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

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 7, 2014 8:00 AM.

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