Selected Writings of Wm Sharp, Vol. 1, Poems

AUSTRALIAN TRANSCRIPTS

1. AN ORANGE GROVE

(Victoria)

The short sweet purple twilight dreams
Of vanish'd day, of coming night;
And like gold moons in the soft light
Each scented drooping orange gleams
From out the glossy leaves black-green
That make through noon a cool dark screen.
    The dusk is silence, save the thrill
    That stirs it from cicalas shrill.

II. BLACK SWANS ON THE
       MURRAY LAGOONS

The long lagoons lie white and still
Beneath the great round Austral moon:
The sudden dawn will waken soon
With many a delicious thrill:
Between this death and life the cries,
Of black swans ring through silent skie---
    And the long wash of the slow stream
    Moves as in sleep some bodeful dream.

III. BREAKING BILLOWS                 AT  SORRENTO

(Victoria)

A sky of whirling flakes of foam,
A rushing world of dazzling blue.
One moment, the sky looms in view---
The next, a crash in its curved dome,
A tumult indescribable,
And eyes dazed with the miracle.
    Here breaks by circling day and night
In thunder the sea's boundless might.

IV. SHEA-OAK TREES ON A
             STORMY DAY

  (S.E. Vicioria)

O'er sandy'tracts the shea-oak trees
Droop their long wavy grey-green trails:
And inland wandering moans and wails
The long blast of the ocean-breeze:
Like loose strings of a viol or harp
These answering sound---now low, now sharp
    And keen, a melancholy strain:
    A death song o'er the mournful plain.

          V. MID-NOON IN  JANUARY

Upon a fibry fern-tree bough
A huge iguana lies alow,
Bright yellow in the noonday glow
With bars of black,---it watcheth now
A gorgeous insect hover high
Till suddenly its lance doth fly
    And catch the prey-but still no sound
    Breathes 'mid the green fern-spaces round.

    VI. IN THE FERN

(Gippsland)

The feathery fern-trees make a screen
Where through the sunglare cannot pass---
Fern, gum, and lofty sassafras:
The fronds sweep over, palely green,
And underneath are orchids curl'd
Adream through this cool shadow-world;
    A fragrant greenness---like the noon
    Of lime-tree in an English June.

VII. SUNSET AMID THE BUFFALO
                     MOUNTAINS

(N.E. Victoria)

Across the boulder'd majesty
Of the great hills the passing day
Drifts like a wind-borne cloud away
Far off beyond the western sky:
And while a purple glory spreads,
With straits of gold and brilliant reds,
    An azure veil, translucent, strange,
    Dreamlike steals over each dim range.

VIII. THE FLYING MOUSE

    (New South Wale;-Moonlight)

The eucalyptus-blooms are sweet
With honey, and the birds all day
Sip the clear juices forth: brown-grey,
A bird-like thing with tiny feet
Cleaves to the boughs, or with small wings,
Amidst the leafy spaces springs,
    And in the moonshine with shrill cries
    'Flits batlike where the white gums rise

IX. THE BELL-BIRD

The stillness of the Austral noon
Is broken by no single sound--
No lizards even on the ground
Rustle amongst dry leaves---no tune
The lyre-bird sings---yet hush! I hear
A soft bell tolling, silvery clear!
    Low soft aerial chimes, unknown
    Save 'mid these silences alone.

X. THE WOOD-SWALLOWS

(Sunrise)

The lightning-stricken giant gum
Stands leafless, dead---a giant still
But heedless of this sunrise-thrill:
What stir is this where all was dumb?---
What seem like old dead leaves break swift,
And lo, a hundred wings uplift
    A cloud of birds that to and fro
    Dart joyous midst the sunrise-glow.

     * The wood-swallows of Australia have the singular  habit of clustering like bees or bats on the boughs of a dead tree.

XI. THE ROCK-LILY

     (New South Wales)

The amber-tinted level sands
Unbroken stretch for leagues away
Beyond these granite slabs, dull grey
And lifeless, herbless---save where stands
The mighty rock-flow'r towering high,
With carmine blooms crowned gloriously:
    A giant amongst flowers it reigns,
    The glory of these Austral plains.

XII. THE FLAME-TREE

        (New South Wales)

For miles the Illawarra range
Runs level with Pacific seas:
What glory when the morning breeze
Upon its slopes doth shift and change
Deep pink and crimson hues, till all
The leagues-long distance seems a wall
    Of swift uncurling flames of fire
    That wander not nor reach up higher.

 

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