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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 2 (May 1, 1940.)

Written at a Picnic

Written at a Picnic.

Here, where the bracken, frustrate by a fence,
Stays at the edges of the green, cleared land;
Here, in the paddock, where the daisies vie
With foxgloves, and the tussock grasses stand;
Here, where a twisted ngaio casts a shade,
And through the quiet daytime sheep still cry
Over the gully that the creek has made;
Here is the truth that is our country, whence
All that is written is not yet enough.
Here are the rotten limbs of old, dead trees.
Though void of life, still they hold life for flame;
Here bold rocks break the hillside—lichen scales
Cling to their surface, and beneath the bluff
There is a hint of fern, while cattle pass
Along the narrow tracks towards a shed.
We've been too fed on dreams that have their ways
Only in Beauty. Beauty alone won't serve.
For man must live by bread, and living, seek
His labour. Sinew and brain and nerve
Go for its winning.
Here is a land that's strong.
Ready for plough or grain. Not unaware,
Nor dreaming, for the days
Have struck a stubborn note within its song.
There's been too much of rata—kowhai gold—
Not yet sufficient of the solid earth.
Not yet the living story has been told,
The spirit that is here of death and bird
And new beginnings, and the sweat of toil,
The smell of animals, the busy creek,
The hunger and the clamour of the soil.

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