September in Australia.
Grey Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind of the West,
And the Spring in her raiment!
The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,
While the forest discovers
Wild wings with the halo of hyaline hours,
And the music of lovers.
September, the maid with the swift, silver feet!
She glides, and she graces
The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,
With her blossomy traces.
Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,
She lightens and lingers
In spots where the harp of the evening glows,
Attuned by her fingers.
The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips
In a darling old fashion;
And the day goeth down with a song on its lips,
Whose key-note is passion.
Far out in the fierce bitter front of the sea,
I stand, and remember
Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,
The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon,
And beats on the beaches,
Is filled with a tender and tremulous tune
That touches and teaches:
The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,
And the death of Devotion,
Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme,
In the waves of the ocean.
We, having a secret to others unknown,
In the cool mountain-mosses,
May whisper together, September, alone
Of our loves and our losses.
One word for her beauty, and one for the grace
She gave to the hours;
And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face
To sleep with the flowers.
High places that knew of the gold and the white
On the forehead of Morning,
Now darken and quake, and the steps of the Night
Are heavy with warning!
Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud,
Through the echoing gorges;
She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,
And her feet in the surges!
On the tops of the hills; on the turreted cones —
Chief temples of thunder —
The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,
Gliding over and under.
The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,
Leapeth wild at the forelands;
And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,
Complains in the moorlands.
Oh, season of changes — of shadow and shine —
September the splendid!
My song hath no music to mingle with thine,
And its burden is ended:
But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,
By mountain, by river,
May lighten and listen, and loiter and run,
With thy voices for ever.
Henry Kendall, Leaves from Australian Forests, Melbourne: George Robertson, 1869, pages 7-9
rack = a group of wind-blown clouds (a cloud rack, or cloud-wrack)
Old spelling in the original text: