I have some thoughts like birds that hover near me,
And flutter wings, impatient for a flight,
Yet is the limit of my mind, I fear me,
Too small to let them mount and fly aright.
Oh! human soul, why lags thy best endeavour
Ever to pierce the blue of its desire?
Chained to thy poor mortality can’st never
Reach those fair heights to which thou can’st aspire ?
Was it that hunger pangs might devastate thee
That this capacity for spiritual food was lent?
And these fine reasoning powers that so elate thee
For what ulterior uses were they sent?
Was it to beat them ’gainst the bars of being
That wings to cleave the upper air are thine?
Was it to show thee the futility of seeing
Thine inward eye was made so clear and fine?
Oh! mystery of life, oh! riddle of creation,
Who hath the key that shall thy fate reveal?
Age after age in silence and negation
Time stands and turns his endless wheel.
Nature, thy foster-mother, hears thy bitter chiding,
Laughs at thy sullen brow and useless spleen,
Till Death draws down his sombre curtain, hiding
Thy spent existence deep in the unseen.
And to thy frantic cry of whence, and wherefore,
And why, and whither makes a cold reply —
“Life feeds on death, it nourished thee, therefore
Thou also, in due time, must surely die.”
Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 234-235