new zealand electronic poetry centre

Lola Ridge

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The Bush

The light winds wanton with the maiden Bush –
    Swart damsel blushing in the red sunset;
And from her broad brow all the stray locks push,
    Loose elfin tresses on a brown brunette.

In trails of gold along a molten track
    They draw the meshes of their gleaming woof;
Each, wistful, glances like a lover back
    Where still, inscrutable, she sits aloof.

One lies, a-dreaming in the twilight hush,
    A pool beside, wherein the first star glows,
And mute hands holds unto the great grey Bush,
    As one who feels and understands and knows.

Men who are striving for the bays that hang
    Your weak endeavorings above! the slur
Of cold indifference, the lingering pang,
    Of Life’s denial have no place in her.

And weary women, who have seen love droop
    In lust and laughter, till your bruised hearts yearn,
Some help that, stooping, shall not seem to stoop,
    Seek peace and counsel in her ways of fern.

The same stars glitter, and the same sun shines,
    That watched her saplings unto bare trunks bent;
And men grown old ’neath her impassive pines,
    Rest dim eyes on her with a calm content.

Be ye her nursling, who would turn the key
    Of her locked heart and its close hidden things;
Go, learn and listen at her mother knee
    The half articulate, deep song she sings.



‘The Bush,’ Bulletin 29 Sep 1904: 16. NSW.
See also Verses 1905: 8-9.

Last updated 28 May, 2013