Roderic Quinn

(1867 - 1949 / Australia)

The River And The Road


THE merrymaking's over
The riverside is still,
The Sun, a radiant rover,
Gone down behind the hill.
The red Road goes awinding
Along the riverside;
The River, no man minding,
Winds on to meet the tide.
O Naiad of green places!
I pray you pause and say
How many pretty faces
Looked down on you to-day?
The River runs in silence
(A fern-frond is her load);
Just here and just a mile hence
She curves to kiss the road.
And now the kiss is over,
And now the tryst is done,
By flats of fern and clover
The River ripples on.
Again the Road turns to her,
Red-winding through the green;
The Road would pause and woo her,
But gray rocks stand between.
And here he rounds a boulder
And hurries to her side:
The River turns her shoulder;
She will not be his bride.
O fickle River, straying
Through green lands on and on,
A fern-tree heard you saying
'The Road will come anon.'
Not so, but you will waken
To lonely days and sore.
The Road a vow has taken
To play Love's fool no more.
On high the sunset lingers
With one still star above,
And there the merry singers
Sing silverly of Love.
And now in distance dewy
They halt awhile, and so
Wave hands with 'Coo-ee, Coo-ee!'
Ho, laggard down below!'
If she should cease to worry
And say, 'I love but you' —
'O hurry, hurry, hurry!'
And 'Adieu, Adieu, Adieu!'
This one last chance I give her
To lighten my heart's load,
And if she play the River
Then I shall prove the Road.
I caught her, heard her sighing,
And felt the moment's charm. . . .
'Tis sweet when day is dying
To walk so, arm in arm!

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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