Poems by Henry Kendall

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Here in this gold-green evening end,
The hut was built of bark and shrunken slabs,
You may have heard of Proclus, sir,
He knows the sweet vexation in the strife
Peace hath an altar there. The sounding feet
Because a steadfast flame of clear intent
From Andalusian gardens
Feet of the flying, and fierce
Hath he not followed a star through the darkness,
The song that once I dreamed about,
I cannot tell what change hath come to you
Underneath the windy mountain walls
A splendid sun betwixt the trees
The silvery dimness of a happy dream
I walked through a Forest, beneath the hot noon,
LO! in storms, the triple-headed
River, myrtle rimmed, and set
Take this rose, and very gently place it on the tender, deep
Across the dripping ridges,
At dusk, like flowers that shun the day,
They built his mound of the rough, red ground,
To-night a strong south wind in thunder sings
Five years ago! you cannot choose
What though his feet were shod with sharp, fierce flame,
Who cometh from fields of the south
Men have said that ye were sleeping
Sing, mountain-wind, thy strong, superior song
By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
Amongst the thunder-splintered caves
Wild-eyed woodlands, here I rest me, underneath the gaunt and ghastly trees;
Down in the South, by the waste without sail on it,
The leaders of millions, the lords of the lands,
No song is this of leaf and bird,
Kate, they say, is seventeen
The gloved and jewelled bards who sing
The dauntless three! For twenty days and nights
Singer of songs of the hills
By red-ripe mouth and brown, luxurious eyes
In a far-away glen of the hills,
The caves of the sea have been troubled to-day
Turn from the ways of this Woman! Campaspe we call her by name
“All day a strong sun has been drinking
“A perfect woman, nobly planned,
Where Harpur lies, the rainy streams,
Phantom streams were in the distance mocking lights of lake and pool
Too cold, O my brother, too cold for my wife
Sing her a song of the sun:
Sing the song of wave-worn Coogee, Coogee in the distance white,
Years fifty, and seven to boot, have smitten the children of men
A clamour by day and a whisper by night,
Take the harp, but very softly for our brother touch the strings:
When lost Francesca sobbed her broken tale
Daphne! Ladon’s daughter, Daphne! Set thyself in silver light,
To her who, cast with me in trying days,
Just when the western light
Spirit of Loveliness! Heart of my heart!
A brother wandered forth with me,
Gloomy cliffs, so worn and wasted with the washing of the waves,
Here, pent about by office walls
I hear no footfall beating through the dark,
Into that good old Hebrew’s soul sublime
Through many a fragrant cedar grove
A quiet song for Ellen
The heart that once was rich with light,
On the storm-cloven Cape
Child of Light, the bright, the bird-like! wilt thou float and float to me,
The crag-pent breezes sob and moan where hidden waters glide;
A morning crowns the Western hill,
Swarthy wastelands, wide and woodless, glittering miles and miles away,
Have faith in God. For whosoever lists
The embers were blinking and clinking away,
Out of the body for ever,
Fifteen miles and then the harbour! Here we cannot choose but stand,
In the roar of the storm, in the wild bitter voice of the tempest-whipped sea,
Where in a green, moist, myrtle dell
A silver slope, a fall of firs, a league of gleaming grasses,
My head is filled with olden rhymes beside this moaning sea,
“Shut your ears, stranger, or turn from Ghost Glen now,
The wild night comes like an owl to its lair,
The harp we love hath a royal burst!
Here, where the great hills fall away
In the beams of a beautiful day,
Two years had the tiger, whose shape was that of a sinister man,
“Daughter,” said the ancient father, pausing by the evening sea,
Encompassed by the psalm of hill and stream,
A strong sea-wind flies up and sings
They come from the highways of labour,
The grand, authentic songs that roll
Shall he, on whom the fair lord, Delphicus,
At rest! Hard by the margin of that sea
A voice of grave, deep emphasis
Because this man fulfilled his days,
In the depths of a Forest secluded and wild,
Said the yellow-haired Spirit of Spring
Be his rest the rest he sought:
The bard who is singing of Wollombi Jim
With reverent eyes and bowed, uncovered head,
The song that is last of the many
Towards the hills of Jamberoo
We stood by the window and hearkened
With noise of battle and the dust of fray,
A waving of hats and of hands,
The gums in the gully stand gloomy and stark,
If Laura lady of the flower-soft face
Lordly harp, by lordly master wakened from majestic sleep,
Strange is the song, and the soul that is singing
When God drave the ruthless waters
(Inscribed to Madame Lucy Escott.)
Manasseh, lord of Judah, and the son
Path beside the silver waters, flashing in October’s sun
Far in the ways of the hyaline wastes in the face of the splendid
(Written in the shadow of 1872.)
Above the skirts of yellow clouds,
Dim dreams it hath of singing ways,
A mighty theatre of snow and fire,
It lies amongst the sleeping stones,
Rifted mountains, clad with forests, girded round by gleaming pines,
Across bleak widths of broken sea
From the rainy hill-heads, where, in starts and in spasms,
A song that is bitter with grief a ballad as pale as the light
Stand out, swift-footed leaders of the horns,
Oh, tell me, ye breezes that spring from the west,
A grace that was lent for a very few hours,
Where the strength of dry thunder splits hill-rocks asunder,
Every happy expression in these stanzas may fairly be claimed by the Hon. W. B. Dalley (Author’s note)
I dread that street its haggard face
As when the strong stream of a wintering sea
The strong sob of the chafing stream
Twelve years ago our Jack was lost. All night,
I see, as one in dreaming,
The spirit of beautiful faces,
I am writing this song at the close
He has a name which can’t be brought
Gaul whose keel in far, dim ages ploughed wan widths of polar sea
Sometimes we feel so spent for want of rest,
Said one who led the spears of swarthy Gad,
High travelling winds by royal hill
Sweet water-moons, blown into lights
No classic warrior tempts my pen
Strong pinions bore Safi, the dreamer,
Another battle! and the sounds have rolled
Grey winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
What bitter sorrow courses down
Ah! the solace in the sitting,
Barren age and withered World!
While the morning light beams on the fern-matted streams,
In dark wild woods, where the lone owl broods
A lofty Type of all her sex, I ween,
The Bard of ancient lore! Like one forlorn,
Dark days have passed, but you who taught me then
Where is the painter who shall paint for you,
“There were but two, and we were forty! Yet,”
Chaotic crags are huddled east and west
’Tis holy ground! The silent silver lights
The sunsets fall and the sunsets fade,
It is better, O day, that you go to your rest,
All night long the sea out yonder all night long the wailful sea,
Part I
Where Hornby, like a mighty fallen star,
A heap of low, dark, rocky coast,
Shades of my father, the hour is approaching.
How dazzling the sunbeams awoke on the spray,
She knelt by the dead, in her passionate grief,
From the runs of the Narran, wide-dotted with sheep,
She sleeps and I see through a shadowy haze,
The viewless blast flies moaning past,
Wizened the wood is, and wan is the way through it;
There’s music wafting on the air,
Australia, advancing with rapid winged stride,
Set your face toward the darkness tell of deserts weird and wide,
With sweet Regret—(the dearest thing that Yesterday has left us)—
A sky of wind! And while these fitful gusts
Like one who meets a staggering blow,
Now comes the fierce north-easter, bound
The verdant ivy clings around
He crouches, and buries his face on his knees,
Sad faces came round, and I dreamily said
Rolling through the gloomy gorges, comes the roaring southern blast,
The sun o’er the waters was throwing
Where the pines with the eagles are nestled in rifts,
It passed like the breath of the night-wind away,
Hear ye not the waters beating where the rapid rivers, meeting
The night grows dark, and weird, and cold; and thick drops patter on the pane;
And they shook their sweetness out in their sleep,
Low as a lute, my love, beneath the call
Who framed the stanza of Childe Harold? He
(The poem which won the prize offered by the proprietors of the “Sydney Morning Herald”.)
(Written in the shadow of 1872.)
Ill fares it with the man whose lips are set
Where the lone creek, chafing nightly in the cold and sad moonshine,
The Warrigal’s lair is pent in bare,
The song of the water
The rain-clouds have gone to the deep
A handmaid to the genius of thy song
Ah, often do I wait and watch,
To thee, O father of the stately peaks,
I would sit at your feet for long days,
Where the sinister sun of the Syrians beat
You know I left my forest home full loth,
Beneath the shelter of the bush,
To-night the sea sends up a gulf-like sound,
Alone alone!
Like drifts of balm from cedared glens, those darling memories come,
Euroka, go over the tops of the hill,
I loiter by this surging sea,
Just a shell, to which the seaweed glittering yet with greenness clings,
Like a beautiful face looking ever at me
When underneath the brown dead grass
That love of letters which is as the light
Let me talk of years evanished, let me harp upon the time