Henry Kendall

(18 April 1839 – 1 August 1882 / Ulladulla, New South Wales)

To Henry Halloran - Poem by Henry Kendall

YOU KNOW I left my forest home full loth,
And those weird ways I knew so well and long,
Dishevelled with their sloping sidelong growth
Of twisted thorn and kurrajong.

It seems to me, my friend (and this wild thought
Of all wild thoughts, doth chiefly make me bleed),
That in those hills and valleys wonder-fraught,
I loved and lost a noble creed.

A splendid creed! But let me even turn
And hide myself from what I’ve seen, and try
To fathom certain truths you know, and learn
The Beauty shining in your sky:

Remembering you in ardent autumn nights,
And Stenhouse near you, like a fine stray guest
Of other days, with all his lore of lights
So manifold and manifest!

Then hold me firm. I cannot choose but long
For that which lies and burns beyond my reach,
Suggested in your steadfast, subtle song
And his most marvellous speech!

For now my soul goes drifting back again,
Ay, drifting, drifting, like the silent snow
While scattered sheddings, in a fall of rain,
Revive the dear lost Long Ago!

The time I, loitering by untrodden fens,
Intent upon low-hanging lustrous skies,
Heard mellowed psalms from sounding southern glens—
Euroma, dear to dreaming eyes!

And caught seductive tokens of a voice
Half maddened with the dim, delirious themes
Of perfect Love, and the immortal choice
Of starry faces—Astral dreams!

That last was yours! And if you sometimes find
An alien darkness on the front of things,
Sing none the less for Life, nor fall behind,
Like me, with trailing, tired wings!

Yea, though the heavy Earth wears sackcloth now
Because she hath the great prophetic grief
Which makes me set my face one way, and bow
And falter for a far belief,

Be faithful yet for all, my brave bright peer,
In that rare light you hold so true and good;
And find me something clearer than the clear
White spaces of Infinitude.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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