[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]
Homer Is My Friend
I have a friend called Homer — an old Greek bard is he ;
The most poetic roamer this world did ever see !
I stride the promontories with Homer by my side,
And feast upon the glories of sky and cliff and tide !
I love the roaring ocean — old Homer loved it, too ;
The fretted white commotion his soul unto it drew.
It set his song a-rolling — it strung his lyre with joy —
It set old Homer trolling in the restless pubs, of Troy!
I love the good old Homer — the ghost who walks with me,
What time, the long, grey comber rolls inward from the sea.
The salt spray stings our faces, big winds chant in the West,
When lordly Homer paces with me on mountain crest !
We talk of young Ulysses and Nestor brave and bold —
Of Helen’s honeyed kisses in the gay days of old !
We talk of old King Priam — a good old king was he —
The sort of king that I am in hours of reverie !
We talk of sacks and battles — of Ajax’ rolling car ;
Methinks his chariot rattles where storms and thunders are !
Methinks the Trojan forces still wrestle with the Greeks —
Above the foaming horses the dust of combat reeks.
The Greek ships float in fancy upon the sunset tide —
O could but modern man see those ancient days of pride !
They were the days of daring, as Menelaus observed,
When sea-port towns were flaring and any reason served !
Pallas Athenè slumbers, and Hector’s head lies low,
But when I read those numbers my friend penned long ago
I seem to see fair women stand on the walls of Troy,
With tears the eyes are dim, for in mingled fear and joy!
I seem to hear them weeping, I feel their hot, salt tears —
Their agony comes sweeping across the wrack of years !
The sack of Troy sends shivers adown my modern spine,
And Hector’s head still quivers in mingled blood and wine !
I have a friend called Homer — he tells these things to me,
What time the long, grey comber rolls inward from the sea.
We walk upon the headlands that face the salty south,
And in those misty, dead lands I still see Helen’s mouth !
Good luck to every Paris who strips another’s field ;
Alas, the day afar is of sword and spear and shield !
I like those pagan roamers — they fill my heart with joy —
Those drinky men of Homer’s who stormed the pubs. of Troy.
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 84-86
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