Works in the Herald 1933

For some days immediately before the duck season, which opened last night, large flocks of ducks began to arrive on lakes and pools in the city gardens, apparently forewarned mysteriously of the coming slaughter. The phenomenon has been observed now for several years.

Now, obtaining sanctuary, we swoop down,
   Not on some quiet waterway afar,
But to the confines of your clamorous town.
Where traffic roars and mighty buildings frown,
   And countless terrors are.
Men count it strange that warned of this dread day,
   We seek the very stronghold of the foe,
Knowing that none will lift his hand to sly;
   And men ask, wondering, how should we know?
How should we know?  How do the swallows know,
   As winter comes, the very day, the hour
When they must gather in the sky and go
Across far seas, lest it be ordered so
   By that almighty Pow'r
That blind man might have known, but now has lost,
   Or neary lost thro' centuries of strife?
Till now in bitterness he counts the cost
   Of that rejection thro' war haunted life.
So, claiming sanctuary, we are here --
   And neither wit nor cunning bade us come --
Safe in your stronghold; for a clear.
Strong Voice forewarned us of the slaughter near --
   A Voice man long thought dumb ...
Yet, when across a mad chaotic word
   Man's deadlier engines thunder on, and when
Death in a thousand fearful shapes be hurled,
Where may blind Man seek sanctuary then?   

Herald, 15 February 1933, p7

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005