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At the Concert by Mabel Forrest

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All the time in this crowded hall I am thinking of the sea --
   A wave with its sudden tinkling fall,
And a gull's wing flying free,
   And a night sky like a wall,

With tiny cracks where the stars look through
   When the young moon lifts her blind
And runs all naked down the blue,
   The kiss of earth to find.

All the time in this crowded hall I am thinking of the sea,
   Where the yellow lights burn hot and bright
And the crowd move restlessly --
   Oh! the warble of the waters and the comfort of the night!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 25 October 1927

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Circus by Mabel Forrest

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A circle canvas roofed, with thousands of eager eyes
Turned to the roped enclosure, and outside the moonless skies
Gemmed with white stars that speak to some of rest and Paradise.
In the wide outer tent, where still the torches redly flare,
An angry tiger's shuddering cough cuts thro' the heavy air.

Now, high above the trampled ring, the choking sawdust whirl,
All eyes are fixed on the trapeze, where swings a round-limbed girl.
As she with free uplifted hand pins close a straying curl,
A woman screams, and hides her eyes; some coarse-faced seamen laugh;
Paquita blows a kiss to them, amid a storm of chaff.

Paquita! Queen of the Trapeze! Up higher still she goes,      
And now we see her laughing face, as fresh any rose;    
And yet -- a slip -- a sudden fear -- and who among us knows,          
How near death to Paquita in her airy triumph stands.    
She holds her life as lightly as the slim ropes in her hands.   
Outside, along the cool green parks, winds play among the trees,
Beyond, within the chapel walls, the nuns are on their knees,
And here we watch a woman's life a-swing on the trapeze! 
The pagan Roman lives to-night -- these dust choked tents for choice;
Not out of place the quavering cough of that lean tiger's voice!

First published in The Australasian, 22 October 1904

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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