Song Of The Driftweed

HERE’S to the home that was never, never ours!
Toast it full and fairly when the winter lowers.
Speak ye low, my merry men, sitting at your ease;
Harken to the homeless Drift in the roaring seas!

Here’s to the life we shall never live on earth!
Cut for us awry, awry ages ere the birth.
Set the teeth and meet it well, wind upon the shore;
Like a lion, in the face look the Nevermore!

Here’s to the love we were never let to win!
What of that? a many shells have a pearl within;
Some are mated with the gold in the light of day;
Some are buried fathoms deep, in the seas away.

Here’s to the selves we shall never, never be!
We’re the drift of the world and the tangle of the sea.
It’s far beyond the Pleiad, it’s out beyond the sun
Where the rootless shall be rooted when the wander-year is done!

Dunedin In The Gloaming

Like a black, enamoured King whispered low the thunder
To the lights of Roslyn, terraced far asunder:
Hovered low the sister cloud in wild, warm wonder.

"O my love, Dunedin town, the only, the abiding!
Who can look undazzled up where the Norn is riding, --
Watch the sword of destiny from the scabbard gliding!

"Dark and rich and ringing true -- word and look for ever;
Taking to her woman heart all forlorn endeavour;
Heaven's sea about her feet, not the bounded river!"

"Sister of the mountain mist, and never to be holden
With the weary sophistries that dimmer eyes embolden, --
O the dark Dunedin town, shot with green and golden!"

Then a silver pioneer netted in the rift,
Leaning over Maori Hill, dreaming in the lift,
Dropped her starry memories through the passioned drift: --

"Once -- I do remember them, the glory and the garden,
Ere the elder stars had learnt God's mystery of pardon,
Ere the youngest, I myself, had seen the flaming warden --

"Once even after even I stole ever shy and early
To mirror me within a glade of Eden cool and pearly,
Where shy and cold and holy ran a torrent sought but rarely.

"And fondly could I swear that this my glade had risen newly, --
Burst the burning desert tomb wherein she lieth truly,
To keep an Easter with the birds and me who loved her duly."

Wailing, laughing, loving, hoar, spake the lordly ocean:
"You are sheen and steadfastness: I am sheen and motion,
Gulfing argosies for whim, navies for a notion.

"Sleep you well, Dunedin Town, though loud the lulling lyre is;
Lady of the stars terrene, where quick the human fire is,
Lady of the Maori pines, the turrets, and the eyries!"

The Burial Of Sir John Mackenzie

(1901)

They played him home to the House of Stones
   All the way, all the way,
To his grave in the sound of the winter sea:
   The sky was dour, the sky was gray.
They played him home with the chieftain's dirge,
Till the wail was wed to the rolling surge,
They played him home with a sorrowful will
To his grave at the foot of the Holy Hill
   And the pipes went mourning all the way.

Strong hands that had struck for right
   All the day, all the day,
Folded now in the dark of earth,
   Veiled dawn of the upper way!
Strong hands that struck with his
From days that were to the day that is
Carry him now from the house of woe
To ride the way the Chief must go:
   And his peers went mourning all the way.

Son and brother at his right hand
   All the way, all the way!
And O for them and O for her
   Who stayed within, the dowie day!
Son and brother and near of kin
Go out with the chief who never comes in!
And of all who loved him far and near
'Twas the nearest most who held him dear --
   And his kin went mourning all the way!

The clan went on with the pipes before
   All the way, all the way;
A wider clan than ever he knew
   Followed him home that dowie day.
And who were they of the wider clan?
The landless man and the no man's man,
The man that lacked and the man unlearned,
The man that lived but as he earned --
   And the clan went mourning all the way.

The heart of New Zealand went beside
   All the way, all the way,
To the resting-place of her Highland Chief;
   Much she thought she could not say;
He found her a land of many domains,
Maiden forest and fallow plains --
He left her a land of many homes,
The pearl of the world where the sea wind roams,
   And New Zealand went mourning all the way.

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