World-Voices by F. Bennett

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"What art thou, swift drought-breaking flood,
That wreckest river farms with mud?"
"A life where good and evil vie
In long and doubtful war am I."

I asked each fallen, withered flow'r
Destroyed by worm or frost or show'r,
Each answered with a stifled sigh:
"A pale, neglected maid was I."

I hailed each aged, giant rock
Slow-weathered by the tempest shock,
Sepulchral came the deep reply;
"A crumbling dynasty am I."

I questioned every sere, red leaf
The import of its season brief.
It murmured as it drifted by:
"A blighted human hope was I."

I taxed each restless, battling blast
That stormed aloud, or wailing passed.
One constant dirge they sang to me:
"Wild, discontented souls were we."

I questioned ev'ry baffled wave
That fretted through its ocean cave,
The answer came --- a wailing sigh:
"A wasted human life am I."

I asked each gaunt and dying tree
That stretched gray arms imploringly.
It creaked in every storm-wind high:
"A prayer as yet unanswered I."

I hailed each mellow, clear-eyed star
Above Earth's dust and turmoil far.
The answer filled Earth, Sea, and Sky:
"A pure, consistent life was I."  

First published in The Queenslander, 18 September 1897

Author reference site: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 18, 2012 8:37 AM.

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