Leaves from Australian Forests

Illa Creek

Henry Kendall

A STRONG sea-wind flies up and sings
    Across the blown-wet border,
Whose stormy echo runs and rings
    Like bells in wild disorder.

Fierce breath hath vexed the foreland’s face,
    It glistens, glooms, and glistens;
But deep within this quiet place
    Sweet Illa lies and listens.

Sweet Illa of the shining sands,
    She sleeps in shady hollows,
Where August flits with flowerful hands,
    And silver Summer follows.

Far up the naked hills is heard
    A noise of many waters,
But green-haired Illa lies unstirred
    Amongst her star-like daughters.

The tempest, pent in moaning ways,
    Awakes the shepherd yonder,
But Illa dreams unknown to days
    Whose wings are wind and thunder.

Here fairy hands and floral feet
    Are brought by bright October;
Here, stained with grapes and smit with heat,
    Comes Autumn, sweet and sober.

Here lovers rest, what time the red
    And yellow colours mingle,
And daylight droops with dying head
    Beyond the western dingle.

And here, from month to month, the time
    Is kissed by peace and pleasure,
While Nature sings her woodland rhyme
    And hoards her woodland treasure.

Ah, Illa Creek! ere evening spreads
    Her wings o’er towns unshaded,
How oft we seek thy mossy beds
    To lave our foreheads faded!

For, let me whisper, then we find
    The strength that lives, nor falters,
In wood and water, waste and wind,
    And hidden mountain altars.

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