The New Song and the New Singer [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

The New Song and the New Singer

They have sung their Songs of the darkest side —
All their hymnals drab and gloomy ;
Now I come with a chant of the world’s joy-tide !
By a sweet star-muse blown to me !
They have sung of death and of tears and woe —
All their verse is brewed in sadness ;
I come with a song holds the lilt and flow
Of all the earth’s green gladness !
Out and away with their runes all set
In keys of plaintive wailing !
For I sing a song of the Spring blood’s fret
And of Spring souls free from ailing !

Out and away ! for the gods are good,
And the lips are red and many ;
O, the wine is sweet in the bowl and wood —
O, of fears man needs not any !
For the breasts are white and the nights are long,
While the days are glad and gleaming —
O, the tide comes in, piling shells of song
On the sands where my soul lies dreaming
Or walks down the lanes of a star-hedged life
And feasts on the sweets of living
Where Spring winds pass unstained with strife
Or a doubt or dark misgiving !

All the mournful songs of the sour-souled bards
Die out and are lost in distance,
O, the New Song teems with the scent of swards
Where woes have no existence !
The New Song thrills with the joys of earth,
And not with the care and aching ;
O, it breathes of Love and of lips and mirth,
And not of the sad hearts breaking,
For a broken soul mends ill when a song
Sets all its wounds re-bleeding ;
O, a song bites deep — like a stained whip-thong —
When the singer gives no heeding !

For “there’s no song true that wounds no heart,”
Cry the bards of yester-even,
“And the psalm rings false that fails impart
To some glad soul Hell’s leaven !”
But out and away from their sour-veined school !
Out ! for the song-bells ringing !
Let’s write by the Spring’s green-golden rule ;
Attuned to the star-winds winging !
For they’ve sung their songs of the darkmost side —
All their gloom-stained psalms are psalters —
Now I come with a song of the new joy-tide,
And I lay’t on my love’s lip-altars !

Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 82-83

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