Brotherhood of Earth by C.J. Dennis

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"For, notwithstanding every tribulation, the earth is a safeguard and ... a security against ills of any kind. The earth remains when everything else has departed." - Passage from the will of a N.S.W. grazier, recently dead, who implored his sons to hold on to the land.

While we are of the earth is the earth our haven,
   The broad lands and the green grass under the sun.
Upon the heart of a man is this deep graven
   Whose toil is done
Out in the fields and the fallow lands and the stubble
   Where beasts are his brothers, and all things of earth
Stand to his need; in fair content, in trouble,
   The only worth.

We come of the clay and to the clay descending
   In its dark couch from all the upper strife
Find that deep peace that yet is not an ending,
   But unity of life
With the high stars and life past comprehension
   Of man's blunt senses born from out the sod.
Here is not burial, but an ascension
   To things of God.

Cleave to it then, my son, that it may teach you
   The brotherhood of earth while earth things last,
That some foreknowledge, some dark hint may reach you
   Out of the vast
Unknowable that broods about those living
   Close to the soil and with the soil yet strive
That it may give them hope, and, in the giving,
   Keep faith alive.

Not from the skies above, not out of cities,
   Not thro' vague gropings of human mind,
Not in the play of mortal hates or pities
   Such peace we find.
While we are of the earth shall earth uphold us,
   Our mother, teacher, and our one true friend
Till time and space be done, and joys enfold us
   With unity sans end.

First published in The Herald, 15 November 1937

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 15, 2013 7:25 AM.

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