The Grove of Wattles.
The clamour of the city ringing loud
Submerged the hurrying footsteps of the crowd,
The teeming ways were all awash with faces,
Hopes and despairs peopled the narrow spaces,
And I among them, on myself intent,
Scant notice on my fellow creatures bent,
When, as I passed beneath the shadow of the towers
Rose an incredible mirage of flowers!
My sacred past, reborn in shimmering yellow
Offered for pence, by some rude pavement fellow.
Flowers that for years my heart had never sighted
Shone there, like golden tapers freshly lighted,
And as the tide of aching memories swept
On that full fragrance borne, I almost think I wept.
There was the grove of wattles, thickly sown
In a large pattern of its own,
Planned subtly, as the custom is of trees
To catch the mingled sunshine and the breeze,
And full beneficence of dew, and here,
Wrought like a finer gold upon the sheer
Effulgence of the sunlight, rose a fume
Of wattle sweets, part fragrance, and part bloom,
And part my love of them, that bursting through
The limits of the senses made a new
And spiritual splendour. For the heart
When it is steeped in beauty must impart
Some of its rising passion, else it were
More than its mere humanity could bear.
And I have seen how beauty’s outward frame,
Be it of colour, sound, or form or flame,
Can be so penetrated by a thought,
So in the flux of pure emotion caught
That every atom incandescent glows,
And new, and deeper depths of beauty shows.
This is the link of harmony that lies
Between our own and the Creator’s eyes.
There was the grove of wattles. How they pressed
Plume over plume along the crest
Of the low hill, while at our very feet
Rolled luminous green waves of young September wheat,
And overhead those shoreless azure seas
Washing the prows of vaporous argosies
And the suggestive silence of the bush
That palpitates with meaning, and can push
With dreamful hand the seen into its place
And draw the veil from many a spirit face,
Silence, true comrade of the soul that waits
Close to the core of things, and translates
Those subtle nuances, that thronging round
Still delicately evade the power of sound.
There was the grove of wattles. We drew rein
On that small eminence above the plain.
The native lark, her shrill song circling sweet
In vocal rings, rose from the springing wheat,
And like winged emeralds flung into the blue
The parroquets in joyous clusters flew,
And water-hens, small quaker maidens prim,
Trod to and fro about the river’s brim,
A saddle creaking, and the warning word
Uttered from far by an apostle bird,
There were the only hints of life, and they
Fitted the muted music of the day.
O! arrow-like through all the city’s roll,
The sense of that sweet silence touched my soul,
And cleaving through the barrier of years
Entered the very citadel of tears.
There was the grove of wattles. Gold on gold,
The perfect moment whose unmatchable mould
Breaks then for ever. Sound, and sense, and sight
Illumined by a tense and inward light.
The tide full-flood, kisses attainment’s lips
For just one moment ere it sees eclipse,
And life has just one harvest of an hour
When love puts forth its perfect-petalled flower,
That was my tide full-flood, my goal attained,
My brimming cup in one quick moment drained,
That was my blossom hour, my gold on gold,
My perfect moment whose unmatchable mould
Broke then for ever.
Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 168-171