Now is the healing, quiet hour that fills
This gay, green world with peace and grateful rest.
Where lately over opalescent hills
The blood of slain Day reddened all the west,
Now comes at Night’s behest,
A glow that over all the forest spills,
As with the gold of promised daffodils.
Of all hours this is best.
It is the time for thoughts of holy things,
Of half-forgotten friends and one’s own folk.
O’er all, the garden-scented sweetness clings
To mingle with the wood fire’s drifting smoke.
A bull-frog’s startled croak
Sounds from the gully where the last bird sings
His laggard vesper hymn, with folded wings;
And Night spreads forth her cloak.
Keeping their vigil where the great range yearns,
Like rigid sentries stand the wise old gums.
On blundering wings a night-moth wheels and turns
And lumbers on, mingling its drowsy hums
With that far roll of drums,
Where the swift creek goes tumbling midst the ferns . . .
Now, as the first star in the zenith burns,
The dear, soft darkness comes.
C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages
gay = happy, joyous, carefree (may also mean well-decorated, bright, attractive) (in modern times it may especially refer to a homosexual, especially a male homosexual; may also refer to something which is no good, pathetic, useless)
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
vesper = (archaic) evening, eventide (may also refer to vespers: prayers which are said or sung in the evening; evening worship; also, Vesper may be a reference to the planet Venus appearing in the sky as “the evening star”)