Over a river, patterned with fallen leaves --
These are the things I remember when the sunset flowers
To colourful flame these lonely autumn leaves.
The crooning of crickets under the orchard trees,
The cry of an owl haunting the dark scrub's rim;
Moths in the silver grasses, and old memories
Flitting like moths do in the moonlight dim.
Very desolate under the trees that lean to hide her,
The old house stands forlorn, and the weeds sprout high
Through the gaping hearthstone, left to the bat and the squatting spider,
And kindly dews, and the cold, wide sky.
Only the wandering cattle where once the garden grew.
Only the wattle, hiding the roof tree old,
Only the moon and the stars, peeping the night through
The panes where the lamp spilt its homely gold.
Something listening, listening, where none will listen again,
For a step that never falls where the pathway runs,
Not in any autumn or whispering springtime rain.
Not in the light of any moons or suns.
A grey roof, a lighted pane, and a starbright dome
And airs smelling of roses and coming rain,
And these are the things I remember when I remember home,
And the moths flit under the autumn moon again.
First published in The Brisbane Courier, 19 July 1930
Author reference sites: Austlit