The Old Fig Tree, Wollongong [poem by Philip Durham Lorimer]

[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]

The Old Fig Tree, Wollongong

I look on thee oft, O thou marvellous tree,
In thine evergreen robes on thy throne,
So gracefully arched with thine arms o’er the free
Who have left thee a shrine of thine own !
When young in my years, when enamoured with light,
With the flood of the sun on my brow,
I’ve sat near thy roots, overwhelmed with the sight
Of thy form, which is awing me now.

And yet, there’s no change in thy high-drooping head,
In thy limbs that are bearing thy height ;
No branch of thy trunk is yet numbered as dead,
Nor a bough that is marked with a blight.
While round thee the vines that are close to thy base
Where the former ones grew and have died,
Are climbing thy height with their younger embrace
For thy love, which they tenderly hide.

I stand at thy feet, while thy boughs are the fringe
That embroider the blue and the grey,
When light in the west wears a deep golden tinge
That is crowning thine age of to-day.
That age which is lost in decay long ago,
Through the fading of memory here,
That’s hid in the sands of the centuries’ flow.
Like an hour that’s forgot in a year.

Oh ! say, hast thou aught of a treaty with Time,
To be still on its borders of green ?
Thy young leaves still shadow the pride of thy prime
With the soul of a beautiful scene.
How many have looked upon thee in their youth,
In the moments when life is all gay, —
Have lived their long lives, while their moments in truth
Were to thee but the gleam of a day !

Jamberoo, March 24, 1894.

E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 218-219

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