Leon Gellert

(1892 - 1977 / Australia)

Fever! - Poem by Leon Gellert

Everything seems lost and gone.
The world seems void; and I alone
To mourn its emptiness, that am too weak to
To mope a hermit in a broken cave
Imprisoned and forlorn.
The youthful wave that dashes on the outside
And splits youth’s passions on the moveless stones,
Has failed to stir the blood that fills
The warrior heart. I only see the bleaching bones,
The narrow graves upon the gouged hills,
And mope the more.
How can the ‘prisoned bird surmise
The passages on outer air?
Or sing of Freedom to the lonely skies
When Freedom is not there?
What use is it to try high Fancy’s flight
Above the upper blue?
The dark soul is darker that the night,
And Fancy’s caged too.
To introspect, look inward on the mind,
Is gazing on a thing all bloody and unclean:
‘Twere better that the soul were bright, the gazer
The beauty there, and yet no beauty seen.
The haunting questions of the bruised brain
Tease at the tired heart:
‘Do tattered hills still bear unburied slain?
And the far-off tear-drops start?
Is blood still wet upon the trees?
Upon the grass?
Do dead grey eyes dim-glazing in the breeze
Still stare upon the stumblers as they pass?
The long, long dreams that loiter in the stay
Of sleep, and hold the mind clutched fast,
Have left it trembling at the day
With trailing memories of the cruel past.
“How may the weary day be spent?-The weary
Choose thoughts! Choose dreams! What choice?
The long mute inward voice
Forgets to speak!
The ears are deaf; the eyes to beauty blind.
Unheeded are the laughing fields afar;
The glory of the wheeling western wind;
The shivering star.
The fault! Lies that with fate? Or with age?
The singing poet within his Isles of Peace
Is glad! The sage
Upon his mountain height! But running blood
can’t cease
For him who fights-till death;
Til smiling lips, besmeared and red with foam,
Move faintly with a feeble breath
In words of home.
‘Tis sad! But still ‘tis rest!
And what to show?
-A small black wound upon a dauntless breast;
True heart, and conscience as the snow.
And he knows-has fought-has seen,
And now is caged without, yet hears the fight,
He wonders what is done, and thinks of what
has been;
He bears the burden of the dark, and cries for
But he who prone with wounds and slow disease,
Too weak to grapple with the bars-
The bars that bind-encaged by the surrounding
Can only gaze upon his scars.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 5, 2010

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