Hymn to the Earth [poem by Louis Esson]

[Editor: This poem by Louis Esson was published in Red Gums and Other Verses (1912).]

Hymn to the Earth.

We praise the Earth, the Mother Earth, for ever old and young,
From whom the gods have taken birth, and men and beasts have sprung.

She is Demeter, Isis, or is Kali, Lilith, Eve,
The Bona Dea we adore, to whom we ever cleave.

Where green with corn and grasses, gold with harvest, red with blood,
Blue where savannahs are unrolled, or dark where jungles brood,

Or robed in white of mountain snows, we praise the sacred soil
That flows with milk and honey, flows with mystic wine and oil.

Sunlight she gives, and starry beams; she clothes the flocks and herds;
She gladdens life with trees and streams, gay flowers and singing birds.

She guides the strange rebirth of Spring; bids cattle yield increase;
She sends the waters murmuring, and gift of dreams and peace.

She cherishes what she creates, and equally will bless
Man’s gallant combat with the Fates, the lilies’ idleness.

She loves all creatures, lamb or kid; upon her tender breast
A builder of a pyramid, a spider’s web, finds rest.

And she can loosen Storm-winds out, or bind the Sun in chains,
Like Indra, slay the Demon Drought, and free the roaring rains;

Add colour to the skyey tent, a softness to the snows,
A song in the bird’s heart, a scent within the Desert rose.

We hymn the ancient mystery of Earth, the Mother Earth
Who made the daedal land and sea, creating all in mirth.

The stream of generation from her living fountain flows,
From Her, the Mother, all has come, and to the Mother goes.

In the beginning came Desire, and energy of Strife,
The spirit of the Dew and Fire, the seed of Death and Life.

Men seek thro’ Hope and Memory to learn her secret plot,
Only the Mother, only She knows it, or knows it not.

Louis Esson, Red Gums and Other Verses, Melbourne: Fraser & Jenkinson, 1912, pages 9-11

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