[Editor: This poem by Randolph Bedford was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]
The Bellbird Rung Her Home.
Ah ! ’t was God-time in September, in that perfumed hazel belt,
Where the musk-leaves, thick and waxen, from their two sides throw the scent,
And the supplejack’s star blossoms in the endless dewings melt —
When a bird said “Love” so often that a child knew what he meant ;
When cream-cheeked Polly Ryan made her angel eyes terrene
As I told her of the load of everlasting love I bore,
And her glance made Heav’n seem open, and the road-side’s dewy sheen
Was to me as pearls which never grew, but are for evermore.
And she said, “Your kiss is folly !”
But she meant it not, my Polly,
And we kissed adown that roadside, past the grass edge and its loam ;
And, deep from glen of fern,
As we loitered at the turn,
The bellbird rung us from the kiss — the bellbird rung us home !
Oh ! ’t is Death-time in this March time, but the bellbird rings his bell —
In glad deceit from mossy floors the silver note he sends,
And the sky is hodden grey and my heart it is in hell,
And but another bellbird to the past a memory lends ;
And death-cheeked Polly Ryan no more hath eyes terrene,
For her eyes are stars in Heaven, and their glance the night winds bear ;
And to me no Heav’n is open ! On her grave the dewy sheen
Is as pearls that faintly glisten in the dusk of my despair !
And no more my kiss is “folly,”
For Death’s kiss hath dumbed sweet Polly,
And the bellbird that hath rung her to the grave-edge, and its loam,
Calls no more from glen of fern —
For she left me at the turn ;
And the bellbird rung us from the kiss — the bellbird rung her home !
A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 17-18