The Pale Mourners by Myra Morris

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Far in the forest night entwined,
   I hear the wailing mourners go:
I see the pale procession wind
   Among the tree-trunks, dim and slow.

Why have I risen from my bed
   To watch them threading out and in?
The fireflies flicker overhead
   In webs the watching spiders spin.

Each pointed shoe with gems is set;
   All ashen white each ghostly gown.
Each wears a jewelled carcanet,
   To match her elderberry crown.

Why weep they in these woods of green
   And fill the running dark with fear?
They chant their melancholy threne
   Above the trappings of a bier!

"No more he'll hunt the bee." they sing,
   "No more he'll hear the fairy horn,
No more the flower-bells will ring
   For him along the edge of morn.

"For him no more brown gypsies brush
   The fallen leaves of gold and red;
No magic beasts move in the lush,
   Green grass, for he that played - is dead!"

Whom mourn they as they onward glide,
   With death-flowers blowing to the knee?
I watch them like a rising tide
   Among the trunks of ebony.

The moon has left her murky cloud,
   The phantom mourners pass me by.
Ah, woe! Beneath the lifted shroud
   I see the child that once was I!

First published in The Bulletin, 27 January 1921

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 27, 2014 6:38 PM.

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