Leaves from Australian Forests

In the Valley

Henry Kendall

SAID the yellow-haired Spirit of Spring
    To the white-footed Spirit of Snow,
“On the wings of the tempest take wing,
    And leave me the valleys, and go.”
And, straightway, the streams were unchained,
    And the frost-fettered torrents broke free,
And the strength of the winter-wind waned
    In the dawn of a light on the sea.

Then a morning-breeze followed and fell,
    And the woods were alive and astir
With the pulse of a song in the dell,
    And a whisper of day in the fir.
Swift rings of sweet water were rolled
    Down the ways where the lily-leaves grew,
And the green, and the white, and the gold,
    Were wedded with purple and blue.

But the lips of the flower of the rose
    Said, “where is the ending hereof?
Is it sweet with you, life, at the close?
    Is it sad to be emptied of love?”
And the voice of the flower of the peach
    Was tender and touching in tone,
“When each has been grafted on each,
    It is sorrow to live on alone.”

Then the leaves of the flower of the vine
    Said, “what will there be in the day
When the reapers are red with my wine,
    And the forests are yellow and grey?”
And the tremulous flower of the quince
    Made answer, “three seasons ago
My sisters were star-like, but since,
    Their graves have been made in the snow.”

Then the whispering flower of the fern
    Said, “who will be sad at the death,
When Summer blows over the burn,
    With the fierceness of fire in her breath?”
And the mouth of the flower of the sedge
    Was opened to murmur and sigh,
“Sweet wind-breaths that pause at the edge
    Of the nightfall, and falter, and die.”

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