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Arthur Bayldon

Night-Silence

The patient stars are shining large and clear;
The crescent moon hangs like a tilted bowl;
So calm, so still, that I can almost hear
Thoughts stirring in the chambers of my soul.

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Sunset

The weary wind is slumbering on the wing:
Leaping from out meek twilight's purpling blue
Burns the proud star of eve as though it knew
It was the big king jewel quivering
On the black turban of advancing night.
In the dim west the soldiers of the sun
Strike all their royal colours one by one,
Reluctantly surrender every height.

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To America in 1915

We watch your attitudes with candid eyes:
Plain men are we, not given much to prate,
Bluntly sincere, keenly compassionate
But lions in our wrath at treacheries;
Britons are we though under Austral skies
And of our lineage proud, fearless of Fate
For we have stamped our manhood with the great
Traditions – Britain's glorious legacies.

We've given ample proof we are a friend
Pledged to the truths your Pilgrim Fathers kenned,
The pure ideals of a people free
Which – are you blind? – our British arms defend
From ravages of vandals that would rend
The very vitals of Democracy.

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Why I am Poor

Because, my friends I have a savage glee
In drinking to the dregs the draughts of life
And love to feel my spirit spreading free,
Stretching itself through every calm and strife
Or stealing through the secret souls of others;
Because, thank God! I'm made of simple stuff
And prize the friendship of my ragged brothers;
Because I love my liberty enough
To starve for it at times; because, forsooth,
I do not flout my manhood for a fee
Or care a straw for anything but Truth
And the warm pulse of human sympathy;
Because, in brief, I want no worldly wealth
But riches of the soul and buoyant health.

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Marlowe

With eastern banners flaunting in the breeze
Royal processions, sounding fife and gong
And showering jewels on the jostling throng,
March to the tramp of Marlowe's harmonies.
He drained life's brimming goblet to the lees;
He recked not that a peer superb and strong
Would tune great notes to his impassioned song
And top his cannonading lines with ease.
To the wild clash of cymbals we behold
The tragic ending of his youthful life;
The revelry of kisses bought with gold,
The jest and jealous rival and the strife,
A harlot weeping o'er a corpse scarce cold,
A scullion fleeing with a bloody knife.

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The Sea

Ere Greece soared, showering sovranties of light,
Ere Rome shook earth with her tremendous tread,
Ere yon blue-feasting sun-god burst blood-red,
Beneath thee slept thy prodigy, O Night!
Aeons have ta'en like dreams their strange, slow flight,
And vastest, tiniest, creatures paved her bed,
E'en cities sapped by the usurping spread
Of her imperious waves have sunk from sight
Since she first chanted her colossal psalms
That swell and sink beneath the listening stars;
Oft, as with myriad drums beating to arms,
She thunders out the grandeur of her wars;
Then shifts through moaning moods her wizard charms
Of slow flutes and caressing, gay guitars.

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Crabs

(Written on the Queensland Beach)

Poisonous, bloated, crab-like shapes
Crawl in gangs around these capes—
Stopping here and feeding there;
Listening, crawling everywhere;
Searching every rotten weed
With a frothing wild-eyed greed;
Fighting o’er a lump of scurf,
Or a red boil of the earth;
Thrusting up their writhing claws
To their grinning, fiend-like maws.
And these horrid creatures wet
With a thick unwholesome sweat
Have most hideous banquets here
On the poor drowned marineer.
Down they hurry eagerly,
Chittering all the way with glee;
They have smelt the tainted air
From that body festering there.

[...] Read more

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Crabs

(On a Queensland Beach)

Poisonous, bloated, crab-like shapes
Crawl in gangs around these capes-
Stopping here and feeding there,
Listening, crawling everywhere;
Searching every rotten weed
With a frothing, wild-eyed greed:
Fighting o'er a lump of scurf
Or a red boil of the earth;
Thrusting up their writhing claws
To their grinning, fiend-like maws.
And these horrid creatures wet
With a thick, unwholesome sweat
Have most hideous banquets here
On the poor drowned marineer.
Down they hurry eagerly
Chittering all the way with glee:
They have smelt the tainted air
From that body festering there.

[...] Read more

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To Poesy

These vessels of verse, O Great Goddess, are filled with invisible tears,
With the sobs and sweat of my spirit and her desolate brooding for years;
See, I lay them -- not on thine altar, for they are unpolished and plain,
Not rounded enough by the potter, too much burnt in the furnace of pain;
But here in the dust, in the shadow, with a sudden wild leap of the heart
I kneel to tenderly kiss them, then in silence arise to depart.

I linger awhile at the portal with the light of the crimsoning sun
On my wreathless brow bearing the badges of battles I've fought in not won.
At the sound of the trumpet I've ever been found in thy thin fighting line,
And the weapons I've secretly sharpened have flashed in defence of thy shrine.
I've recked not of failure and losses, nor shrunk from the soilure of strife
For thy magical glamour was on me and art is the moonlight of life.

I move from the threshold, Great Goddess, with steps meditative and slow;
Night steals like a dream to the landscape and slips like a pall
   o'er its glow.
I carry no lamp in my bosom and dwindling in gloom is the track,
No token of man's recognition to prompt me to ever turn back.
I strike eastward to meet the great day-dawn with the soul of my soul

[...] Read more

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The Dead Poet

Never again shall he with wizard sleight
Ensare on threshold of his soul the bright
Unearthly splendors that would oft alight,
And in the magic web of melody
Display them flashing as when they were free.
Never again shall he be inflamed by Spring
Soar to the gods to hear Apollo sing
Songs ah! so sweet and with so tense a lyre
They seemed as nectar flowing through white fire.
Never again shall he fold truths in rhyme
And thrust them clinging 'neath the wings of Time,
Shape a fine fancy with unfaltering taste,
Fondling the colors that the sounds embraced;
Or with eyes dim from dreaming watch the slow
Ascending sun's plume on a fervid glow,
And pinions palely spreading far away;
Or hear at night, when on his couch he lay,
The moaning of the moonlit toiling sea
With burden of o'erwhelming memory,
Seeming to carry in an undertone

[...] Read more

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