June 2014 Archives

Fantasy by Myra Morris

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By marble balustrades
   The purple peacocks gleam,
And palaces with white facades
   Beside the river dream.

The sea is pale as milk,
   For mast a peeled white rose,
A little ship with sails of silk
   Moves out; where, no man knows.

Slim turrets of delight,
   Of jade and ivory,
With tiny, twisting stairs of white,
   Beckon bewitchingly.

Down flowery woodland ways,
   Nude nymphs and sun-splashed fauns
Dance lightly where the syrinx plays
   Along unshaven lawns.

Pale mosques and minarets
   Of some lost Samarkand
Dream where the camel-driver sets
   His face unto the sand.

Across the sunset sky
   My soul has sped afar
To radiant realms, remote and high,
   And found the first frail star.

A myriad sights I see
   In this strange sunset-world,
Here, with my fancy floating free,
   Each eager sail unfurled.

I shall come back to earth,
   With all its fume and fret.
With all its foolish counts of worth --
   But not, ah no! not yet!

A little longer here
   To dream the hours away,
Where night -- dark flower without compeer --
   Buds on the stalk of day!

First published in The Bulletin, 30 June 1927

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Book by Mabel Forrest

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Life keeps a library of Joy and Grief --
Gold-edge, illumined text, and the first leaf 
We turned together; and in time 
There were both tears and laughter in its rhyme,      
And blotted pages, and gay plates of flowers. 
A strange, rare book was this love-tale of ours!     
O! Fame or Fortune, can you recommend
Some other book? For Love has reached the End!

First published in The Australasian, 29 June 1918

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Little Things by Kathleen Dalziel

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The little things old Time has turned to ashes,
   Fair aspirations and high-sounding hopes;
But even now I see the scarlet flashes
   Of lowries winging through the leafy slopes

Ere summer set brown hands upon the bracken.
   And I recall the midnight breeze that drew
Tree music from tall boughs till, faintly shaken,
   It seemed a million starts were murmuring, too.

And card castles of dream old Time has tumbled
   To all the winds and left of harvest the husks;
But I like to think of how the river stumbled
   Across the stones in silver summer dusks.

It seems I have forgotten small hells and heavens,
   Praise, blame and Love's once precious-seeming words.
But I remember quiet autumn evens,
   Leaves dropping, and the small talk of the birds.

The solid things, dissolved in dust and scattered,
   Deep-rooted things, uprooted, branch and stem.
But the little things, that once so little mattered,
   How strange it is that I remember them! 

First published in The Bulletin, 28 June 1933

Author reference site: Austlit

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Thought for To-Day by Zora Cross

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Do not look back. Time has this much to teach.
It never was Defeat but Victory
That lured the aggressor beyond his reach.
Take this to your soul now intimately.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 June 1942

The Lady Jean by Mabel Forrest

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Many a wooer had Lady Jean, 
   Knights and courtiers at beck and call; 
   But cold as the snow was she to all --
A lovely maid with a winsome mien.

One came armed with his money bags --
   "See, I can give you gold, proud Jean!"?  
   The lady laughed, with a sigh between --   
"The gold comes ready; the love tale lags." 

A handsome knight with a haughty face 
   Swaggering into the courtyard came -- 
   "I have the love of a Royal Dame;   
Give me thy maid's love in its place." 

Lady Jean curled a scornful lip --  
   "Go back to thy foolish light-o'-loves;
   What do I care for a heart that roves, 
Tossed on the waves, like a paper ship?"   

At length one spoke with a noble air -- 
   "I ask no guerdon for loving; still 
   My life is yours to make what you will: 
Stain it with evil or paint it fair. 

A peasant dares not to win a Queen."
   Soft answered she -- "You have reached the goal; 
   You have brought me your own immortal soul. 
Can a man do more?" quoth the Lady Jean.

First published in The Queenslander, 26 June 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Boxthorn Shelter by Myra Morris

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Gone is the red
From all the boxthorn bushes --
Gone are the lacquered globes that Autumn spread --
But fantails, now, and smooth, grey-feathered thrushes  
Burden the boughs.
And take the eye instead! ....
Hear how the honeyeaters hush their singing
Under the pale, green leaves --
Hanging head-down, their claws like tendril clinging
To rain-dark stems, their bills   
Drawing the sweetness that each mauve-white flower
Deep in its tiny cup distils! ....   
Polished each pointing thorn,
Bright-hung with glassy drops that shake like wind-loosed bells, 
Seeming to make
The crystal song that falls
From the blue-painted wrens who seek
Shelter within the boxthorn's spiney walls.   

Only the plover,
The loud, fierce plover, 
Flying aloof,
Seeks for himself no cover  
Beneath the green thorn-raftered roof,   
But wings across the wide and empty plain,     
Screaming an imprecation to the rain!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 June 1938

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Finis by Kathleen Dalziel

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Flags of the sunset flying
   Stormy signals of red,
Night winds rising and crying
   With a sad, uneasy dread.
Oh, love was a long time dying,
   But now it is very dead!

And now there is nothing to grieve me,
   Nothing to bind or keep;
Fortune may follow or leave me
   The cold fates smile or weep.
What matter, when what most mattered
   Lies buried so deep, so deep?

Now I am free as the wind is,
   Careless as is the wave,
And nothing left in my mind is
   Of my old dreams bright and brave.
However Autumn be grieving
   Over the Summer's grave ...
Loose leaves fallen and flying,
   A shrine whose worshippers fled,
Where a cap and bells is lying
   in a broken idol's stead ...
Oh, love was a long time dying,
   But now it is terribly dead!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 24 June 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

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Grandmamma by Mabel Forrest

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Grandmamma had a lover once, 
   And he forgot and he ceased to woo. 
"Did you mind. Grandma, when he rode away"?
   And Grandma chuckled, as old folk do. 
"Friendship is fickle and love has wings, 
I have got to the other side of things." 

Grandmamma, is so old her chin 
   And her nose, you know, they almost meet;   
Yet sometimes I fancy that little things 
   Stir in the grasses about her feet, 
And if friends forsake her and kin grow cold
The fairies love her -- altho' she's old.   

For all her life the fairy folk 
   Have come to Grandma with tale and song. 
And I think when she dreams in the summer sun
   The fairies stay there the whole day long.
Tho' grown-ups are weary and children stray
The fairies are with her the live long day.   

Grandma is seventy, I am four, 
   Yet I wonder someday when Grandma dies 
Will she leave the fairy folk to me, 
   And the magic spectacles from her eyes? 
A fat black cat and a hazel switch, 
For she is the nicest kind of witch! 

I don't think I'd mind being old at all, 
   With nobody caring, if I could show 
That the fairies came to me day and night 
   With the wonderful things that fairies know.   
Roads thro' the fern, and secret things 
That are only carried on unseen wings.

First published in The Courier-Mail, 23 June 1934

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Secret Things by Myra Morris

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Sometimes before the moon has climbed the hill,
   I take a candle in my hand and go
Into a fragrant garden lying still  
   With sleep, and part the leaves and steal with slow
Soft steps, for fear the shy green things should hear
      Me come and my strange presence know,
      And cease their tender blossoming.
Where wave the drowsy, shapeless boughs I creep,
   (Pushing with seeking arms the pulsing air),
And flash my candle where pale lilies sleep.
   But how their naked whiteness shames me there!
I blow the yellow flame in sudden fear,
      A thrill that I all unaware
      Have stumbled on some secret thing.

Sometimes I slip from out the giddy roar
   Of city streets into the mystic gloom 
Of some cathedral, whose mosaic floor
   All flecked with rosy light like the soft bloom
Of sunset, flings the sound of tapping feet
      To vaulted roof; and loud the boom
      Of organ-music gathering
In volume like a swelling wave sings loud,
   And sweeps about me drowning me with cries,
Till past the fluted pillars' rows, a bowed,
   Uncovered head starts up where heavy lies
The dark. I feel unuttered prayers that beat
      The Throne--and veil these straying eyes
      That linger on some secret thing.

Sometimes when night leans waiting in the west,
   And wanton day, disporting ere she goes,
Flings flaming necklets o'er her neck and breast,
   And plucks the petals of the last-born rose,
I halt outside some open cottage door,
      Where twining honeysuckle blows, 
      And hear a lowly mother sing
Unto her sleeping child. I hear a chaunt
   Of deathless love, all wild with brooding fears;
She looks into the years that cannot daunt
   Her faith, though she see naught save salty tears
And pain and strivings vain for him she bore.
      She sings and smiles! I close my ears, 
      That hearken to some secret thing.

First published in The Australasian, 22 June 1918

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Fall of the Leaf by Kathleen Dalziel

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Where is the blackbird's golden note,
   Flung from a topmost garden bough?
Gone, and, under the vague remote
   Noonday blue, he is silent now.
The thrushes are dumb, and vanished long;
   The cuckoos' plaintive and sweet refrain,
Over the paddocks blown along
   A windy ruffle of springtime rain. 

Where are the green cicadas now?
   The fairy fiddles of summer noon, 
Gone, and under the lightwood bough
   Sadly the mild mole crickets croon. 
About their shoulders the foot hills fold
   A filmy shawl of the morning mist, 
And the blue sea line and the ranges old
   Are clad in a cloak of amethyst.

Magpie bells down the misty track,
   Morning comes with a touch of rime. 
But, while winter brings springtime back,
   Some hearts keep autumn all of the time;
And that, I fear, is the way with me,
   Skies not weeping, yet always grey,
And the flag of defeat on flower and tree.
   Since the close of the summer you went away.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 21 June 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

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Retreat by Zora Cross

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This secret, green retreat is mine alone; 
No other mortal knows it. No. Nor can. 
In a dream vale I found it and I plan
To build a castle there and rear a throne.
I'll clear away the tangled weeds o'ergrown. 
Nor ever call to maid or child or man 
Across the distance of that fairy span,
But live there lightly like a leaf, earth-blown.

And good folk, passing, sometimes may hear song 
And sometimes music, elfin strange and rare.
They'll say, "Who holds bright revel in that dell?" 
Then go their way with all the motley throng.
And Love, enthroned, with me the peace shall share,
For it takes two to keep a secret well. 

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 June 1935

The Song of Trees by Mabel Forrest

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I remember the plain where the lime trees grew, 
   And the grey of the twilight rest, 
And the sun's red couch in the fading blue 
   When he pillows across the west. 
Then life, I had stopped but a pace with you 
   In sight of the homing nest.

I remember the boughs had tales for me, 
   And the flowers a mystic singing, 
As though 'twas some pixie minstrelry 
   Where the fancy sprites go winging. 

I remember the weeds in the lagoon 
   That twined like a sea babe's swathing, 
And the watchful eyes of the mother-moon
   When the moonrays went a-bathing. 

I remember the scrub with sighing tunes 
   Where loves of the trees made story, 
And low in the waning of afternoons 
   A wattle in crested glory. 

I remember the bush fire's orange light, 
   To flicker of stars replying,
And its ragged leap on the loom of night, 
   And its slow and jewelled dying. 

I remember the scent of scorching leaves, 
   The black of the burned earth's gowning, 
And the acrid scent where the flame wind grieves 
   Thro' dusk of the sheaoks crowning. 

I had gained the rim of the stream of life, 
   Had trodden the sodden edges, 
And the will-o'-the-wisps of Hope were rife 
   In reeds by the wave-lipped edges. 

And my boat danced out to uncharted seas, 
   A wave o'er the green past folding, 
And the oars of toil beat back calls like these -- 
But the tails of youth in the songs of trees 
   The strings of my heart are holding!  

First published in The Sunday Times, 19 June 1910

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Yellow Cart by Myra Morris

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No sound was on the plain
   But the stealthy drip of rain
In the tall, bleached thistle-spires,
   And the wind a-thrum in the wires.

The road lay washed and bare
   With a look of winter-sleep.
Nothing was moving there
   But a trickle of dust-brown sheep.

And then out of the sky
   At the end of the road there came
A butcher's cart that went lolloping by
   Like a chariot of flame.

The wheels revolving spurned
   The jagged ruts with pride,
And the butcher's boy, his face upturned,
   Sang, swaying from side to side.

And the whole dim, desolate place
   Bloomed into light and grace --
For here was the voice of very joy
   Loosed on the lips of a butcher's boy.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 June 1947

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Still-Born by Mabel Forrest

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There only blow the gentle winds, and pale and tender suns  
Stream down the trees with temperate heat, and there the river runs  
With never brawling on a stone, or sullen, reckless flood,          
And every star-enraptured night is steeped in moonlight mood.  
It is half-way to Heaven's wails, and half-way to the earth,        
The land of babes whom Death has found against the gates of Birth!

They swing in cities made of reeds, or grasses woven green,  
The twilit spaces of the grove, or sunny walks between; 
Their coverlids are budding flowers where musky breezes move,
And all about them wing the thoughts; the unseen Mother love
Of her who waited in the world and stitched the dainty cap,
Who held in dreams the dimpled form close cuddled in her lap,
Who put the little garment by, sweet-sheaved in lavender,
And kissed the tiny broidered frock that was "for him" - or "her"-
This love that never found its goal-yet is a pulsing thing.  
It helps to guard the drowsy babes that in their hammocks swing,      
Too kind for Sorrow is the rhythm, and all too soft for Mirth,  
That rocks the babies Death has claimed beside the gates of Birth!    

The glow-worms in the shining grass have trimmed a thousand lights,
For babies do not love the dusk of Mother-empty nights,
And one white bird sits all day long upon a swaying bough,
And trills the crooning lullabies that living lips lack now,  
For they grow never older here-no blue eyes lose their trust -
No little feet halt in a road begrimed with tears and dust.  
For they are always babies here, and sinless and unstained,
Whose hours to Time immutable for ever-more are chained -  
It lies half-way to Heaven's heights-yet not too far from earth -
The land of babes whom Death has reached from out the gates of Birth!

First published in The Australasian, 17 June 1911

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Lost Song by Zora Cross

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I made a thousand little songs
Of laughing harps and fairy gongs,
That rhymed and chimed melodiously
Of earth and air and sea.

O steadily and true I sang,
The airy bells of verse I rang
Till finer singers read my lays
And gave them tears of praise.

But still my heart is sick with fears,
As high above the singing tears,
I hear the song I cannot sing
Flood my imagining.

For no where in the earth or sea,
Nor in the light and life I share,
Is semblance of that melody
That breathes its soul to me.

And yet in every leaf that swings,
through all the grass the lyric sings,
On every wind's ethereal lyre
It thrills in tones of fire.

Some night when all the air is still,
And not a stir on stream and hill
Will it come crying infant-weak
That song of God I seek?

First published in The Lone Hand, 16 June 1919

Indian Summer by Kathleen Dalziel

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Autumn has filled up her apron with gold,  
And trailed her bright shawl round the edge of the world.
Evening draws in and the dawn goes acold
When the first brittle flag of the frost is unfurled.
But still the clear moonlight in carelessness spills
O'er hillock and hollow a generous store,
So, Indian summer comes over the hills
Soon, soon to be ended and summer no more.

The Pixies have hung their gay lanterns of red
Where the apple bends under its bright autumn load.
There are white veils of mist on the wild mountain head,
And white sprays of dew down the corduroy road,
Like embers aglow on the dead season's pyre
Lit long, long ago by the priesthood of Pan.
The orchard leaves glimmer with glints of gold fire
Where summer passed by with her proud caravan.

Surely, when our little summer is ending
And winter winds find it, a tale that is told,
With colours and warmth from the gift of her lending
Maybe we'll weave us a cloak from the cold,
Love's crystal chalice will drink to the draining.
(Life's little comedy swiftly is o'er.)
While the star of our Eden dips swift to its waning,
And all of a sudden it's summer no more.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 15 June 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

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Moonlit Night by Mabel Forrest

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God had a fancy to make a gem
   Out of the world to-night,
And He used the moon as an emery wheel
   To polish it smooth and bright.

One facet was the crest of a hill,
   Another a shining stream;
And the dust of the wheel He filtered down
   To fashion a lover's dream.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 June 1930

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Autumn Starlings by Kathleen Dalziel

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None so careless of winter's warning
As a starling-troupe on a warm mid-morning
Playing their sweet imperfect pipes,
Clicking inadequate castanets.
Keeping some old-time festival
Some artless musical free-for-all,
With stuttering solos and quaint quartets,
Crooning and clucking, they try and try
In vain for some note that soars too high.

In shimmering suits of metallic black
And blue, they sing till their voices crack.
And then, what happens? Just cluck and chatter
And happy gossip. What does it matter
After all, if noon still lies
Warm on the woodshed's weathered roof?
A sun-bright morning is still enough,
More than enough, in a starling's eyes.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 June 1956

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Old Seamen by Myra Morris

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Along by the river and along by the quay,
Where fresh from the ocean comes a wind blowing free,
The old men, the seamen, sit huddled up and wan,
A-thinking and a-dreaming of the days long gone.

A-thinking and a-dreaming of the old black ships,
Their whiskers a-wagging and the salt on their lips,
With eyes that are rheumy and sticks going tap,
Where the tarred ropes grumble and the grey waves lap.

And ay! but they're back again as they've been before,
Their feet in the damp of a dark fo'c's'le floor,
Tacking up to nor'ard in the fury of a gale,
With a wrenched hull leaking and a snugged down sail.

Only the quay is there, the wide river mouth.
But, ho! they are beating up again from the south,
The wind in the shrouds and the foam at the keel,
Soaring up aloft or straining at the wheel.

Now they're round the Horn with white sails spread,
Tracking up to China or glimpsing Java Head.
They're fast at their moorings by the wee, white towns;
They're lying off the Lizard or anchored in the Downs.

Drifting on the Dogger Bank great sails in the moon,
The wind and the wash and the rigging all a-tune;
Rolling up to Rio on the arms of the sea,
Or down from the Hoogli with a hold full of tea.

With red lights and green lights getting under way,
With sea-boots and oilers that are glistening with spray.
Sheeting home the top-sails, hauling down the jibs,
They're swaying to the tremble of the taut, live ribs.

Rosy in the morning they swing with the tide,
Over from Belfast to the mast-thronged Clyde;
Blaring through the fog with the wind abaft the beam,
Where the white gulls are wheeling in a world of dream.

Whaling-ships front Hudson's Bay and windjammers full,
Coal-hulks and steamers and clippers stowed with wool,
Slim fore-and-afters, barquentines and brigs
And creeping tub, from Persia with brown date, and figs.

But now all the old men are sitting side by side,
Hearing vanished voices in the surge of the tide.
God! There's little left of hearty life to be,
For their lives are behind them in the long, lone sea!

Away past the bar steal the great grey ships;
They are watching them sail with their hearts on their lips.
Oh, they can never go till the full tides are run,
Till the eight bells ring for their long watch done!

First published in The Bulletin, 12 June 1924

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Ancestress by Mabel Forrest

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I do not know why I dreamed last night 
   Of a woman long since dead, 
Of the sunken eyes in their clear youth light 
   And the pale lips warmly red.

I remember once as a tiny child 
   I played in a panelled room, 
And a lady's face on the dark wall smiled 
   From out of the dusk and gloom. 

The painter had given a painted smile 
   To the lips for a grief disguise; 
But the eyes refuted the artist's guile 
   With the sorrow of living eyes. 

For many a year had her portrait hung 
   On the line of the wainscot wall, 
While the saddest songs of the earth were sung 
   Hers were silent in it all.   

I wonder why I should dream last night 
   Of a woman long years dead. 
Her eyes were clear in the dreamland light, 
   Her lips with their warmth were red. 

I looked long in the crystal glass to-day 
   With eyes too tired for tears, 
And the dead one's lips smiled back at me 
   From out of the buried years.

First published in The Queenslander, 11 June 1898

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Seascape by Zora Cross

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Slowly into the purple cup of Night
   Dusk pours the amber wine of daily prayer,
And, as its fragrance scents these pools of light,
   The opal sea-buds blossom everywhere.

Soon, from her palms of fire, the young moon shakes
   Pale rainbow jewels on the wet, brown sand,
While some chaste nymph her bath of sea-foam takes
   Where jade and green the round waves plunge to land.

Then drowsy Night her storied mantle lifts,
   As some red star-dirk slits the velvet fold,
Which, falling where the sea-foam slowly drifts,
   Lights her quick corpse in eddies of pure gold.

First published in The Australasian, 10 June 1916

The Dying Garden by Myra Morris

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I have come back unto this spot most dear,
The garden green that only Beauty knew. 
Where thick upon the boughs of yester-year
Bright flowers blew!

And now grey desolation haunts the place,
And bed and border dreary secrets hold,
Like some long-loved and well-remembered face
Grown tired and old.

Whither has fled the starry clustered green?
The canna's crimson flame, the dewy rose? 
The gladiolus spikes that soared serene?
Alas! who knows?

Oh! silent garden, now the realm of ghosts,
Dark-stemmed, grey-cowled, with clutching finger-rings!
I see them standing there -- dim, huddled hosts
From bygone Springs!

And in the nights, adown each barren walk,
I hear their hands rattling like shaken bones
Above the dusty paths, and hear them talk 
In whispering tones.  

In whispering tones, brushed over with the sighs
Of wind that shuffles through the bleaching grass.
O, gods of rain, and round, white moons, and skies,  
Can beauty pass?

Some night shall I awake to hear the song
Of rhythmic raindrops dancing on the sill,
And looking upward see, throng after throng,
The bare boughs spill

Their silver shakings all along the wind,
Until each in-curled leaf is brimmed with tears?
Oh, tell me I shall yet stoop down and find
The jonquil spears!

First published in The Australasian, 9 June 1923

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Over the Edge of the World by Mabel Forrest

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Over the edge of the world
The little stars dance in a silver ring,
And twitch at the beard of the Comet King,
Till he stamps in his rage and pain,
   Then the moon will laugh 
   Till it splits in half.
And becomes a crescent again. 

Over the edge of the world,
How the big bear rolls in the blue and grunts
When the meteors shoot or Orion hunts, 
A faithful watch the Dog Star keeps
   Against theft or loss
   Of the Southern Cross,
While the beautiful Venus sleeps.   

Over the edge of the world,
I would like to take a big jump some day, 
To trundle my hoop through the Milky Way,  
Right into the heart of the sun,
   From his burning bars  
   Snatch the cool, white stars, 
And cuddle them everyone.  

First published in The Australasian, 8 June 1907

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Poet's Garden by Zora Cross

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When in the long lagoons of slumber sink
   The tired flocks of men surrounding me,
On naked feet I walk the lilac brink
   Of my own Memory.

And in an alley of the hanging air
   Dim blossoms of a garden softly swing
Love lyrics, happy odes, and sonnets fair
   Through my Imaginings.

I lean my cheek upon the garden rail
   Tasting the fragrance of that company,
Who through the ferny aisles and angles trail
   White Immortality.

Odorous daisies from far milky meads
   Waft o'er my wall the innocence of Truth,
And from a pool asway with rhyming reeds
   I breathe eternal Youth.

Oh haply, in some velvet noon of night,
   A glimmering hand, flower-full, will soft unclose,
And slipping through the silence, filmy-light,
   Drop on my heart a rose.

First published in The Bulletin, 7 June 1917

Moonlight Sonata by Mabel Forrest

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As played by Mark Hambourg

Warm is this moonlight! Like a rippling flood 
It softens all the landscape; the high towers 
Are bathed in its effulgence. Here and there 
It smites a deeper blueness to a pool,
Or makes the gross still brighter in its rays, 
Like fine green rain from some pale Indian moon
Seen on the ocean, ere the sun has set.

It spreads across the world; it lips the rim 
Of Heaven, until music melts with stars
And meets and mingles with the angel choirs 
And in a vision, Beethoven is there
Beside a painted window, waiting Her 
Who was his inspiration and his love!

Oh! there was never one moon fair as this!   
It is the essence of a thousand moons, 
That saw proud Cleopatra on the Nile, 
Or Juliet leaning from a balcony.
Its light has drenched the tombs of Egypt's Kings,
Its light has kissed the lips of Pharaoh's Queens,
And turned to gold the shackles of a slave
Till she could almost dream herself a Queen,
Bound only with the chains that passion made. 

Upon a lonely plain where Sargon rode,
Such moons have helped him to a high emprise; 
Shone on the Alps and spurred swart Hannibal 
Who with his fighting elephants has passed, 
Each swaying trunk outlined n silver wire,
Each tusk tipped with the gildings of the moon. 
It has made lovelier the Taj Mahal,
Or danced with pixy wings among the leaves 
Of over-hanging jungles. On bare heights
Where the Pan-Buddhists note the flights of birds,
Such moonshine must have brought them close to God.
By hoary castles on the storied Rhine 
It has spilled silver coins for Lorelei,
And combed their hair with fingers made of light.

There is so much of kindness in its flow 
So much of healing, tenderness, and rest, 
That I can scarce believe its fount is here 
In mortal hands upon mere ivory keys!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 1931 

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Prince Passes by Myra Morris

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For this -- for love of all our freedom brings,
   The roll of drums, the eager, hurrying feet!
   I hear the straining flags that toss and beat
Above the brazen-throated welcomings.
Not of this hour alone the love that springs
   Full-blown at birth, along the surging street!
   Ages have gone to make the thing we greet
In him -- the clear-eyed son of conquering kings.  

Britain is breathing here! Her breath is blown
Far back through each long, time-enshrouded year.  
I hear the marching feet, of liberty,
Their shouts that rocked Carnarvon's rugged stone.
And high above the clamorous crowd I hear 
The shrill crescendo of triumphant sea!

First published in The Argus, 5 June 1920

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

To Sydney by Mabel Forrest

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I sing my love for your city, for she has a voice remembered, 
   A kiss that leaves us a longing for the taste of her lips again, 
And the flame of her sunset's fires by the black or the night is embered, 
   When the Star Troops ride through the heavens and tighten a silver rein.   

I sing my love of your city, the disks of her tall clock towers, 
   The suck of her stealthy wavelets down under the jutting plank,     
The long grey ships in the harbor, the wind and the waft of flowers, 
   The fleck of white on the water, the flash of red on the bank. 

I loved, but I had to leave her, for the days of our bond wore over, 
   And the blue of her blue eye follows, a memory that stings to pain.   
Are you gathering fresh hearts to you, O Sydney, my four weeks' lover?   
   What matter, so comes the season when your smiles are for me again!  

First published in The Sunday Times, 4 June 1911

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Thrushes by Kathleen Dalziel

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The thrushes are singing again; I can hear their delight
   Down leaf-littered aisles where the beaded rain drips from the bushes,
Where autumn's bright candles burn down to the edges of night
   In cinnamon, scarlet and ashes of gold, hear the thrushes!

Before the first wattle flings odorous gifts to the gale,
   Before the first snows to the blossoming almonds belong,
They flute to the early star, luminous, lovely and pale,
   Or herald the dawn with a delicate tribute of song.

It seems that the singers have chanced on a secret divine;
   For, oh, when the sunset dies low into desolate embers,
I guess at a gladness too airily bright to be mine,
   In the magic that mortals forget and the grey bird remembers.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 June 1936

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Ambition's Part by Zora Cross

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There's silence in the city, deep and dark;
   There's solitude beneath the painted glee
Of all, who strive to push their frail barque
   Across the black, unfathomable sea
Of Time. The heated pomp and busy roar
   Is but the raging of that angry sea,
Whose inky waters wash the silent shore,
   The silent sands of Life. We cannot be
What we would be, and so our ship is cast
   Upon the silent seashore, rudderless,
And lost; while we ourselves fall from the mast
   On to the dreary deck, where pitiless
Ambition, rosy with Eternal Life,
   Pours out the contents of her golden urn
Into the naked sea. Thus in the strife
   There comes a silence dim -- thus man doth learn
How small this great world really is -- how mild
   And still is this our life so seeming wild.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 2 June 1909

Sanctuary by Myra Morris

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Beneath the grinning sky, there is no spot,
   With silences enough to shroud my pain;
   Old voices leap again and yet again; 
From out the golden years when grief was not.
I shrink from eyes that question red and hot,
   Eyes mock me from the wind and slanting rain;
   Gone all the sombre peace of stretching plain,
And sea! Ah Christ! I loved and am forgot!

Yet, still there are shut doors I dimly know,
Whose well-thumbed lintels hold each trembling touch!
Within my hand alone there lies the key
To ope me these! One turn and I shall go
Triumphant, freed, not fearing overmuch,
Into the dark of Death's grim Sanctuary.

First published in The Lone Hand, 1 June 1920

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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