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Roderic Quinn

(1867 - 1949 / Australia)

Bequeathal


THE night-birds cry in the bush outside,
And I write here, though the hour be late;
And what shall I write of the man who died?
'He gave his gold to the poor at his gate!'
The line is written. Was that his all,
And did that all exhaust his love?
'Nay, nay, write on, while the night-birds call:
‘He gave his soul to his God above’!'
Say on; for in so rich a vein
More gold lay waiting to be proved.
' 'T was so! Write this, and write it plain:
‘He gave his heart to the wife he loved’!'
What more? 'What more dost thou require?
What more was left to give or take?
Yet more there was. Write this in fire:
‘He gave his life for his country's sake’!'
'Last gift of all, with courage fine,
Though far from stars that watched his birth.
He fell. Write then this final line:
‘He gave his clay to the aliens' earth’!'

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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