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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1926

Waimakariri — (January 6th, 1926)

page 21


(January 6th, 1926).

This is the last time I shall stand and see
The stars above this valley and its stream—
The last time—and this stream, these stars for me
Henceforth will be distant as any dream.

This is the last time I shall see the hills'
Black circle loom athwart the quiet night,
While the immense deep tide of silence fills
The valley's floor and swallows every height.

The dark still trees, the glimmering tents know
Shiver and cease, as friends whose time to part
Hastens, turn each to each before they go,
And a strange fear strikes swift from heart to heart.

In the red circle where we built our fire
The flames fail; and the crumbling branches fall
From wood to ember, ember to ash; a pyre
Where this last night's last hours have funeral.

I hear the river in its seaward race
Fling its chill waters over sand and stone;
A hundred ice-born torrents to this place
Perpetually leap and speak one tone.

No more, no more this midnight flood will sound
Deep in my ears; no more my face be wet
With spray so thick the very air seems drowned.
Caught in the falling waters' drifted net.

I see afar in darkness whitely stand
The unsealed peaks, the passes we have trod—
These are the ancient dwellers of this land,
Snowed, silent, and remote, each like a god.

After this night I shall not see them more
Like this, nor tread their snows, nor feel their cold,
Yet will they stand, I know, and lift their hoar
Summits towards the stars even as of old.

The stars! the stars! immutable they reign—
Thick in the eyes' full circle throb and burn
Their million fires that stab the heavenly plain—
O frozen peaks! O stars! grant me return!