Early Poems (1859-70). Dungog
Here, pent about by office walls And barren eyes all day, 'Tis sweet to think of waterfalls Two hundred miles away! I would not ask you, friends, to brook An old, old truth from me, If I could shut a Poet's book Which haunts me like the Sea! He saith to me, this Poet saith, So many things of light, That I have found a fourfold faith, And gained a twofold sight. He telleth me, this Poet tells, How much of God is seen Amongst the deep-mossed English dells, And miles of gleaming green. From many a black Gethsemane, He leads my bleeding feet To where I hear the Morning Sea Round shining spaces beat! To where I feel the wind, which brings A sound of running creeks, And blows those dark, unpleasant things, The sorrows, from my cheeks. I'll shut mine eyes, my Poet choice, And spend the day with thee; I'll dream thou art a fountain voice Which God hath sent to me! And far beyond these office walls My thoughts shall even stray, And watch the wilful waterfalls, Two hundred miles away. For, if I know not of thy deeds, And darling Kentish downs, I've seen the deep, wild Dungog fells, And hate the heart of towns! Then, ho! for beaming bank and brake, Far-folded hills among, Where Williams,1 like a silver snake, Draws winding lengths along! And ho! for stormy mountain cones, Where headlong Winter leaps, What time the gloomy swamp-oak groans, And weeps and wails and weeps. There, friends, are spots of sleepy green, Where one may hear afar, O'er fifteen leagues of waste, I ween, A moaning harbour bar! (The sea that breaks, and beats and shakes The caverns, howling loud, Beyond the midnight Myall Lakes,2 And half-awakened Stroud!)3 There, through the fretful autumn days, Beneath a cloudy sun, Comes rolling down rain-rutted ways, The wind, Euroclydon! While rattles over riven rocks The thunder, harsh and dry; And blustering gum and brooding box Are threshing at the sky! And then the gloom doth vex the sight With crude, unshapely forms Which hold throughout the yelling night A fellowship with storms! But here are shady tufts and turns, Where sumptuous Summer lies (By reaches brave with flags and ferns) With large, luxuriant eyes. And here, another getteth ease— Our Spring, so rarely seen, Who shows us in the cedar trees A glimpse of golden green. What time the flapping bats have trooped Away like ghosts to graves, And darker growths than Night are cooped In silent, hillside caves. Ah, Dungog, dream of darling days, 'Tis better thou should'st be A far-off thing to love and praise— A boon from Heaven to me! For, let me say that when I look With wearied eyes on men, I think of one unchanging nook, And find my faith again.
1 A tributary of the river Hunter, after Hunter, on which Dungog stands.
2 A chain of lakes near Port Stephens, N.S.W.
3 A town on the Karuah, which flows into Port Stephens.
Henry Kendall’s other poems:
- Early Poems (1859-70). Rizpah
- Early Poems (1859-70). Elijah
- Early Poems (1859-70). Euterpe
- Other Poems (1871-82). Sydney Exhibition Cantata
- Early Poems (1859-70). To——
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