To The Poet
WHAT cares the rose if the buds which are its pride
Be plucked for the breast of the dead or the hands of a bride?
The mother-drift if its pebbles be dull inglorious things,
Or diamonds fit to shine from the diadems of kings?
Sing, O poet, the moods of thy moments each
Perfect to thee whatever the meaning it reach.
Let the years find if it be as a soulless stone,
Or under the words which hide there be a glory alone.
Ah, happy air that, rough or soft,
May kiss that face and stay;
And happy beams that from above
May choose to her their way;
And happy flowers that now and then
Touch lips more sweet than they!
But it were not so blest to be
Or light or air or rose;
Those dainty fingers tear and toss
The bloom that in them glows;
And come or go, both wind and ray
She heeds not, if she knows.
But if I come thy choice should be
Either to love or not --
For if I might I would not kiss
And then be all forgot;
And it were best thy love to lose
If love self-scorn begot.
The Boundary Rider
THE BRIDLE reins hang loose in the hold of his lean left hand;
As the tether gives, the horse bends browsing down to the sand,
On the pommel the right hand rests with a smoking briar black,
Whose thin rings rise and break as he gazes from the track.
Already the sun is aslope, high still in a pale hot sky,
And the afternoon is fierce, in its glare the wide plains lie
Empty as heaven and silent, smit with a vast despair,
The face of a Titan bound, for whom is no hope nor care.
Hoar are its leagues of bush, and tawny brown is its soil,
In that immensity lost are human effort and toil,
A few scattered sheep in the scrub hardly themselves to be seen;
One man in the wilderness lone; beside, a primaeval scene.
Firm and upright in his saddle as a soldier upon parade,
Yet graceful too is his seat, for Nature this horseman made;
From childhood a fearless rider, now like a centaur he,
And half of his strength is gone when he jumps from the saddle-tree.
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A Riverina Road
Now while so many turn with love and longing
To wan lands lying in the grey North Sea,
To thee we turn, hearts, mem'ries, all belonging,
Dear land of ours, to thee.
West, ever west, with the strong sunshine marching
Beyond the mountains, far from this soft coast,
Until we almost see the great plains arching,
In endless mirage lost.
A land of camps where seldom is sojourning,
Where men like the dim fathers of our race,
Halt for a time, and next day, unreturning,
Fare ever on apace.
Last night how many a leaping blaze affrighted
The wailing birds of passage in their file;
And dawn sees ashes dead and embers whited
Where men had dwelt awhile.
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