At Sunset [poem by Agnes L. Storrie]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes L. Storrie was published in Poems, 1909.]

At Sunset.

A glory of red and yellow!
A splendour of grey and pink!
We have seen many sunsets, Emily,
But never a fairer, I think.

See by the golden gateway
Pillars of opal stand,
Mark what a spell of silence
Lies on the listening land.

See through the parted branches
And glimmering trunks of trees,
An ocean of amber tintings
Melts into pale green seas.

And far on the dim horizon
Shadowy hill-points rise
Like dark blue tents that a giant
Rears ’neath the sunset skies.

List to the silence, Emily!
Solemn, profound, complete,
For the thick green turf beneath us
Muffles the sound of our feet.

Surely the green pastures, Emily,
Of which the old Psalmist tells
Had just this same vivid verdure
And just these same clover-sweet smells.

Surely his dream of still waters
Was like this reed-fringed lagoon
That lies ’mid the shadows, awaiting
The first silver shafts of the moon.

And seeing the beauty, Emily,
And knowing the world so fair,
It seems like an evil vision —
The real hard world of care.

The real hard world of sorrow,
The merciless flight of the years,
Lit by the flame of passion,
Quenched by the dew of tears.

Memory’s arrows are blunted,
They lose their power to sting,
Regret, like a brooding night-bird,
Folds up her sombre wing.

What if this life is fleeting?
What if its joys are dross?
Shall we grow rich by slowly
Counting its gain and loss?

Surely we’ll find repayment
In joys that can cost us nought,
Not a king nor a sage can rob us
Of the sunset gold we have caught.

Take what the gods have sent us,
Skies like a fairy dream,
Heed not old words of wisdom,
Things shall be what they seem.

Friends shall be true and trusty,
Love shall be without end,
And we shall find in each other
Happiness still, my friend.

You know of old, dead stories,
You know of dreams long past;
Love may be false and fleeting,
But yours and mine shall last.

You start and you tremble, Emily,
At sudden, wild shrieks overhead —
Only a cockatoo flying,
With wide, white wings outspread.

Then, perched on the highest gum tree,
Outlined by the glowing west,
You will see a curving pinion
And an upright, yellow crest.

Many a time, my Emily,
We have watched the daylight fade
Till, softly, evening wrapped us
In cool, grey swathes of shade.

Never a friend like you, Emily,
Never a heart so true,
Not all the wise men of the east, dear,
Were half so wise as you.

A man may be glum or merry,
Or foolish or overwise,
But with all his moods and tenses
You silently sympathise.

And whenever my heart grows bitter
And cries for the sweet, old days,
I come to you, and at sunset
We wander by dim, green ways.

Friendship may be only a myth, dear,
Love may be nought but a snare,
But you’re a reality, Emily —
My little, brown, thoroughbred mare.

Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 97-101

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