Moss on a Wall [poem by Henry Kendall]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Kendall was published in Leaves from Australian Forests (1869).]

Moss on a Wall.

Dim dreams it hath of singing ways,
Of far-off woodland water-heads,
And shining ends of April days
Amongst the yellow runnel beds.

Stoop closer to the ruined wall,
Whereon the wilful wilding sleeps,
As if its home were waterfall
By dripping clefts and shadowy steeps!

A little waif, whose beauty takes
A touching tone, because it dwells
So far away from mountain lakes,
And lily leaves, and lightening fells.

Deep hidden in delicious floss
It nestles, sister, from the heat:
A gracious growth of tender moss,
Whose nights are soft, whose days are sweet.

Swift gleams across its petals run,
With winds that hum a pleasant tune:
Serene surprises of the sun,
And whispers from the lips of Noon.

The evening-coloured apple-trees
Are faint with July’s frosty breath;
But lo, this stranger getteth ease
And shines amidst the strays of Death!

And at the turning of the year,
When August wanders in the cold,
The raiment of the nursling here
Is rich with green and glad with gold.

O, friend of mine, to one whose eyes
Are vext because of alien things,
For ever in the wall moss lies
The peace of hills and hidden springs.

From faithless lips and fickle lights
The tired pilgrim sets his face,
And thinketh here of sounds and sights
In many a lovely forest-place.

And when by sudden fits and starts
The sunset on the moss doth burn,
He often dreams, and lo, the marts
And streets are changed to dells of fern!

For, let me say, the wilding placed
By hands unseen amongst these stones,
Restores a Past by Time effaced,
Lost loves and long-forgotten tones!

As sometimes songs and scenes of old
Come faintly unto you and me,
When winds are wailing in the cold,
And rains are sobbing on the sea.

Henry Kendall, Leaves from Australian Forests, Melbourne: George Robertson, 1869, pages 33-35

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