James Lister Cuthbertson

(8 May 1851 – 18 January 1910 / Glasgow, Scotland)

Wattle and Myrtle


Gold of the tangled wilderness of wattle,
   Break in the lone green hollows of the hills,
Flame on the iron headlands of the ocean,
   Gleam on the margin of the hurrying rills.

Come with thy saffron diadem and scatter
   Odours of Araby that haunt the air,
Queen of our woodland, rival of the roses,
   Spring in the yellow tresses of thy hair.

Surely the old gods, dwellers on Olympus,
   Under thy shining loveliness have strayed,
Crowned with thy clusters, magical Apollo,
   Pan with his reedy music may have played.

Surely within thy fastness, Aphrodite,
   She of the sea-ways, fallen from above,
Wandered beneath thy canopy of blossom,
   Nothing disdainful of a mortal's love.

Aye, and Her sweet breath lingers on the wattle,
   Aye, and Her myrtle dominates the glade,
And with a deep and perilous enchantment
   Melts in the heart of lover and of maid.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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