Philip Joseph Holdsworth

(1849 - 1902 / Australia)

Quis Separabit?


All my life's short years had been stern and sterile --
   I stood like one whom the blasts blow back --
As with shipmen whirled through the straits of Peril,
   So fierce foes menaced my every track.

But I steeled my soul to a strong endeavour,
   I bared my brow as the sharp strokes fell,
And I said to my heart -- "Hope on! Hope ever:
   Have Courage -- Courage, and all is well."

Then, bright as the blood in my heart's rich chalice,
   O Blossom, Blossom! -- you came from far;
And life rang joy, till the World's loud malice
   Shrilled to the edge of our utmost star.

And I said: "On me let the rough storms hurtle,
   The great clouds gather and shroud my sun --
But you shall be Queen where the rose and myrtle
   Laugh with the year till the year is done."

So my Dream fell dead; and the fluctuant passion --
   The stress and strain of the past re-grew,
The world laughed on in its heedless fashion,
   But Earth whirled worthless, because of you!

In that Lake of Tears which my grief discovered,
   I laid dead Love with a passionate kiss,
And over those soundless depths has hovered
   The sweet, sad wraith of my vanished bliss.

Heart clings to Heart -- let the strange years sever
   The fates of two who had met -- to part;
Love's strength survives, and the harsh world never
   Shall crush the passion of heart for heart;

For I know my life, though it droop and dwindle,
   Shall leave me Love till I fade and die,
And when hereafter our Souls re-kindle,
   Who shall be fonder -- You or I?

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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