Roderic Quinn

(1867 - 1949 / Australia)

The Turn Of The Road


WHERE confident, calm I strode,
I walk with hesitant feet;
For at yonder turn of the road
What shall I meet?
The youth of the day has gone,
And my shadow goes before;
I know that the road runs on —
I know no more.
I have travelled a goodly way,
As one at a glance may see,
Since the East and the break o' day
Called out to me.
Though the highway be hard to miss
With its signs and stones and such,
The worst of the road is this —
It turns too much.
For a part of its length it flows
(Too brief is that stretch, alas!)
'Twixt hedges of palm and rose,
O'er fern and grass.
The butterfly fancies flit
On their lit wings, gossamer-frail;
And a host of roysterers sit
At cakes and ale.
With the flight of their glory hour,
The Fancies flutter and die;
And the nectared heart of the flower
Grows sere and dry.
Though the cakes and ale are done,
And the roysterer's moment gone,
Yet under the slanting sun
The road winds on.
Good-bye to the flower and fern,
And the hedges at each grass-side! —
Maybe at the next road-turn
New pleasures hide.
New pleasures? 'Tis turned, and lo!
Hot miles and a driving dust
'Twixt trees that are grey as woe,
Gnarled limbs out-thrust!
Yet Hope is a bright allure,
A light in the hearts of men —
At the end of a league, for sure,
'Twill turn again.
Though the highway be hard to miss
With its signs and stones and such,
The best of the road is this —
It turns so much!
Towards the turn of the roadway you
I walk with hesitant feet;
When I come to the turn, anon —
What shall I meet?

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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