Change of Heart by Myra Morris

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Once when I saw the far-off hills,
The frosty moon or a white-veiled tree,
The hills, the moon, the tree would come 
To be a trembling part of me.
The sea beyond the rose-flushed dunes 
Withdrawn and cold - a river-flood 
Silvering the hollow pasture-lands 
Would set a fever in my blood. 

Now I can watch the lilac gulls 
Circle the darker lilac tide,
And turn my collar up and wish
That I were home and safe inside . . . 
O, Time, what have you done to me 
That I can stay unmoved and stare 
At Beauty's very self and reach
No core of wonder prisoned there! 
If such be so how dare I live,
Draw easy breath, laugh, work and play, 
For I have let into my soul
The first slow shadow of decay. 

Here now then I shall go again
Humbly to the small things and find
In the shape of a single rounded stone 
Wonder and joy to fill my mind. 
Rapture implicit there will be
In the brown-spored moss, a spire of grass, 
A strange lost world that beckons from 
A raindrop hanging clear as glass!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 1953

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

"My Boy" by Mabel Forrest

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The boy went out in the early dawn, 
   Laughed as he turned again to call 
One "Goodbye" through the golden morn-- 
   "With me a godspeed"--that was all!

The gaunt greyhound that he left behind 
   Threw back its head in a long drawn wail;   
It was borne to the boy on the morning wind, 
   For he turned and waved from the red sliprail. 

Then we saw him go up the stony ridge 
   Where the brown mud winds to rising sun, 
Heard the hoof-beats fall on the wooden bridge 
   Where the railway goes through M'Kinley's run. 

The boy went out with his head held high, 
   And a happy faith for the years to be,   
He feared not to meet his mother's eye; 
   There was nothing a mother might not see. 

His father said, "Let him go to town," 
   Make a man of our darling boy;   
And I prayed for him when the sun went down, 
   And dreamed of a future of certain joy. 

   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   

A man came back in a sultry eve-- 
   A man world-weary and pale and worn; 
And a mother's foolish heart would grieve 
   For the lad who went with the rosy dawn.

First published in The Queenslander, 17 April 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Sonnet by Zora Cross

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Anxious for my awakening, when I died
   I watch great blossoms such as no men dream
   Open and close upon that still dark stream.
A certain brilliance seemed to slide and glide
Uncertainly about from side to side,
   As if a flower searched for a lost sunbeam,
   As if a sunbeam sought its own lost gleam --
And suddenly "The sun and life!" I cried.

When I think back upon it now I sigh.
Those streets, all the harsh edges gone; the bees
   Quiet; soft voices; peace where'er I trod;
And only light from sky to spreading sky.
This dream I dreamed surely is shared with me
   Still in the long still galleries of God.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 April 1925

The Old Orchard by Kathleen Dalziel

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All lovely in the latticed dew,
   And heavy with low boughs hoary, 
The apple trees put forth anew
   Their old enchanted glory.

Rose-misted mass and myriad,
   White as a white-cloud's bosom,
The clinging, climbing bees go mad
   Among the trembling blossom.

While from a spire of rosy snow  
   The top-most boughs adorning,
A thrush, half hidden, sings below
   The heavenly blue of morning.

Amid celestial peace, where dross
   Material reckoning falters,
The thrush sings on a budded cross
   At Beauty's very altars .... 

Old trees, so gloriously young,
   Thick petals, thronged with bees,
Have I glimpsed heaven to-day among
   The blossoming apple trees?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April 1933

Author reference site: Austlit

See also

The Wind by Myra Morris

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I heard the shudd'ring grasses bend
   And the wild sheoak sigh
Out of the dead, unhappy night
   I saw the wind go by.
Among the fragrant forest mould 
  Her feet trailed pale and bare.  
The poplars' trembling fingers caught 
   The tangle of her hair.  
All lightly strewn with beaded rain,  
   All gold with netted leaves.   
I saw the wind go creeping by--
   Go swinging 'neath the eaves.
Wild music on her silver strings
   She made. The river reeds
Piped shrill from out their watery bed.
   The cypress in her weeds
Made moan. With wanton arms out-flung,
   The wild wind as her dower
Shook from her hair the beaded rain
   Into the lilies' flower.
Her phantom skirts among the leaves
   Blown backward like a veil,
I saw the wind go creeping by--
   Go lilting down the dale.

First published in The Australasian, 14 April 1917

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Beauty by Kathleen Dalziel

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Beauty remains, whatever goes,
   However sad we grow, or old. 
The oft-sung sweetness of a rose,
   The richness of a marigold;
Still she is there, though all things pass,
   Where ere the fingers of the breeze 
Go ruffling through the gold-ripe grass,
   Or shake the sunshowers from the trees.

Pale evening spreads her banner proud,
   Though in the dust our own lie low. 
Peak beyond peak, seeking the cloud
   Out to the blue the ranges go.
All stained with saffron daffodils;
   Ah, when my spirit faints with pain 
I shall lift up unto the hills
   Mine eyes, to gather strength again.

Small, downy ghosts, all silvery frail,
   The seedling dandelions blow,
Spun softly down a summer gale
   On tremendous wings of air they go.
Ruffling her sombre gown of grey
   The whispering poplar greets the wind.
Oh, turn you any, either way,
   And beauty's badge is yours to find.

Bright unsubstantial fairylands
   In the lone valley's ferny aisles,
I see where night's invisible hands
   Pour the white moon mists, miles on miles.
And summon a starry host to fling  
   Enchantment like a veil unfurled, 
Like Easter candles glimmering
   On all the altars of the world.

The little things that mean so much.
   The tiny Edens of an hour--
They fall to pieces at a touch
   Like poppies that the winds deflower;
Even the great things shadowing all.
   The lonely, dark Gethsemanes, 
All in the dust at last must fall,
   Just dead, discarded memories.

Beauty alone remains though all
   The trifles that make up our hours 
Of happiness like dead leaves fall
   In the spent gold of autumn showers,
Bankrupt of all, I still could find
   Happiness pure and undefiled 
Hearing her voices on the wind,
   Walking beside her o'er the wild.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 13 April 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also

Ploughing by Mabel Forrest

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      Ploughing three abreast,
      Not a minute's rest;
Turing out the black soil, and the couch grass turning in.
Pale against the sky-line, blue gums tall and thin.
      Rustle greeting to each other
      While the daisy heads I smother
Underneath the warm earth buried, poor crushed blossoms one by one,
One side of the furrow shadow, one side of the furrow sun.

      Ploughing three abreast,
      Straining flank and chest.
Ah! They are a bonny trio, chestnut, bay and darkest brown,
And they make their furrows straightly, like a lady's pleated gown.
      All the air is crisp with spring
      Where the dancing pee-wees wing;
Loud I whistle as I follow, till the morning's work is done,
One side of the furrow shadow, one side of the furrow sun.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 April 1906

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Wood Smoke by Kathleen Dalziel

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A whiff of wood smoke in the rain,  
   A tang of earth scents drifting grey,  
And all my heart is home again,
   Beyond the hills of Emu Bay.

The dark Tasmanian forest dreamed
   Down to the skyline, sunset-tipped; 
Blackwood and myrtle, dusky beamed,
   And fringed pine, and eucalypt. 

The molten light in mellow miles
   Along the ringbarked clearings lay; 
The hollows marked in hazy aisles
   The quickening end of quiet day. 

I saw the silver-wattle's grove,
   Whose early golds to spring belong,
The creek that through the tea-tree wove
   Its threaded loops of silver song. 

Gold sunbeams in a dusty shower
   Filtered through ancient orchard boughs; 
I heard across the evening hour
   The youngsters, bringing up the cows. 

All heaven's wild roses died away
   In widening deeps of amethyst;
Stockyard and haystacks sank to grey
   In the uprising evening mist.

Within the doorway's dusky frame
   The firelight flickers as of old; 
Beams of a household altar flame
   Long, long ago burnt out and cold. 

Motionless in a pearly heaven
   The chimney smoke suspended curled; 
Sad ancient sorcery that, even
   Now, wafts me to another world.

Oh! vanished years, oh habitude
   Of childhood's joy and childhood's pain! 
Yet would I, even If I could
   Turn back the tired years again?

A whiff of wood smoke in the rain,
   A tang of earth scents drifting grey -- 
And all my heart is home again
   Beyond the hills of Emu Bay.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 April 1931

Author reference site: Austlit

See also

"The Outsider" by Myra Morris

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Beneath the painted roof,
The people pray an' sing.
I stand here outside,
Where barren branches swing,
I hear the she-oaks drip,
I hear the tree-trunks strain.
The lamps are ruby-red --
My shoes let in the rain.

   O, heart, my bleeding heart!
   The cruel wind that moans,
   An' lifts this tattered shawl
   To chill my aching bones!

"O, God of Love," they sing.
"He is the King of Peace!"
I beat my withered breasts,
An' hear the anthems cease.
I hear the preacher say,
"A sparrow shall not fall
Unto the ground, unless
He know. He knoweth all."

   O God -- what God is this?
   I laugh unto the moon;
   While chiller blows the wind
   An' soft the she-oaks croon.

I wonder if He knows
That he who was my own,
He who was part of me,
My breathing flesh an' bone,
Lies dead! An' if He hears
Before the morn has broke,
About the half-dug grave
The hungry ravens croak.

   O, heart, my bleeding heart!
   You only know the pain --
   None else! ... I go my way;
   My shoes let in the rain.

First published in The Triad, 10 April 1918;
and later in
England and Other Verses by Myra Morris, 1918.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Eve by Mabel Forrest

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Day, with a golden knife, has peeled the Night,
Devouring it with red, impatient lips,
And he has left, high in the trembling sky,
A silver rind.
      Men think it is the ghost  
Of the full moon that rose all glorious 
To deck the breast of God.
      But Eve, who lies
Sick with delights amidst her broken flowers,
Knows it to be the shred of that bright fruit
The Tree of Knowledge yielded in the dark.

First published in The Australasian, 9 April 1927

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Words by Zora Cross

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Peace with a book beneath this green-glad tree;
   And in the flowery gully at my feet
Deaf stones too dumb for summer's melody
  And the long wind's compassionate, slow beat.

Rest with a book -- your book all fire and dew,
   Wrought of the brown old earths eternal youth;
Light, song, and star-dream -- all the soul of you,
   Guarding herein the treasury of Truth.

Sleep with a book. A dead leaf falls on me,
   So Nature yields her labor to the times.
But till the quiet of eternity
   Love's happy lips shall kiss to your green rhymes.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1920

In the Street by Mabel Forrest

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The street at night: a line of light,
And the red and blue of the flashing cars.
   The surging masses of people flow --
   Hurrying or idling, on they go
Thro' the tempting glow of the city bars.

As I cross the street with lingering feet,
And pause on the iron bridge awhile,
   Something comes thro' the human rush --
   Something speaks of the silent bush,
And moves me to a wondering smile.

Only a sound on the metalled ground,
Crossing close by the shadowy Quay,
   A little mob of bewildered sheep,
   Afraid to hurry -- afraid to creep,
Bringing memories back to me.

Each woolly back from the grey bush track,
Each frightened eye in the gas-lamp's flare
   Recalling the yards at Cargoolees,
   And the fragrant breath of the wattle breeze,
And mountain ranges, away out there.

Tram-cars speeding, all unheeding
The tremb'ling creatures beside the wall.
   The tramp of hoofs on the flinty ground,
   Of drafted sheep for the shambles bound,
And a strangeness over all.

The street so richly gemmed with light --
The town that has no time to sleep --
   Loud laughs and oaths ring from the bars --
   While flashing lights from passing cars
Reveal to me the frightened sheep!

First published in Steele Rudd's Magazine, 7 April 1904

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Goblin Time by Zora Cross

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There were goblins selling a star, a gem, 
And a lady walked in a diadem
Of phlox and lilies and meadowy flowers 
And a bright little string of April hours.

A bell went "Ting" And I bought a charm. 
I'm sure as sure that it was no harm
For Margot was playing "I see" with me,   
And Margot is not quite half past three.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 April 1935

The Budding Elms by Myra Morris

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Little Margaret is lying under the ground,
   And the elm trees are awake!  
Little Margaret is lying under the ground,
   And the red buds swell and break.

The sap runs warm where the boughs were chill,
   And the flowers are coming on;
The birds sing loud that have been so still,
   But little Margaret is gone!  

There's a whispering now, there's a long, long sigh  
   Through the limbs of the stirring trees -- 
A purple smoke 'twixt the earth and sky,
   And the drone of moving bees.

"Where are you, Margaret? Come and play!"   
   The elm trees lean and look.
"Where is the child that came each day,   
   With her curls and her picture-book?"  

Where are you, Margaret, where are you now?
   Does your spirit hunt the bees?  
Or court the buds on the last red bough,
   Or catch the sun through the trellised trees?

Little Margaret is lying under the ground,  
   And the elm trees are awake!
Little Margaret is lying under the ground, 
   What shall I do? My heart will break.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 April 1930 

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

After Many Days by Kathleen Dalziel

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Shadows lengthen through lazy hours,
   The long, long hours of afternoon;
Heavy the odors of red-gum flowers
   In dells of bracken when bronzewings croon;
Green and grey are the saplings slender,
   Tall and straight by the empty stream --
Fit for day dreams the Bushland's splendor,
   But I have forgotten the way to dream.

To-day the cuckoos were calling, calling,
   Out at the light wood's leafy deep;
I heard the river's slow music falling
   Through a world of summer-time, half asleep.
But, ah! in the gold Australian weather
   Care at my side dims every gleam,
So long we have walked the road together
   That I have forgotten the way to dream.

A dreamer always, in days long over,
   I fashioned my life in a world of shades,
When the fields were white with a wealth of clover
   Or the robes of winter made grey the glades
But gone, long gone, are those days of treasure,
   Long, long lost an the slow year's stream;
Spilt the cup of its ruddy measure,
   I have forgotten the way to dream.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 April 1912

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Lane by Mabel Forrest

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Our friendship is a green and shady lane
Closed at the further end by one high wall,
Across which we can see, full bloomed and tall,
Like glowing fires through a misty pane,
The scarlet summer-spinning of the trees.

Our friendship is a straight and grass-edged way
That we can pace with calm, unfearing eye;
Yet something cried across its peace to-day,
Reminding  that beyond the wall they lie,
The goblets of the flowers, the brown-winged bees.

And all was still by plain and well-known wold;
The smooth blades kept the greyness of the dew,
The words that custom taught us seemed so cold,
My wet eyes fell before a look from you;
Stricken, we stood and gazed at those far trees.

If we could be as once we used to be,
The green and gentle twilight of the lane
Would all suffice; the clipt unflowering tree
Would bring content to eyes that now in vain
Ache for a glimpse of honey cups and bees.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 April 1913

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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