Fear by Mabel Forrest

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Like some bruised hand the purple sky strikes down,          
Pressing to the wet earth, and from the moor    
And crawling, sluggish runnels comes a mist 
Like the thick breath of fever-smitten things  
That lie half-unconscious, yet afraid to move, 
Lest movement bring activities of pain.

No star - a diamond on a giant hand,
To show it once was decked with consequence--    
Only the purple clouds like swollen veins 
That cannot ease to the relief of rain,
And threaten merely stirless tree and hedge,   
And the blank windows of an unlit house
That sentinels a garden, where the fence 
Has rotted over memories of a rose     
And mouldered bones of scentless eglantine; 
Where dead leaves cling as if they feared to break        
The brooding silence with their rustling fall; 
A rick of hay that now is blackened straw, 
Wherein no shivering mouse would care to creep;  
A broken halter hanging on a rail, 
Spotted with yellow fungus like a plague,
As though some steed of death had tethered there:        
A door ajar, yet rigid, as if wedged  
By something flung upon the other side.

And suddenly, where Nature holds her  breath,  
And the dark boughs seem craning as a witch    
Whose skinny fingers point the victim out
(Like the small shriek the doubling rabbit gives                      
When on its trail it hears the slavering hounds,     
Betraying in its terror, where it hides 
Invisible amidst the folding grass),     
So to the monster watching of the night   
Comes the thin horror of a human cry!

First published in The Australasian, 26 May 1917

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 26, 2014 7:26 AM.

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