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The Poems Of Henry Kendall Part 65

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To-night my soul looks back and sees, Across wind-broken wastes of wave, A widow on her bended knees Beside a new-made grave.

A sufferer with a touching face By love and grief made beautiful; Whose rapt religion lights the place Where death holds awful rule.

The fair, tired soul whose twofold grief For child and father lends a tone Of pathos to the pallid leaf That sighs above the stone.

The large beloved heart whereon She used to lean, lies still and cold, Where, like a seraph, shines the sun On flowerful green and gold.

I knew him well--the grand, the sweet, Pure nature past all human praise; The dear Gamaliel at whose feet I sat in other days.



He, glorified by god-like lore, First showed my soul Life's highest aim; When, like one winged, I breathed--before The years of sin and shame.

God called him Home. And, in the calm Beyond our best possessions priced, He passed, as floats a faultless psalm, To his fair Father, Christ.

But left as solace for the hours Of sorrow and the loss thereof; A sister of the birds and flowers, The daughter of his love.

She, like a stray sweet seraph, shed A healing spirit, that flamed and flowed As if about her bright young head A crown of saintship glowed.

Suppressing, with sublime self-slight, The awful face of that distress Which fell upon her youth like blight, She shone like happiness.

And, in the home so sanctified By death in its most noble guise, She kissed the lips of love, and dried The tears in sorrow's eyes.

And helped the widowed heart to lean, So broken up with human cares, On one who must be felt and seen By such pure souls as hers.

Moreover, having lived, and learned The taste of Life's most bitter spring, For all the sick this sister yearned-- The poor and suffering.

But though she had for every one The phrase of comfort and the smile, This shining daughter of the sun Was dying all the while.

Yet self-withdrawn--held out of reach Was grief; except when music blent Its deep, divine, prophetic speech With voice and instrument.

Then sometimes would escape a cry From that dark other life of hers-- The half of her humanity-- And sob through sound and verse.

At last there came the holy touch, With psalms from higher homes and hours; And she who loved the flowers so much Now sleeps amongst the flowers.

By hearse-like yews and grey-haired moss, Where wails the wind in starts and fits, Twice bowed and broken down with loss, The wife, the mother sits.

God help her soul! She cannot see, For very trouble, anything Beyond this wild Gethsemane Of swift, black suffering;

Except it be that faltering faith Which leads the lips of life to say: "There must be something past this death-- Lord, teach me how to pray!"

Ah, teach her, Lord! And shed through grief The clear full light, the undefiled, The blessing of the bright belief Which sanctified her child.

Let me, a son of sin and doubt, Whose feet are set in ways amiss-- Who cannot read Thy riddle out, Just plead, and ask Thee this;

Give her the eyes to see the things-- The Life and Love I cannot see; And lift her with the helping wings Thou hast denied to me.

Yea, shining from the highest blue On those that sing by Beulah's streams, Shake on her thirsty soul the dew Which brings immortal dreams.

So that her heart may find the great, Pure faith for which it looks so long; And learn the noble way to wait, To suffer, and be strong.

From the Forests

-- * Introductory verses for "The Sydney University Review", 1881.

Where in a green, moist, myrtle dell The torrent voice rings strong And clear, above a star-bright well, I write this woodland song.

The melodies of many leaves Float in a fragrant zone; And here are flowers by deep-mossed eaves That day has never known.

I'll weave a garland out of these, The darlings of the birds, And send it over singing seas With certain sunny words--

With certain words alive with light Of welcome for a thing Of promise, born beneath the white, Soft afternoon of Spring.

The faithful few have waited long A life like this to see; And they will understand the song That flows to-day from me.

May every page within this book Be as a radiant hour; Or like a bank of mountain brook, All flower and leaf and flower.

May all the strength and all the grace Of Letters make it beam As beams a lawn whose lovely face Is as a glorious dream.

And may that strange divinity That men call Genius write Some deathless thing in days to be, To fill those days with light.

Here where the free, frank waters run, I pray this book may grow A sacred candour like the sun Above the morning snow.

May noble thoughts in faultless words-- In clean white diction--make It shine as shines the home of birds And moss and leaf and lake.

This fair fresh life with joy I hail, And this belief express, Its days will be a brilliant tale Of effort and success.

Here ends my song; I have a dream Of beauty like the grace Which lies upon the land of stream In yonder mountain place.

John Bede Polding

-- * Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney --

With reverent eyes and bowed, uncovered head, A son of sorrow kneels by fanes you knew; But cannot say the words that should be said To crowned and winged divinities like you.

The perfect speech of superhuman spheres Man has not heard since He of Nazareth, Slain for the sins of twice two thousand years, Saw Godship gleaming through the gates of Death.

And therefore he who in these latter days Has lost a Father--falling by the shrine, Can only use the world's ephemeral phrase, Not, Lord, the faultless language that is Thine.

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