I sought the fragrance of the Roses' breath
Bending beneath their burden of sweet dew.
How could I reconcile the thought of death
With blooms which in such matchless beauty grew?
I sought the Lily, pure as a pale bride.
So stately with its waxen petals wet,
Green-stemmed and slender, and it gently sighed,
"Yet a few days and all my sun is set."
I sought the woods wherein the whispering wind
Chanted a lullaby into my listening ear,
And faintly came an echoing voice behind,
"E'en as the leaves I change and disappear."
I sought old Ocean with its ceaseless moan
Flinging white clinging arms of spumy spray
To grasp the shore, then in a solemn tone
It made reply, "I too must pass away."
I sought the Stars which in their orbits sway
And just as day obscures their brilliant light
The star of Faith, though doubt may cloud the way,
Illumes with fervent glow the mists of night.
Oh! earth. Oh! heaven. Oh! death, which is but Life,
That still small voice within doth ever say,
Here for a season set amid the strife,
Live thou thy best for all must pass away.
Passing away where crowns and sceptred right
Kings lowly meekly lay before the Throne
And saints with creeds, and sinners, in the light
Of God's great dawn, will worship Him alone.
First published in The Brisbane Courier, 19 November 1913;
and later in
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920; and