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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1913

A Plea for New Zealand Poetry

page 39

A Plea for New Zealand Poetry.

New Zealand inherits from the Old World all the wisdom and experience of the Ages,—and makes no return. Considering the excellence of our natural scenery, one gift we may possibly make to the world is a volume of poetry of distinctly local colour.

The gift of Time ye shall requite!
By want and war unawed,
Oh, fashion here a realm of right
And flaunt your faith abroad.
Oh, sing your days of blue and gold
The grey manuka dawn—
And shape your life in beauty's mould
Till Europe's gaze be drawn.

Your hills are red with rata, your hills are white with snow;

Along the ragged skyline the golden sunsets go.

Yet winter's clouds foregather: with grief the dews are wet

Your singers die unheeded, all frail and fruitless yet.

Where Life hath newly spread her wings
A thousand sorrows lurk
Your forests are of noiseless things—
Tangle, jungle, murk.
Your combers surge in ceaseless search
Where skies are grey and cold,
With winter on the bearded birch,
All knuckled, gnarled and old.

Adown the leafy hill-side the pillared torrent breaks;

Athwart the plains of pumice extend the swathed lakes;

Where geysers leap and frolic the sombre craters rise,—

Oh, sing your song of wonder ere yet the glory dies.

Your lives are wed to farm and clod,
And Mammon has your all
And Life is struggling from the sod,
The blossom frets its thrall.

page 40

The kowhai flushing on the hill,
The sprinkle o' the spray,
The poet's voice in wind and rill
Acclaim the newer day!

Oh, ye beyond the sullen seas where Time hath dawned anew,

As life is yours for harvest, garner ye your due.

Oh, read the glory round you gather and cull and sift

Oh, See and Know and Sing it, and fling the world your gift.