November 2014 Archives

Two Nuns by Myra Morris

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Out in the rain I saw two nuns go by,
   Stately as ships, black-robed, I saw them pass,
Their hands like little nesting doves, their feet
   Making no sound upon the grass.

The rain hung silver tassels on their heads,
   And scribbled silver writing down their veils.
The wind nuzzled their heavy skirts and blew
   Along the hems in mimic gales.

Heedless of teasing wind and rain they moved
   Serene within the circle of their trance, 
Their faces pale and rapt, impervious
   Alike to good or evil chance.

I saw their shapes merge with the purple trees,
   Become as trees in the dim, purple light 
Until they vanished (so it seemed) into 
   A world beyond all mortal sight.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 1946

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Incompatibility by Kathleen Dalziel

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My heart is like a hollow bowl
   Emptied of joy and pain.
The desert airs have taken toll,
   The parching droughts remain --
No stored-up vintage of the soul
   Comes brimming back again.

My heart is like a hidden shrine
   The worshippers forgot;
Long spilt the sacramental wine,
   The withered garlands rot --
No slender, starry candles shine
   Where sanctity is not.

My heart is like a shuttered door,
   A little empty room;
No chink of sunlight on the floor,
   No footstep in the gloom,
No voices breaking any more
   The silence of the tomb.

I think that it is better so.
   What use in bringing back
A lovely, tender thing to know
   The torture and the rack? --
The smallness you can not forgo,
   The greatness that I lack.

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 29 November 1927

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Australia in France by Mabel Forrest

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The Germans had our range. We were sitting round in a shell hole. We all expected to "go up" before morning. We sang: "Australia Will Be There." . . . There seemed nothing else to do. - Extract from a Sydney lad's letter from France.

The Huns were pouring fiery death; we had to sit and wait.
We might "go west" any minute, for night opened wide the gate.
We thought of Sydney's wooded hills, the harbour blue and fair,
And we huddled in the crater, for "Australia will be there."

Little red roofs out at Mosman and the lilac of the bays;
And the Heads with foamy fringes and the shifting lighthouse rays:
The shoreward lamps: the ferry-boats that quivering reflex cast --
We knew, although to-night we die -- one memory held fast.

Whatever waited for us when we shuffled off the coil,
Those things were living legacies no German guns can spoil.
'Twas our certain bit of heaven, when hell shrieked the whole night thro';
So they tossed with Death for Honour's sake -- what else can such men do?

First published in The Sydney Mail, 28 November 1917

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

I Heard Persephone Pass by Myra Morris

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I heard Persephone pass
On the thin grass, the pale grass,
And the world broke into a mist of green!
And the curled roots and the new shoots
Thrilled where her feet had been!
I heard Persephone pass,
And the whole earth sang!
And the wee buds rang
In their secret place
In the womb of the warm, brown sod.
And I looked and saw Persephone's face --
And it was the Face of God!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 27 November 1928

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

End of the Rainbow by Kathleen Dalziel

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We ran from a shower of rainbow rain
   Through a scatter of silver drops
That chased the sunlight over the plain
Till the cloud moved on and the bow again
   Was bridging the mountain tops.

We hid in an old gum's hollow bole,
   Watching the white drops dance;
Then all of a sudden soul met soul
And lip met lip, and the patterned whole
   Of our being changed at a glance.

So the tale was never a fantasy,
   A myth or a fairy story.
The crock of gold and the magic key
We found them both at the foot of a tree
   At the end of the rainbow's glory.

Still we are lucky, we two grown old --
   With a joy of a different blend.
Ever so good to have and to hold,
But where, oh, where is the fairy gold
   We found at the rainbow's end?

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 26 November 1952

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Young Colonial Days by Zora Cross

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We are all so old now with our wireless set,
   Our big brass band and latest Paris frocks,
   Our moving pictures, bobbed hair, and jazz socks,
I sigh for scenes the early settlers met
When we were young and fishers cast their net,
   And blackboys dived and sheep went by in flocks,
   Where now aged Commerce keeps the busy docks.
Green birth from brown soil cities soon forget.

And sometimes I go down along the quay,
  And fell wide crinolines and scarlet coats
This way and that enchant the narrow ways.
My heart is filled with old-time ecstasy;
   A hunting chorus rings; a clipper floats --
Ah! Colour of those young colonial days!

First published in The Sydney Mail, 25 November 1925

Fairy Bells by Mabel Forrest

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The fairies rang the Christmas Bells 
At 12 o'clock last night!  
I heard the rain trail down the street, 
Her fingers pale and light,
And yet they spoke, those flower-bells, 
Of colour, warm and bright!  

Orange and red I seemed to see 
On their tall stems asway.
I thought of misty Hawkesbury hills, 
Of river reach and bay,
Until they opened wide the gates 
Of pleasant Far Away.

The fairies rang the Christmas Bells!   
The sky was black with cloud,
Yet through the wash of wind and rain 
Those flower-chimes were loud:
And somehow I was glad of them, 
And somehow I was proud.

First published in The Courier-Mail, 24 November 1933

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

In November by Zora Cross

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Who said the gods were dead? This very morn
I saw Pan tying on one ruddy horn
A sprig of golden broom. And where the foam
Of pink boronia tossed, he made his home.

The creek reeds for his pipe, again he blew
A leafy lay of freedom till he drew
My spirit like a thread of air along,
And mixed me, strangely drunken, with his song.

Time said it was November waiting there
To drown the gold October in her hair.
How could that be when Pan himself arose
And danced for me till I stood on tiptoes;

And took the wind for partner while he played
His old Arcadian music in the glade.
This very, very morn in spite of time,
Piercing his ears with train-shrieks out of rhyme?

First published in The Bulletin, 23 November 1922 

South Wind by Mabel Forrest

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What is the South wind looking for? 
   A sunny day or a sweep of rain? 
A sea to ruffle against a shore,
   Or a Spring that never can come again? 
It harries the jacaranda's sheaf,
And pries and searches beneath each leaf. 

What is the South wind looking for?
   It seems to laugh as it hastens by,
Yet as it swooned to the grassy floor
   Among the daisies I heard it sigh;
By the tendrilled vine o'er the broken fence
I felt its laughter was all pretence! 

What is the South wind looking for?
   It did not pause by the quiet graves; 
It rattled an ivied garden door,
   And flicked the barley to trembling waves,
And out where the clover led the bees 
It hid a moment behind the trees.

What is the South wind looking for?
   Something the North wind could not find,
Something the bitter West wind swore 
   Was his as he left the world behind. 
I know by its fitful, breathless pace
There are tears not far from the South wind's face!

And it moans defeat at my window now,
   With one last wild hope as it scales the wall
And tugs at the silky oak's tough bough  
   For a tawny blossom that will not fall;
Then I hear it sink with its baffled cries,
Till beyond blue ranges the South wind dies.

First published in The Australasian, 22 November 1924

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Valley by Kathleen Dalziel

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As I look down the valley, these sleepy summer days,
Its bowl is overbrimming with a fine blue haze, 
And through the sunshot dimness the parrots dart and twist,
As painted fishes flick about a pool of amethyst. 

The river, running summer-low among the summer reeds,
Lies along the valley like a glimmering string of beads;
Soft-foot and slowly, she runs, her green pools glassing
The feathery ranks that scarcely stir to motion at her passing.

Here, where the shining leaves reflect a thousand suns,
All day long the bell birds toll their sylvan carillons;
Airy chime and change again, silver clear and strange,
Fairy anvils ringing in the fastness of the range.

Fairy anvils faltering and dying out away,
Where sunset is a glory round the rosy death of day;
And all along the valley evening gathers up
All the early darkness in her cool dim cup . . . 

Time has gleaned so many joys and dried so many tears,
And I only see the valley now across the mist of years.
Twenty years from Melbourne Town, and close to Avalon,
In the glory of the valley in a summer that is gone!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 November 1931

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Foxgloves by Myra Morris

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Facing the dusty street,
   All along the wall,
The foxgloves stand there dreaming,
   Slender and tall,
Shaking their lovely bells
   That float before they fall.

Shaking their lovely bells,
   Lilac, white, and rose,
They lift their fretted linings,
   And carelessly disclose
The cool green of their secret hearts
   With every wind that blows.

Voiceless they dream all day,
   But in the thick, dark hours,
Ghostly little chimings
   Ring from their trembling towers --
An airy music far away
   From tall, town-rooted flowers.

Sweet sounds of summer things --
   The songs of latticed lanes
Are there behind that tinkling --
   The creak of old hay-wains --
The trill of larks among the corn,
   And the croon of English rains!    

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 1937

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

An Old Bush Road by Kathleen Dalziel

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There's a distant roadway winding
   Downward by the sea,
Thro' the lanes where dog-woods flower,
   'Neath the wattle tree.
Thro' the slip-rails, 'cross the river,
   Up the hills and down,
Till the waters flash and quiver,
   Close by Burnie town.

Riding down to Burnie town,
   Burnie by the sea,
Past the paddocks, green and brown,
   Green and golden lea;
Bracken braes with briar strewn
   All the pathway down
Lead to where the waters croon,
   Close by Burnie town.

There the silver showers fleeting
   Drench the green-clad hills,
Where the nodding ferns are curling
   By the crystal rills.
There the magpies gay are culling
   All the dewy dawn,
To the noisy water brawling
   'Twixt its banks of lawn.

Summer snows the fields with clover,
   Golden Cape-Weed gay,
With the brown bees roaming over
   All the livelong day.
Down the gale the bushland flowers
   Fling their incense strange,
Dusky blue the haze is deep'ning
   On the distant range.

There's a distant road that's leading
   Past the autumn hedge,
Where the tangled brushwood serries
   Cliff and messy ledge;
There are white clouds floating over
   In the clear, soft blue --
Like a heart-sick absent lover,
   Dear, I think of you.

Winter and the frost flung over
 Like q bridal veil;
Youth and Joy together laughing
   Long have left the dale;
And a spectral shadow striding
   Throws my castles down-
Shall I never more go riding
   Down to Burnie town.

Riding down to Burnie town,
   Burnie by the sea,
Past the paddocks, green and brown,
   Green and golden lea.
Now the path is lost for aye,
   Lost to you and me.
Oh! the world is sad and grey.
   Burnie by the sea!

First published in The Bulletin, 19 November 1908

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Jacarandas by Mabel Forrest

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In purpling patches on the path the fallen blossoms lie,
   Unfettered blooms that every breeze  
   Drifts downward, from the laden trees,
Heaped clouds of mauve, against the blue of an unclouded sky.  

Set thick about the open parks the jacarandas rise, 
   Transformed by Spring's uplifted wand,   
   They make the earth a fairy land,
Where slum'bring in the drowsy noon, the hill-bound city lies.  

Blue skies, gay buds, and misty hills, I want to see you only,  
   I would forget that far-off place,
   That dreary sweep of wind-swept space,  
And o'er the hare and flow'rless plain, a horseman riding lonely.

Beneath this bloss'ming tree I wait, in green, gold-flickered gloom,
   With Springtide laughing everywhere, 
   And all about me tender, fair,  
The squandered wealth, of jewelled mauve, in jacaanda bloom.

I wait, and know love comes to me, sweet as fresh love is only ...
   Ah! to forget that old, old pain,
   That barren wild and wind-swept plain,
And by the dark brigalow patch, a horseman riding lonely.

First published in The Australasian, 18 November 1905;
and later in
The Capricornian, 25 November 1905.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Wait-a-While by Zora Cross

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Enchanted morning took my hand,
   We walked an airy mile
Through buttercup and daisyland
   Two dreams to wait-a-while.

The paths were all of shining gold,  
   And by a mossy pool,
A podgy froggie aeons old
   Was ringing time to school.

The schoolhouse was a sugarloaf,
   The cane a chocolate stick,
Each scholar, wisehead, dunce, and oaf,
   Assembled tick by tick.

And when the teacher called the roll
   Each answered, "By and by."
At Wait-a-while the school was droll,
   You never heard a sigh.

The lessons made you laugh to learn.
   Two sunbeams make a smile
Was the worst sum; for tables turn
   In school at Wait-a-While. 

If anything was hard to do,
   Like turn and turn about,
The pupils turned the teacher blue,
   By shouting, "School is out." 

When last I picked a buttercup 
Of dreams at Wait-a-while, 
The holidays were shutting up
The school with half-a-smile.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November 1934

Her Heart was Like a Violin by Myra Morris

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Her heart was like a violin
   Upon whose strings there strayed
Only the singing of the earth--
   The songs that nature made.  

There roamed the voices of the winds,
   The croon of lazy seas,
And little muted murmurings
   Of summer-sleepy bees.

There soared the song of loosened floods
   That laced the waterfalls--
The whisper of uncurling buds--
   A blackbird's madrigals!

Her heart was like a violin
   That sang undreamed of things,
And beauty was the magic bow
   That swept those living strings!

First published in The Australasian, 16 November 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Children's Bogey Hole by Mabel Forrest

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Ringed round with whispering rushes,
   And many a giant bole,
Of drooping grey-leaved gum trees tall, 
Where magpies lilt and scrub doves call
   Lies the children's bogey hole. 

A circle silvered over,
   It gleams beneath the moon,
Reflecting here a glimm'ring star, 
Or arch of sky so deep and far,
   A dreaming, still lagoon.

Ghost-like, the slender kangaroos
   Slip down to drink their fill; 
A tawny dingo slinks across
Damp beds of golden-hearted moss,
   Below the scrub-flanked hill.

Along the banks the couch grass grows,
   Close fibred like a mat;
And thro' the water's gentle wash
   There comes the sudden jerky splash 
Made by a water rat.

When roses blush about the east,
   And clouds of light unroll,
With laugh and shout from out their home 
The sturdy station children come
   To rush the bogey hole.

Wild waves rise on the mimic sea,
   And in the water grass
A shining black snake swims far down
Among the tree roots gnarled and brown,
   To let the children pass.

Ringed round with whispering rushes,
   And many a giant bole
Of drooping gum trees gaunt and grey, 
Where mirth and frolic hold their sway,
   Lies the children's bogey hole.  

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 15 November 1905

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Graves of the Pioneers by Kathleen Dalziel

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Back where the ragged scrub-line surges 
   Away to the hot horizon's line, 
Out where the winds croon eerie dirges 
   Night and day through the dusty pine.

Where only the Spring weaves flowers for token, 
   And only the dew leaves quiet tears, 
They lie by the heights and the foothills broken, 
   The graves of the first lone pioneers. 

Scattered afar, through nature's hallways 
   Of towering ash or tossing palm, 
West by that central plain that always 
   Keeps inviolate dreadful calm. 

And we, who walk in the crowded places 
   Where arc lights flare and swift wheels go,     
(Careless crowds among crowding faces), 
   Little remember the debt we owe. 

To those who lie there all unrequited 
   Where the grass-tree raises its velvet spears 
In the vast cathedral of God, star lighted, 
   The outpost graves of the pioneers. 

First published in The Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 14 November 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Daisy by Zora Cross

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Our little Paul has grown a daisy white.
   All snowy frills of petals soft and fair,
   It stands erect for him in the Spring air.
Nought gave a child, I think, more pure delight.
He kneels by it each morning, brown and slight.
   Its small still life he stoops to know and share.
   I hear him asking it when none is there
If it shuts up and sleeps through the long night.

O happy flower, in lovesome solitude,
   Calling a child to worship morn by morn,
Has the earth breathed you in remembrance
Of all the daisies man has ever viewed?
   And do they dream again for him, new-born
In the frank wonder of Paul's baby glance?

First published in The Bulletin, 13 November 1924

The Red Umbrella by Mabel Forrest

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Past the window-box and curtain.
Curtain blowing in the south wind,
Come the voices of the women
With their endless petty chatter
Where they hold exhaustive meeting --
Some important weekly meeting --
And they're talking -- talking -- talking --
O'er the tea the stout charwoman
Brings them to their caucus-stronghold.
Sometimes it's the new-got housemaid,
Who is subject for their gossip,
Sometimes someone's yearly baby
Or the vicar's evening party.
Mrs. Parson danced the tango,
And they think she shouldn't do it.
One explains she's near to forty,
And we lose our spring at forty,
Or we have no right to keep it.
So they chatter o'er their stitching,
Making woollen socks for soldiers
With their patriotic fingers,
And their thoughts on mundane matters.
Since the War 'tis somehow easier
To get parlor maids who suit you,
Though they will insist on Sundays
To walk out with different soldiers.
And, perhaps, out in the country
You'll get cooks without much trouble.
Mrs. Backblock got a good one --
And they think the Labor party
Will not now be quite as cocky
Since hard times for all are coming.
So they stitch and knit and chatter
And the south wind blows my curtain
O'er a straggling bulb, the summer
Tries to coax from its long slumber.

Talk moves on to lighter matters;
Someone has a red umbrella,
And they think that black were fitter,
Or a grey -- like a destroyer.
People should go somewhat downcast
For the sake of murdered Belgians;
And our own men in the trenches,
While my fancy limns her features --
The slim, young. unthinking woman
Who has bought a red umbrella
While the nation goes in mourning.

I feel she is pale and Spanish;
Sure her hair is dark and heavy,
And her eyes are pools of darkness,
And her lids are fringed with lashes
Like the charcoal black of timber
Where the bush fire swept across it.

And I know that men will like her,
For she seems not loved by women:
And I know hers is the temper
To send men hot-foot to battle,
Keeping up a sinking spirit,
Keeping up the snare of glory,
And down in the sodden trenches
Men will dream of splendid sorties
To the blare of many bugles,
And some foolish, noble action
Done to save a rag, the dyer
Marks with red and blue, to make it
Redder with the red life fluid --
Just because two brown eyes watched him
When he marched away in khaki;
Just because two small hands clapped him
Even though he could not trust her,
Even though. deep in his bosom,
Stirred a little snake that whispered:
"When you're gone some other fellow
Will try hard to count those lashes
Sheltered by that red umbrella;
And because you cross the ocean
He, perhaps. will count them closer."

Past the window-box and curtain,
Where I dawdle in my office
Come the voices of the women
Feeling very brave and ample,
Making kit-bags for the soldiers,
Knitting socks for battle treaders.
And discussing babes and servants.
She won't knit a sock -- I know it --
If she did she'd drop the stitches;
But she'll give the kind of glances
That make ramrods of the backbone;
And her face, across the battle,
Will come drifting like a challenge
Making spent men fight like devils
That the smoking surge may hurry
Up the bloody slope of Victory.
And they may return to find her
Smiling 'neath the red umbrella,
Saying she has not forgotten.
Whether they will quite believe it
Will not matter....when they're counting
Close again those long eyelashes.

Chatter on, O busy women!
Drink your tea without much sugar
(Somehow I am sure 'tis never
Strong and black. but pale and milky),
And say things about your servants
And run down the Labor party.
Really you don't make me angry
Till the wind brings in your comment
On the merry unknown woman,
And I feel inclined to lean out
From the window of my office,
Fling a glove into the circle,
While I shout in thundering accents
To your virtuous amazement:
"I, for one, am glad she bought it!"

First published in The Bulletin, 12 November 1914

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Street Behind the Elms by Myra Morris

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Tall houses built of ugly brick
   Stand squeezed together in a row  
Along the dull, suburban street
   Where roaring trucks and tram-cars go
And people swinging shopper's bags
   On hollow heels pass to and fro.

The elms beside the paving stones
   Beside the gutters swept and clean,
Have put on sticky garnet buds
   And whorls of pallid, chalky green;  
And threads of jade and amber run  
   Where boughs as bare as bones have been.

Between the elms shop-windows show
   Humdrum with shoes and soap and cakes,
But when the wind uncoils itself
   From dusty little nooks and shakes
Upon the air a lovely gale
   Of flurrying green and gauzy flakes.

The street takes on a magic look
   Behind that airy dancing veil.
The tall, drab buildings move in mist,
   Their shadowy walls rose-tinged and frail,
And all the people passing by
   Are people in a fairy-tale.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 1944

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Content by Zora Cross

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Give me nor fame
Nor fortune. The same 
Unto me praise
Or blame these days.

Good sleep, sound health, 
I have true wealth. 
A herb plot, a rose,
My own door to close.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 1934

The Temple by Kathleen Dalziel

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I would go out to-night into God's garden  
   Could I the locust-eaten years redeem.
So strange it is, and difficult to pardon,  
   The gulf between the dreamer and the dream.
'Tis long since I have found Him when high dome
   And spire out-leap the house-encumbered hill,
But when night veils the grape blue hills of home
   At close of day I think he walks there still.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 9 November 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Poet by Myra Morris

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This do I say:
   I am a reed of Pan
Blown out of a blue day!
   Muted within the walls of man,
Where green gods throng,
   I play
My song!

The sun, the moon
   Find marvellous voice in me.
I pipe the lost wind's tune.
   My hollow stem doth hold a bee,
In me runs rife
   The rune
Of life!

A reed of Pan!
   A slender, shaken thing,
Made for so short a span!
   Yet the wild music that I sing
Shall linger on
   When man
Is gone!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 8 November 1927

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Magpies in the Moonlight by Kathleen Dalziel

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Soft veils of pearl shut out the sunset fires,
   Faint moonshine floods the sombre wooded plain;
The dews along the threaded fencing-wires
   Are thick as beaded chains of amber rain,
On such a night as this how memory lingers
   In dim lost vales by fairies sentineled,
Hearing in haunted glades the leafland singers,
   The magpies in the moonlight at Dunkeld.

All day long they fluted to the valleys,
   Flung largesse, of song across the blue,
At dawn and dusk along the red-gum alleys
   They sang their matins, said their vespers through.
Should they not be weary at day's winging,
   Tired of the gladness all the bright hours held?
Or are September days too short for singing?
   Is the moonshine sunlight for them at Dunkeld?

The camphor-laurels lean across the garden
   The trembling briar scatters silver tears,
The guardian cypress still keeps watch and warden:
   Its shadow seem to point across the years.
I am caught between the now and yesterday.
   Hearing, before my dreaming be dispelled
The liquid minstrelsy. the wood notes gay,
   In long moon-dappled shadows at Dunkeld.

The red-gums keep their royal splendor still
   The lilac's green and silver after rain;
Through leafy choirs across the quarried hill
   The woodland music swells, and dies again.
And on the golden gales of new Septembers
   Like wind-blown magic, joyous, silver-belled,
Faintly and far away, my heart remembers
   The magpies in the moonlight at Dunkeld,

First published in The Bulletin, 7 November 1928

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Tea-tree Blossom by Myra Morris

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The wide beaches gleam with a glint of golden money,
   The brown nets are tight in the little fishing ships,
The wind sweeps the heath-plains bringing scents of honey,
   And ruffling the pools on the narrow sandy strips.
Long since have vanished all the winter's stormy terrors,
   But a thin, white spray frosts the tattered tea-tree tips.

For the tea-tree's out in the wild, wild reaches,
   The tea-tree's burst into blossom small and frail,
Painting the air of the blue-rimmed beaches,
   From Half-Moon Bay on to windy Aspendale!
There's a white rain blown to the sea's faint edges, 
   Where Carrum lies with her paths spread pale;
And the white gulls sweep over whiter branches
   Where Chelsea sleeps 'neath a filmy-petalled veil.

The wee, rosy buds that, breaking whitely, waken,
   Look toward the sea with its boats and crusted piles.
Tangled, tortured branches that the savage storms have shaken,
   Bursting into blossom over miles, and miles and miles!
Bursting into sweetness while the flitting wrens are singing,
   And the happy lovers wander down the sun-splashed, leafy aisles!

For the tea-tree's out where the sea-wind races --
   The wild, red cliffs and the shores are a-blow!
Its scent stays caught in the little sunny places
   Where the pig-face curls and the green-hoods grow.
Black Rock swims in a haze half-crowing,
   White clouds heap on the sky and down below,
The faint air breaks in a mist of magic
   Where Frankston dreams 'neath a drift of petalled snow!

First published in The Bulletin, 6 November 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Secret Lover by Zora Cross

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Nunlike as lone Heloise,
Mid the summer hum of bees,
By Love's questing eyes unseen,
Lily read in linnet green.

All her book was brown with age;
White dreams bloomed on every page.
Fairy wine too sweet to sip
From the wild words seemed to drip.

Like the phantom of a wood
Sitting in a leafy hood,
Lost in holy loveliness,
Lily read, in her green dress:

"Ladye, ladye, laughter dwells,
Hushed as little blossom bells,
All along the leaves you turn;
Turn your eyes, lest mine should burn!"

But the nunlike Lily reads,
Nor her secret lover heeds,
Singing softly in her ear
Forest songs of a green fear.

Richer grows the tale and rare
Of a ladye wondrous fair --
She enchanted on a day
Lost a million years away --

"Barley bread he brought her in,
Set it in a wooden bin.
Wine they drank; and when they sang
Spring from winter slumber sprang."

So she read and turned the leaf --
"Ladye, ladye, bride of grief,
Look at me!" She only said
"Poetry is holy bread."

"Ladye, ladye, I am here."
From the book in elfin fear
Out her secret lover leapt.
Nunlike Lily sighed and wept.

From his lips she sipped the bliss
Of a red enchanted kiss.
Love, who sought her, sought in vain;
Lily dreamed away again.

Like a leafy dryad now
Underneath a rose-red bough --
Comely April, madcap May --
Lily reads the livelong day.

Bleating lambs the valley fill:
Black kids plunge along the hill.
Root, nor weed, nor herb nor flower
Charm her from her story bower.

Love, with many a longing look,
Sighs upon her open book.
"Ladye," wooes her wild book lover
Safe between each rosy cover.

Her he feeds on spicy things
To the murmurous lisp of wings
Floating in a stilly tune
Underneath an olden moon.

Flowery lanes of a lost day
Twenty thousand worlds away,
Stars above the balconies,
June joy under lilac-trees --

These she knows and something more,
Strolling by a fairy shore.
Leafy altars, sleepy kine
Glimmer through the woodland vine.

Dulcet songs of ladies fair.
Barons bold without a care.
Baskets of lush loveliness --
These are in each leaf's caress.

And for ever, skylark clear,
Through the laughter of the year,
"Ladye, ladye, ladye sweet!"
Sings that lover at her feet.

"Lily, turn and look at me,
Lily made for poesy!
Lily, in my eyes behold
That which never may grow old!"

"Ladye, ladye, ladye dear.
Do not heed him, do not hear!
What can mortal lover give
When immortal you may live?

"Spicy heights of autumn call;
Climb across my wizard wall.
Ladye, ladye, by my spell
In my secret garden dweII."

Lily listens like a maid
Under charm of faery laid;
Lily would give Love her hand
At his earnest, quick command;

But her phantom lover wooes.
"Ladye, ladye!". . . . Will she choose
Crying love with human eyes
Or her ghost of Paradise?

First published in The Bulletin, 5 November 1925

The 'Cello by Mabel Forrest

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Long waves of grey regret on beaches lost, 
   Or glimmering thro' the fabric of a dream
An empty boat upon a pale sea to'st,
   Or, seen thro' driving mist, a lighthouse gleam: 
Sand winds in pines, a pathway on a hill 
Rain swept and desolate, and haunted still,
   A forest without end of dark boled trees;
   A fern brake, full of crouching mysteries.  

Straight lines of chairs a large, slow-moving fan; 
A row of footlights, and a small stout man 
   Drawing the echoes of old tragedies  
   From the brown 'cello gripped between his knees.

First published in The Australasian, 4 November 1916

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Revelations by Zora Cross

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Looking for angels' wings he found 
A bird at rest upon the ground.
Searching for Faith that very hour 
A bud unfolded to a flower.
Longing for Love, up to his knee 
A dog trotted devotedly.  
Yearning for Hope again came one
To be his friend ere day was done.
Seeking for Truth each step he trod - 
Some manifestation of God -
Into his doubting face there smiled
The trusting eyes of his own child.    
First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 1936

The Pale Queen of Elfland by Myra Morris

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The Pale Queen of Elfland
   Came to my dwelling bare.
Dewdrops were on her fingers
   And stars within her hair.

The Pale Queen of Elfland
   Came riding on the wind:
"Ride with me to World's Ending!"
   I rode, and rode behind.

We passed by hill and moorland,
   We passed by pencilled steep.
"All of the world's white magic
   I shall give to you to keep! 

"All of the world's white magic
   I shall give you, dear, my dear,
If your heart has known no sorrow,
   If your eyes have shed no tear!"

If my heart had known no sorrow!
   I laughed and fell behind,
And the Pale Queen of Elfland
   Was gone upon the wind!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 2 November 1926

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Lost Kiss by Mabel Forrest

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So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
For I gave it to the Night:
And it flew as high as the furthest star.
And hung like a point of light,
Till an earth-bound soul leaned o'er Heaven's rim
With old memories made sad,
And it nestled close in the angel-hand --
The kiss that you should have had!

So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
Why, I gave it to the Night;
And it flitted out to a flower's face
On a moth-wing soft and white;
And a rocking bud with a broken stem,
By the day time drouth left sad,
Gathered it as dew to her wilted breast --
The kiss that you should have had!

So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
Oh! I gave it to the Wind;
And it brushed the tears from a maiden's eyes
Whom a false love had made blind;
And the slow smile grew on her trembling lip
With a trust renewed and glad.
'Twas like the touch of a magic wand --
The kiss that you should have had!

So you lost a kiss that you meant to gain?
Why, I gave it to the Wind;
And it went the way of the severed heart,
That never its mate can find...
But at eve, when the dusk is on the trees
And your heart beats low and sad,
'Twill come winging back through the dark to you --
The kiss that you should have had!

First published in The Lone Hand, 1 November 1909

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

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