At the "Twelve Mile" by Kathleen Dalziel

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The little home we used to know stands lonely at the long day's close;
The roof had fallen long ago but for the interlacing rose.

And through the ruined garden fold the lingering light of sunset spills
Its immaterial dusty gold through golden clumps of daffodils.

Through seedy grasses rambling free, the wild raspberries climb and cling;
Still stands the silver wattle tree whose boughs once held the children's swing.

Still falls the magpies' music loud from one old group of knotted gums,
And, feathery as a falling cloud, still bloom the clustered cherryplums;

Like kirtled ladies in a ring, in bracken frondage to the knees,
And all their petals trembling with the little black Australian bees.

I dreamed beneath the flowery yield; the present ceased a little space;
I heard my father in the field, again I saw my mother's face.

And from the river, shallow clear, heard underneath the blackwood's boughs,
Clear voices on the evening air the youngsters bringing up the cows. . . .

The bees had vanished from the bloom when I awakened from my trance.
Only a bronzewing in the gloom crooned muted to the hour's romance.

What is the fatal power the past still keeps for human hearts alway?
The uzseless longing to the last for some lost scene of yesterday?

The freshening evening breezes pelted petals down like fairy rain.
Sudden my heart like wax was melted, and I could not stem my pain.

In mockery they seemed to flout me, Love's surviver lonely here
With all the daffodils about me, in the springtime of the year.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 1930

Author reference sites: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 23, 2011 7:21 AM.

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