John Le Gay Brereton

(2 September 1871 – 2 February 1933 / Australia)

Middle Harbour - Poem by John Le Gay Brereton

Lonely wonder, delight past hoping!
Sky-line broken by stirring trees,
Grey rocks hither and shoreward sloping,
Silent bracken about my knees.

Dusky scrub where the sunlight splashes,
Glimmer of waters barely seen
Here the hope that was dust and ashes
Leaps and flashes in flames of green.

Through the boughs that are still before me,
Misty blue of the harbour hills;
Mighty Spirit of Earth who bore me,
Here the peace of thy love distils.

Fools have harried me; hell has driven,
Bidding me toil for its fading shows:
Back I spring to your arms, forgiven,
Back to the truth that a dreamer knows.

Gold and glory and fleeting pleasure
Pass in dust or as melting cloud:
You can dower with eternal treasure
Heart uplifted and head unbowed.

Arms outstretched, and the hill-top hushes;
Long deep breath, and the whole scene fades;
Sweeping homeward, my soul outrushes,
My heart the heart of the world invades.

Fleshly trammels no longer bind me,
Joyous, forgetting that such things be;
Time and space have been left behind me,
Brother of stars, I am soaring, free.

Cramped no more, I exult, extended,
All I think of I hold within;
Secret surety of vision splendid
Makes me one with my lordly kin.

Out of the vast I return, and slowly
Into the prison of sense I glide,
Yet the splendour is gone not wholly,
Yet the love and the peace abide.

Soft wind rustles the leaves, and brightly
Wavers the light on the ferns and trees;
Water-ripples are laughing lightly,
Played upon by the sun and breeze.

There the robin, a friendly fellow,
Clings to a sapling stem and waits
Just where I noted his breast of yellow
Ere I ventured beyond the gates.

Only a moment, as clocks can reckon,
Dwells the soul at that height of heights;
Ah, but I know why the wood-gods beckon,
Why the stars are as beacon lights.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, February 27, 2010

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