Friday, 9 February 2018

The Forty Mile Bush - Austral

Fan in the forest’s aromatic shade
     We rode, one afternoon of golden ease;
The long road ran through sunshine and through shade,
     Lulled by the somnolent stories of the trees.

Sometimes a bell-bird fluted far away,
     Sometimes the murmur of the leafy deep,
Rising and falling all the autumnal day,
     Rolled on the hills and sank again to sleep.

Mile after mile the same. The sky grew red,
     And through the trees we saw a snowy gleam
Of phantom peak, and spectral mountain-head,
     And gulfs that nurse the glacier and the stream.

Before us lay the pinewood’s sombre miles,
     Thick laid with moss, like furs upon the floor;
Behind, the woodland’e green monotonous aisles,
     Closed in the west by sunset’s amber door.

This is the Snow King's threshold and dominion I
     The frozen ranges white, without a stain,
Like icy wings outspread, and flying pinion,
     Ready to soar above the cloudy plain.

Deep in the glen the hollow waters, racing,
     Sent forth their turbulent voices to the night,
The stars above began their solemn pacing,
     And homely shone the distant village light.

Mysterious forest I In this humming city
     I seem to hear thy music-breathing tree;
Thy branches wave and beckon me, in pity,
     To seek again thy hospitality!

Austral (pen name of Mrs J.G. Wilson) (19th century) New Zealand (born Australia)
Source: Australian poets, 1788-1888, selected by Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen, , Cassell publishing company, 1890

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