The Singing Garden

Forest Sanctuary

C.J. Dennis

SEEK you sorely, for a space,
    Respite from the world’s dull fretting?
Come then to a secret place—
    Man’s entanglements forgetting—
Deep within the forest dreaming,
    Deep within its shadows cool,
Where the mountain waters streaming
Broaden to the placid beaming
    Of a quiet pool.

Making here a great green tent,
    Tea-tree bough and wattle bending—
As strong lovers’ arms are bent
    Shielding beauty—droop, defending
This green sanctuary sleeping
    In its soft green twilit day;
And a scrap of bright sky peeping
Thro’ the tall trees, sentry keeping,
    Seems a world away.

Rage the tempest as it may
    O’er the tree-tops, writhing, broiling;
Burn as may the burning day,
    Frailer loveliness despoiling;
Summer’s scorn and Winter’s bluster
    Seek in vain this hallowed spot
Lending its translucent lustre
To the nodding ferns that cluster
    Many a mossy grot.

Steeply slope the banks above,
    All the outer turmoil muting;
Softly, bush birds’ songs of love
    Match an organ’s mellow fluting.
Here is peace past all conceiving
    In this forest chancel, here
Spreads a grace that transmutes grieving
To hushed wonder, to believing
    God is very near.

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