City Hunger [poem by Marie E. J. Pitt]

[Editor: This poem by Marie E. J. Pitt was published in The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses (1911).]

City Hunger.

A tent ’neath the gum trees? — O No! No!
Give me the stream of which I am part —
The red stream filling the old world’s heart
With life and laughter, with rapture and glow.
Give me the battle the strivers ken
With comrades beside and the goal before.
O tears and laughter and strife to the core —
I love you! love you, cities of men!

Fair are the halls where the white stars peer
Thro’ green arched casements from kindly skies!
But the cities of men have a thousand eyes
That beacon and beckon the distant near.
With Life on the march and Time on the wing
To a wild world measure, what matter the odds?
Or roses strewn by the hands of the gods?
Or hyssop and rue that the seasons bring?

Sing not of far-folden hills agleam,
Of sun-kissed valleys where Strife is not,
The sylvan Nirvanas where ripe to rot
The fruits of Toil and the flowers of Dream.

A leaf among leaves I had rather be tossed
’Mong the soul-ships cleaving a treacherous tide —
Or freighted for ports of the Barmecide,
Or bound for the deep sea docks o’ the lost.

A tent ’neath the gum trees? No! not I!
I’ll march with the rabble, clean and unclean,
Judas, Barrabas or Nazarene —
And die as I lived when it’s time to die.
Till from the banquet that mortals ken
The lights wane low and the guests depart —
O tears and laughter and strife to the heart,
I love you! love you, cities of men!



Source:
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 114-115

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