At Wiseman's Ferry by Ella McFadyen

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The old road north of Wiseman's
   Climbs up by cliff and ledge,   
On great, grey, lichened buttresses,
   Above the river's edge;
For faithfully they packed the stone,
   In Solomon his day,   
And wearily the builders wrought,   
   Who never drew their pay.  

To right the roofs of Windsor
   Are glinting in the sun,   
The mist is on the crossing place,
   The day is now begun --   
A long, long day of liberty,   
   With sun and road and sky --
Ah, pity their captivity,
   Who toiled in days gone by!  

The yellow of the cornland,
   The cliff's enpurpled state,   
The old stone house, where Wiseman dwelt,   
   With gryphon-guarded gate --   
I wonder here what viewless ghosts
   Tramp through the heat of noon,   
If down the road the clank of chains
   Is heard beneath the moon?  

Or if the ferry cable
   Creaks ghostly in the night,   
To bear across the phantom gang  
   That may not bide the light?   
Light hearts to whom this happy land
   Is free and blessed abode,   
Pass on your way, but, passing, bless
   The makers of the road!
First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 1925

Author: Ella McFadyen (1887-1976) was a poet, journalist and children's author.  She worked for the Sydney Mail newspaper from 1918-1938.

Author reference sites: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 17, 2011 9:01 AM.

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