LOVE may trace his echoing footsteps, yet we never more shall meet
Rugged Kretschmann, the musician, plodding down a Sydney street,
Never see the low broad figure, massive head and shaggy mane
And the quiet furrowed features, never hear his voice again.
But from many a home there rises many a note that lingering rings
Ever since his cunning fingers touched and drew it from the strings;
All our land is full of noises; happy phantom fields of scent,
Bright with sunlit blossoms, echo birdlike music where he went.
He was old and grey and weary, death and he were long at grips,
Evil whispers hissed behind him, German to the finger-tips,
War’s wild fury snarled about him, so he gently stepped aside,
Loving us and loving Germans, heavy-hearted, and he died.
Crusted shells, by ocean battered, taken from the barren shore
Bear within their hearts a murmur of the sea’s eternal roar;
Who shall say what vital music, all unheard by duller ears,
Swept the soul of good old Kretschmann to his home amid the spheres?
Harmony was all his being, and he held the music sweet
Welling up in baby voices, beaten out by tiny feet;
Still with playthings in his pockets, rest and solace may he know,
Welcomed gladly to the kingdom where the little children go.