Blue veined and dimpling, dappled in the sun
Lies Lake Kanieri, like a timid child
Wide eyed, close clinging to the spacious skirts
Of old Tuhua, the big, brawny nurse,
On whose broad lap I lie. Now is no need to serve,
Or suffer, or regret: it seems life holds
No future and no past for me but this
Sun-lighted mountain and the brooding bush;
Nor art nor history nor written page
Could touch me now; it is enough to be,
And feel the slow and rhythmic pulse of Earth
Beat under me; and see the low, red sun
Lean on the massive shoulders of the range.
O lone, heroic, melancholy Hills!
Your dim, gaunt peaks stand in the after-glow
Stern as Duty, implacable and cold;
Remote from the harsh clamour of the plains,
Whose pulse of life stirs dully at your feet.
O still, and calm, and pure, and wise, and strong!
My restless heart from your locked hearts shut out,
Leans on your strength, and craves the peace you hold –
Peace born of conflict. Ye old Stoic Hills,
Yield up your secrets! On your furrowed fronts
Are scars of fierce upheavals; in your grave,
Deep breasts what dreams are shut? Methinks you stand
Like pale, impassive monks whose chill looks hide
Forbidden memories of clinging lips,
Of passions conquered and of pains repressed
Within their breasts of snow. With outlines dim
The hooded slopes, like meek nuns grouped in prayer,
Kneel in the screenéd cloister of the bush
Dark robed and secret; and the laughing lake,
Smoothed by the slow, cool fingers of the dusk,
Has coiled herself to sleep. All light has gone,
Save on those heights where Day, grown weak and old,
Close by the dying embers of the sun,
Sits, like an old man musing on his past.
Lola Ridge (1873-1941)
NZ Illustrated Magazine 7.2 (Nov 1902): 131.