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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)

New Zealand Verse

page 30

New Zealand Verse

The Night Express.

Lone midnight's inky, silent hour,
Is rent by mighty man-made power;
The monster of the railway track
With sudden roar comes from the black.
The night express is rushing by,
A serpent with a gleaming eye,
And glowing phosphorescent light
From head to tail—a splendid sight.
A shriek, a snort, a thunderous roar—
Smoke belching from the iron bore;
A tongue of flame, and hissing steam,
A slender, supple, sinewy gleam.
Then all is silent once again
As in the engulfing night the train
Bears ever on its human load
Along the mighty iron road.
Thus, to its task forever true,
The night express goes thundering through.

* * *

The Peace of the Bush.

I have found peace in the woodland dells.
Under the stately trees,
Lulled to sleep by the rustling leaves
And the sighing of the breeze.
I have found peace where the dappled sun
Turns the emerald green to gold,
Twines its way through the foliage,
And chequers the leafy mould.
I have found peace in the fluted notes
Of the tui and wattled crow,
Sounding afar like elfin pipes,
With a melody clear and low.
I have found peace by the waterfall,
Down by the flying spray,
There, where the sound of the world is hushed,
And the rainbow-fairies play.
There I have found the land of peace,
There is the land of rest,
There may I wander alone, alone,
By Nature's beauty blest.

The Madrigal of Buds and Wings.

Come, show me, now, a glimpse of fresher graces
Than Spring's first frieze along the plum trees set;
Her wan tattoo across their ebon faces,
Where starlings clack their bills like castanets.
The grasses flutter green wings without ceasing
And ring-like roads hold bravely in the claw
The jewelled pools whose circled gleams are creasing
Beneath the sleep warm wings of wren and daw.
Behold the purple prime of branches drunken
On cloudy pottles drained of claret rains,
While thrushes shout from cob-webs, winter-shrunken,
“The miracle of Spring has come again!”
And once again the apple buds come creeping
On fragrant feet and ringing bells of bloom,
While spotted eggs are tapped by younglings sleeping
The sleep of ghosts in haunted silken rooms.
Ye lovers! drown your shadows in the river
And make a living mercury that shows,
In silence, with premonitory quivers,
The courtesies of passion to the slow.
Yet, even as ye kiss, the season's ending,
The white dust shifts its dapple from the hedge
To fit a mask to every wind that's bending
Narcissus-like upon the water's edge.

* * *

The Ruahines Under Snow.

The first snows top the Ruahines
The wind blows keen,
A half-moon peeps so shyly,
Cloud wisps between.
The sun shines on the Ruahines,
The first frost lingers;
The day has found its glory
'Neath Winter's fingers.
Moonlight on the Ruahines!
Sunlight's crystal glow!
Serene, adorned for Winter—
The Ruahines under snow.

page 31

Joy of Life.

When I have seen the glory of the sky
At Dawn; have heard the music in the wind;
Seen white mists moving ‘round a mountain high;
Read poetry to treasure in my mind;
Remarked pale sunshine slanting o'er a lake;
Lived in a storm and felt the cold rain wet
My brow; known the warm sun and watched it make
Flow'r petals soft unfold, and so beget
A greater beauty; when I have wandered
Alone by the wind-tossed sea, when the tide
Preys on the land; have waited quiet, and heard
A tui call, and seen it dart aside
Then doth my heart rejoice, my soul uprise;
And is not of this Earth but Paradise!

* * *

A Complex Business.

The practice of culture and learning
Has won many people's support,
And almost each day we are turning
To more intellectual thought.
We revel in using the highly
Elaborate and technical phrase;
But the thing that I mean
Is especially seen
In the psycho-analysis craze!
If you've queer little habits and manners and such,
They say that you're under a complex;
And few are the people who haven't a touch
Of some psychological complex.
And here is a thing I can well guarantee—
That no matter what kind of a man you may be,
When it comes to the facts even you will agree
That you have your particular complex.
When you're bashful and timid and awkward and shy,
You've an inferiority complex;
If to lady companions you give the glad eye,
It's the great femininity complex.
And when taxes are heavy and incomes are small,
The Press and the Government say to us all,
“You must put your unfortunate backs to the wall
And adopt the economy complex.”
You're a fortunate man if you haven't a friend
With the long-distance-radio complex
And a trend that I do not intend to defend
Is the amateur gardening complex.
There are lots of peculiar women and men
Whose habits surprise us again and again;
I have even done strange things myself—now and then—
But why should they call it a complex?

Tea in the Old Times.

The kettle was of iron, and the teapot was of tin;
From long contact with the embers, both had cheeks as black as sin;
But oh, the guests were welcome! They had ridden rugged miles,
Just to find the dancing firelight, and the hospitable smiles.
Lead the horses to the stable; let them have a bit of feed;
They are blown from that last hill-track, and a spell is what they need.
Now draw up the battered arm-chairs; send the children out to play—
They must not hear the gossiping that we shall do to-day!
But they've plenty to amuse them; they can ride and hunt and swim;
Let them picnic on koninis, in the gullies deep and dim.
Let them take old Rover with them; where that dog is, there's no fear;
He will guard the kids from danger, should they meet a charging steer.
Pass your cup!—A little stronger?—You must try our morning's cream!
That new cow, although a kicker, as a milker is a dream.
Have you heard why Smithson sold her?—so the jolly gossip goes,
Till the setting sun is tinting all the tops with tender rose.
Then once more the big tin teapot; some one then is urged to sing;
“Rolling Home to Merry England” has a chorus with a swing.
They were just plain men and women;
Most were poor—a few were “bad,”
But their courage and their kindness
Make their great-grandchildren glad.

(A Waitomo Fantasy.)

In Aranui's magic caves
The little dusky elfmen braves
Dance by the fairy silver light
Of many mystic glow-worms bright.
They stamp their little feet and cry
“Oh, ake ake, haeremai!”
And ‘mid the stalactites they call
To all their fairy fellows small.
Upon the stalacmites they play
A weird and wildsome roundelay;
It echoes through the caverns deep,
It charms the fairy maidens sweet.