Poem: In Brighton Cemetery by J.M. Marsh

Once more earth's fairest season hastens
With first fruits of her quest and fastens
   A chaplet for the quiet hill:
Where Adam Gordon little recking
Heaven's white or crimson flecking;
Winter's chill or summer's decking,
   Gently laid, is dreaming still.

And all in vain our high enthronement
Awaits him, and too late atonement,
   Like phoenix, rises from the pyre;
For, mist-like, through some broken rafter
Flits the soul into the hereafter,
Who shall say when grief or laughter
   Wakes again that silent lyre?

Each year with drowsy sibillation,
Chaunt breeze and locust iteration
   Of summer and her bursting pods;
And man, long marvelling at existence,
Saddening at their strange insistance,
Heavenward looks and in its distance
   Seeks the secrets that are God's.

In vain; the seed-time and the harvest
Have failed not since the farthest
   Of times that wrote on earth their scroll;
But who of women born in weeping,
Watching while a word was sleeping,
Learning their secret for his keeping,
   Stayed the garner of his soul?

Beneath yon broken column, coping
Well fitted, neither doubt nor hoping
   There cometh to the quiet breast;
And never more shall love or scorning
Sweeten eve, embitter morning,
Times destroying or adorning
   Shall not wake him from his rest.

And we who dream not, whose endeavour
Sere mainlands bound and who forever
   Praise sea and sky, yet shoreward creep
For those things won by his devotion,
Glimpse of heaven, refrain of ocean,
Every phase of man's emotion,
   Thank him and his memory keep.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 May 1889

Note: the Adam Gordon here is, of course, Adam Lindsay Gordon, the only Australian writer with a memorial in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey in London.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 15, 2006 7:41 AM.

Caricature #8 - "C.J. Dennis" by Hal Gye was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Plays to Film #2 - Don's Party is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en