
And voiceless goes the stream.
Strangely they seek a place
In love’s night-memoried hall;
Peering from face to face,
Until some heart shall call
And keep them, for a breath,
Half-mortal ... (Hark to the rain!)...
They are dead ... (O hear how death
Gropes on the shutter’d pane!)


Wraith

"Thin Rain, whom are you haunting,
That you haunt my door?"
—Surely it is not I she's wanting;
Someone living here before—
"Nobody's in the house but me:
You may come in if you like and see."

Thin as thread, with exquisite fingers,—
Have you seen her, any of you?—
Grey shawl, and leaning on the wind,
And the garden showing through?

Glimmering eyes,—and silent, mostly,
Sort of a whisper, sort of a purr,
Asking something, asking it over,
If you get a sound from her.—


With Esther

HE who has once been happy is for aye
   Out of destruction's reach. His fortune then
Holds nothing secret; and Eternity,
   Which is a mystery to other men,
Has like a woman given him its joy.
   Time is his conquest. Life, if it should fret.
Has paid him tribute. He can bear to die,
   He who has once been happy! When I set
The world before me and survey its range,
   Its mean ambitions, its scant fantasies,
The shreds of pleasure which for lack of change
   Men wrap around them and call happiness,


Women's harvest song

I am waving a ripe sunflower,
I am scattering sunflower pollen to the four world-quarters.
I am joyful because of my melons,
I am joyful because of my beans,
I am joyful because of my squashes.

The sunflower waves.
So did the corn wave
When the wind blew against it,
So did my white corn bend
When the red lightning descended upon it,
It trembled as the sunflower
When the rain beat down its leaves.

Great is a ripe sunflower,
And great was the sun above my corn-fields.


Winter in Durnover Field

Scene.--A wide stretch of fallow ground recently sown with wheat, and
frozen to iron hardness. Three large birds walking about thereon,
and wistfully eyeing the surface. Wind keen from north-east: sky a
dull grey.

(Triolet)

Rook.--Throughout the field I find no grain;
   The cruel frost encrusts the cornland!
Starling.--Aye: patient pecking now is vain
   Throughout the field, I find . . .
Rook.--No grain!
Pigeon.--Nor will be, comrade, till it rain,
   Or genial thawings loose the lorn land


Words For Departure

Nothing was remembered, nothing forgotten.
When we awoke, wagons were passing on the warm summer pavements,
The window-sills were wet from rain in the night,
Birds scattered and settled over chimneypots
As among grotesque trees.

Nothing was accepted, nothing looked beyond.
Slight-voiced bells separated hour from hour,
The afternoon sifted coolness
And people drew together in streets becoming deserted.
There was a moon, and light in a shop-front,
And dusk falling like precipitous water.

Hand clasped hand


Words

Out of us all
That make rhymes
Will you choose
Sometimes -
As the winds use
A crack in a wall
Or a drain,
Their joy or their pain
To whistle through -
Choose me,
You English words?

I know you:
You are light as dreams,
Tough as oak,
Precious as gold,
As poppies and corn,
Or an old cloak:
Sweet as our birds
To the ear,
As the burnet rose
In the heat
Of Midsummer:
Strange as the races
Of dead and unborn:
Strange and sweet
Equally,


Woolworth's

for Greg Fallon

A kid yells "Mother Fucker" out the school bus window.
I don't think anyone notices the afternoon clouds turning pink along the horizon,
sunlight dripping down the stone facades,
the ancient names of old stores fading like the last century
above the street, above the Spandex women who adjust their prize buttocks,
sweating in the sun as I wonder how this city that has no more memory of itself
than a river has of rain, survives.

Is it just a matter of time, or that peasant woman


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