The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (November 2, 1936)
New Zealand Verse
New Zealand Verse
I will turn my feet to the hills where green woods grow,
For the years fly fast,
Bearing my youth away; but the winds still blow
In the woods, as in days long past.
I will turn my feet to the woods,
where sweet birds sing
Their ageless song;
And Time will pause on his shining silver wing,
And the golden days grow long.
I will turn my feet to the hills, where cool streams flow;
I will rest and dream,
While the radiant hopes and visions of long ago
Glide by on the silent stream.
I will turn my feet to the woods, for shadows fall
And youth flies fast;
And there, where cool streams flow and swift birds call,
I shall find peace at last.
* * *
Strayed from over the tropic seas,
Rich with odours of shaken trees,
Welcome hither, O sweet newcomer,
Fairy wind of the dawning summer;
Leave the golden glamour of home,
Palm-fronds shading the coral foam,
Scarlet petals and purple trails,
Wide blue waters and wing-like sails;
Here are valleys and glades as fair:
All things wait for your coming there.
Gladden the slave of the toiling town:
Lighten the labour of those weighted down:
Scatter the smoke-cloud heavy and grey:
Chase all cares from the mind away:
Dry the tear on the mourner's cheek:
Bring sweet rest to the worn and weak:
Till the heart grows calm, and the reeling brain
Turns refreshed to its work again.
Blow, soft wind, till the far stars fade,
And the harvest falls to the reaper's blade,
Where leaves are sere and the tuis fly,
And the snow-clouds drift in a sunless sky.
* * *
There are those with the sea in their blood,
Whose hearts lift to its restless beat;
But the sea was never my home,
But the land that is still and sweet.
The hills, they are high and cool,
With the wisdom the long years bring;
But the sea has an urgent cry
That is hot with remembering.
The beat—beat—beat! of the waves
Is like drums from a hidden hill—
A fever of the bone and blood
Not even death can still.
But the pulse of the land is slow—
Is stable and soft and sweet.
The land is the Peace of God,
And a Footstool for His Feet.
Alone in the fields with my horse,
Is peace with the wind and the sun;
And peace will be mine at the Feet of God,
When the brief, sweet dream is done.
* * *
All night white-bodied the falling feather-flakes
Nesting on wall and roof, carpeting every cranny
And alley-way with quiet, heal the world's hurt.
But in the morning always the wheels go
Heedless over the unbroken beauty of the snow.
It was day, and then came night,
Softly, gently, like the flight
Of some winged bird.
And shadows veiled the misty hill,
One lone starling chapped his bill,
No other stirred.
The trees waved leafy arms on high,
Reaching, dimly to the sky,
In silent prayer.
Then slowly came the crescent moon,
Climbing in her silver shoon,
The sky's dark stair.
With head beneath the wing, the birds
In silence slept. No twittered words
Came through the boughs.
Within the folds of evening's gown
The sheep upon the hills lay down,
By drowsy cows.
The steeple of the church held high,
Its pencil finger to the sky,
The great bell tolled.
Then through the dusk, from vale to hill,
The echoes rang and rang, until
The night grew old.
* * *
They say there are no fairies,
But they surely cannot know
Of the revelry at sunset,
When the goblins dancing go
With a whirling and a twirling
To the fairy music low.
Oh, I know, for I have seen them,
Though they thought they were alone.
I was very still and quiet
By a mossy-covered stone.
From the roses and the hedges
And the hollyhocks they came—
Well, perhaps you don't believe me,
But I saw them just the same.