Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake

(26 March 1866 – May 1892 / Sydney / Australia)

Desiree


Will she spring with a blush from the arms of Dawn,
When the sleepy songsters prune
Their dewy vestments on bush and thorn,
And the jovial magpie winds his horn
In sweet réveil to the lazy morn
And the sun comes all too soon?
Will she come with him from the farthest rim
Of the blue Pacific sea?
But how shall I know my lady? and by
What token will she know me?

Will she come to me in the noonday hush,
When the flowers are fast asleep
'Neath their counterpane of emerald plush
In the fragrant warmth of the under-brush,
Where Spring still lingers on moist and lush—
While naught but the shadows creep,
And all is rest but the eager quest
And the buzz of the tireless bee?
But how shall I know my lady then?
And how will my love know me?

Or will she come when the gallant Day
At the hands of the Night lies dead?
When stealthy creatures have right of way
Among the branches to romp and play,
And the great green forest turns ashen gray
At the sound of the dead men's tread?
Will my lady slip with smile on lip
From the heart of a white box tree?
But how shall I know 'tis she who comes?
And how will she know 'tis me?

Will her hair be tinged as when sunbeams gird
A castle of carmine rock?
Or brown as a leaf in the sun's kiss curled?
Or dark as the wing of that sable bird
Whose hated voice is so often heard
In the wake of the bleating flock?
Or will it be rolled in a crown of gold,
An emblem of royalty?
But how will I know 'tis she who comes?
And how will she know 'tis me?

Is her ear as shapely as Venus' shell,
And pierced by a diamond gleam?
Is her hand as white as the immortelle?
Her voice as sweet as that sounding bell
The gray bird tolls to the listening dell
Where the ti-tree hides the stream?
Have the words been said? is my lady wed?
Is my lady bond or free?—
No matter who claims her earthly form,
For her heart belongs to me!

Will her eyes be clear as the amber flight
Of the stream over sandstone bar?
Or darkly blue as the vault of night?
Will her flesh show pink through its veil of white,
And its violet-pencilled curves be bright
As the polished breast of a star?
And where, oh, where may you find a pair
Who shall love so well as we?
But how shall I know my lady? by
What token will she know me?

Will her cloak be shaped from the southern skies
And girt by a starry sash—
Like an azure mist, as my lady hies
With the light of love in her kindling eyes?
Will she move with the solemn grace that lies
In the towering mountain ash! . . .
Will she come at all? may it not befall
That our fates are dark and dree?
That I may never know her at all,
And she may never know me?

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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