Sunshine, Drought, and Storm by E.H.L

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Far up on the height, in the tropical blaze of the noonday,
   Or 'neath shade of the pines and the solitude born of the air,
Where the white wings of birds and throb-notes of melody beat not
   In the motionless verdure of trees or the heat and the glare.

The motionless verdure of trees on the slope of the hill-side
   Throws a pendulous pall o'er the moss-covered boulder and me;
While the glitter of distant inlet my vision entrances,
   And the glint from the foam-flecked waves on the far-away sea.

Sultry the air; no cool breezes blow soft o'er the mountain,
   But the sheen of a shimmering ocean of crystalline light
Floods the peak and the plain. The wide-spreading forest and scrub-land
   Throb with tremulous poise and a lustre that dazzles the sight.

No sough from the moorland, no hum from the flower seeking bee.
   The moorland sere is afar, the last of the blossoms have fled;
The breath of a fiery December has touched them and dried them,
   Drought comes with heat, and flowers and pasture are withered and dead.

Oppressive the air grows, hazy the hills that bound the horizon;
   Mists veil the sky where glint of the sun on the ocean has been;
Mists change to slow-rising torreted ramparts, bodeful of tempest,
   Girding with vapours the sky and veiling with dimness the scene.

Whisperings come from the she-oak, murmurings soft from the pine-tree;
   Moans from the moorland, wails from dark gorges lurking beneath;
Rushes the wind with its garment of cloud-wrack sable and sombre ---
   Sulphurous mantle of vapour hiding the fire in its sheath.

Whisperings low change to wailing, murmurings deepen to moaning;
   There is swaying of branches, screaming of birds, the sudden splash of the rain;
Quivering gleam of the lightning in fitful and tremulous splendour,
   Rumble and crash of thunder, resounding again and again.

Nearer, still nearer the tumult, closer, still closer the roar;
   Surging the contest, baleful the fires that incessantly light
Lurid recesses of Hell, displacing bright mansions of Heaven,
   Or yawning abysses of darkness wrapt in the mantle of night.

Forth bursts the levin-bolt from the blackness above the pine-tops,
   And the aisles of the forest lament as the brave trees bend to their doom,
Mid the dirge of the blast and the roll of the storm fiend's chariot
   As he speeds on his wreck-strewn path through the maze of the glowering gloom.

Placid, tranquil the woodland, chequered with sunshine and shadow;
   Sweet exhalations from flowers are wafted upon the breeze;
The winds intone a paean, telling of freshness and gladness,
   Blent with the anthems of birds and rhythmical cadence of trees.

Fresh is the verdurous pasture, gladsome the ripple of brooklets,
   Purling and babbling the gentle laughter of waters that lave;
Tokens of plenitude vast pouring from bounteous Earth's bosom,
   Earth, fertile mother of fruits, bright blossoms, and branches that wave.

Such is the season of summer, charged with the storm or the drought,
   Fraught with the fate of flowers, green pastures, and cattle, and man:
Send us, beneficent God, abundant all-comforting showers;
   Grant us, O God, in the drear time of drought, release from Thy ban.

First published in The Queenslander, 7 March 1881

Note: the author of this poem is not known.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 7, 2011 8:53 AM.

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