The Poems of Henry Kendall


Henry Kendall

HERE, pent about by office walls
    And barren eyes all day,
’Tis sweet to think of waterfalls
    Two hundred miles away!

I would not ask you, friends, to brook
    An old, old truth from me,
If I could shut a Poet’s book
    Which haunts me like the Sea!

He saith to me, this Poet saith,
    So many things of light,
That I have found a fourfold faith,
    And gained a twofold sight.

He telleth me, this Poet tells,
    How much of God is seen
Amongst the deep-mossed English dells,
    And miles of gleaming green.

From many a black Gethsemane,
    He leads my bleeding feet
To where I hear the Morning Sea
    Round shining spaces beat!

To where I feel the wind, which brings
    A sound of running creeks,
And blows those dark, unpleasant things,
    The sorrows, from my cheeks.

I’ll shut mine eyes, my Poet choice,
    And spend the day with thee;
I’ll dream thou art a fountain voice
    Which God hath sent to me!

And far beyond these office walls
    My thoughts shall even stray,
And watch the wilful waterfalls,
    Two hundred miles away.

For, if I know not of thy deeds,
    And darling Kentish downs,
I’ve seen the deep, wild Dungog fells,
    And hate the heart of towns!

Then, ho! for beaming bank and brake,
    Far-folded hills among,
Where Williams, like a silver snake,
    Draws winding lengths along!

And ho! for stormy mountain cones,
    Where headlong Winter leaps,
What time the gloomy swamp-oak groans,
    And weeps and wails and weeps.

There, friends, are spots of sleepy green,
    Where one may hear afar,
O’er fifteen leagues of waste, I ween,
    A moaning harbour bar!

(The sea that breaks, and beats and shakes
    The caverns, howling loud,
Beyond the midnight Myall Lakes,
    And half-awakened Stroud!)

There, through the fretful autumn days,
    Beneath a cloudy sun,
Comes rolling down rain-rutted ways,
    The wind, Euroclydon!

While rattles over riven rocks
    The thunder, harsh and dry;
And blustering gum and brooding box
    Are threshing at the sky!

And then the gloom doth vex the sight
    With crude, unshapely forms
Which hold throughout the yelling night
    A fellowship with storms!

But here are shady tufts and turns,
    Where sumptuous Summer lies
(By reaches brave with flags and ferns)
    With large, luxuriant eyes.

And here, another getteth ease—
    Our Spring, so rarely seen,
Who shows us in the cedar trees
    A glimpse of golden green.

What time the flapping bats have trooped
    Away like ghosts to graves,
And darker growths than Night are cooped
    In silent, hillside caves.

Ah, Dungog, dream of darling days,
    ’Tis better thou should’st be
A far-off thing to love and praise—
    A boon from Heaven to me!

For, let me say that when I look
    With wearied eyes on men,
I think of one unchanging nook,
    And find my faith again.

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