Last of the Line by Mabel Forrest

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A basket of white kittens and a tray of apricots,
   A red wasp, buzzing, as it hangs above the honeyed fruits,
A dish of sun-parched orange pips, a lacquered box of dates,
   And a beggar at the gateway with his bowl of saffron roots.

The sun across the shadow bars the earth with tiger stripes,
   There's a rusty gun beyond them, and a loophole in the wall,
Once the arsenal of soldiers and to-day the court of women,
   And the drifting dust of ages with its perfume smothering all.

Dust of vanished roses, and dust of women's dreaming,
   Dust of men who bartered, and of other men who took --
Every stone is graven with the cipher of a story,
   The clatter of a weapon, or a lover's parting look.

Out beyond the courtyard is the yellow of the desert,
   And the yellow lion wanders there among the mighty tombs...
With a basket of white kittens and a lacquer box of sweetmeats,
   The craven cub of fighting men yawns in the women's rooms.

First published in The Bulletin, 22 March 1933

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 22, 2014 10:19 AM.

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