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Lola Ridge

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To an Old Playfellow

I remember the far green hill-top,
   Where we clung to the rata vines,
And you climbed to the nesting parrots
   In the boughs of the kauri pines;

And the scent of the tutu bushes,
   By the bend in the path o’ergrown,
Where you wove me a necklet of rushes,
   As we sat on the ‘Bunyip Stone’;

And the day that we roamed the terrace,
   ’Mid the tangle of supple vines,
And the tuis sang on the meros
   To the locust’s hum on the pines.

But the wind came out of the forest,
   Like a lost soul’s moan in the air,
Till we thought ’twas the great Bush Spirit
   Who would draw us and hold us there.

And the might of our child-hearts failed us,
   As we fled from the forest door,
With the roar of the pines behind us,
   And the known green flats before.

Shrivelled now are the tutu bushes
   That we climbed with our light limbs then;
And the shrine of the hillside echoes
   To the clang of the boots of men.

But the mystical pines lean over,
   And their shadows are falling black
Between one on the trampled highway
   And a chum on an old bush track.



‘To an Old Playfellow,’ Bulletin 3 May 1906: 35. NSW.
See also Verses 1905: 15.

Last updated 30 May, 2013