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The Gate of Parting by Mabel Forrest

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The little gate of parting leads towards a frowning lane,
And white steps passing thro' the shade to garish light again
A lantern blowing in the wind, all haloed by the rain.

The little gate of parting leads to where the engine stands,
And on the dead face of the clock go round the mourning hands.
Oh, to turn my hour-glass back and stay the slipping sands!

The semaphore against the sky is like a gallows thing;
A flying fox among the trees breaks out on evil wing;
The grate of wheels is on the rail ... and out the long cars swing!

I cannot hear the birds to-day, nor see the sunny skies,
There is such aching in my heart, such sorrow in my eyes ...
And right across our way of love the gate of parting lies!

First published in The Lone Hand, 2 December 1912

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Quest by Zora Cross

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The young moon like a sickle reaped
A field of stars and slept, night-steeped.
"I must be roving," said the boy,
And tightened up his swag of joy.
"My heart cries, 'Follow. Follow on!'
And, mother mine, I would be gone."
The woman at the hearth-stone wept.
The old man in the corner slept.

Oh, north and south and east and west
   They travel old Fortune's road.
But never yet has a man found rest
   Who carried the dreamer's load.

With whistling lips, by bend and creek,
He journeyed week by yellow week.
The wide bush-world of leaf and flower
He scorned in that adventurous hour,
Went singing, singing after him
Unto the blue horizon's rim.
"He'll come no more," the woman said.
The old man shuffled off to bed.

Oh, all the world is a man's to roam
   On the land and the sea's green track;
But many a road that heads from home
   Is the road he never comes back.

The old man's grave is green with grass.
He hears no more the blithe spring pass.
The house is quiet. Cold and shrill
The wind comes whistling up the hill.
And daily, when her toil is done,
And westward slopes the lonely sun,
The woman sets a meal for two,
And waits, and hopes the slow year through.

But north and south and east and west
   He seeks, who never shall find
On the dreamer's road that knows no rest,
   The good that he left behind.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 March 1920

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