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September in Australia
Henry Kendall


Grey Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
⁠And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind of the West
⁠And the Spring in her raiment!
The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,
⁠While the forest discovers
Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,
⁠And the music of lovers.

September, the maid with the swift, silver feet!
⁠She glides, and she graces
The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,
⁠With her blossomy traces;
Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,
⁠She lightens and lingers
In spots where the harp of the evening glows,
⁠Attuned by her fingers.

The stream from its home in the hollow hill slips
⁠In a darling old fashion;
And the day goeth down with a song on its lips,
⁠Whose key-note is passion.
Far out in the fierce, bitter front of the sea
⁠I stand, and remember
Dead things that were brothers and sisters of thee,
⁠Resplendent September!

The West, when it blows at the fall of the noon
⁠And beats on the beaches,
Is filled with a tender and tremulous tune
⁠That touches and teaches;
The stories of Youth, of the burden of Time,
⁠And the death of Devotion,
Come back with the wind, and are themes of the rhyme
⁠In the waves of the ocean.

We, having a secret to others unknown,
⁠In the cool mountain-mosses,
May whisper together, September, alone
⁠Of our loves and our losses!
One word for her beauty, and one for the grace
⁠She gave to the hours;
And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face
⁠To sleep with the flowers.

High places that knew of the gold and the white
⁠On the forehead of Morning
Now darken and quake, and the steps of the Night
⁠Are heavy with warning.
Her voice in the distance is lofty and loud
⁠Through the echoing gorges;
She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of cloud,
⁠And her feet in the surges.

On the tops of the hills, on the turreted cones—
⁠Chief temples of thunder—
The gale, like a ghost, in the middle watch moans,
⁠Gliding over and under.
The sea, flying white through the rack and the rain,
⁠Leapeth wild at the forelands;
And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain,
⁠Complains in the moorlands.

Oh, season of changes—of shadow and shine—
⁠September the splendid!
My song hath no music to mingle with thine,
⁠And its burden is ended;
But thou, being born of the winds and the sun,
⁠By mountain, by river,
Mayst lighten and listen, and loiter and run,
⁠With thy voices for ever!

This poem is in the public domain.


Thomas Henry Kendall, also known as Henry Clarence Kendall (1839 – 1882) was born in New South Wales, Australia. Formal education was brief; Henry took to the sea with his uncle when he was only 15. In the years afterwards, he worked in various government positions, struggling throughout his life with alcohol and poverty. Despite that, he achieved significant acclaim as a writer, befriending leading authors of his day and publishing several books. Considered, at one point, Australia’s finest poet, there are several schools, streets, and parks in that country named in Henry’s honor.



Post New Comment:
What a beautiful poem, both images and words!
Posted 09/01/2021 01:57 PM
What an accomplishment to write a poem like this one...a lost art!!!
Posted 09/01/2021 11:11 AM
michael escoubas:
What astute craftsmanship: couplets of 11 and 6 syllables respectively with an interlocking rhyme-scheme, perfectly executed throughout. William Butler Yeats referred to poems as "songs." That is certainly the case here. Great post, Jayne!
Posted 09/01/2021 10:42 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I agree with Larry. There are many wonderful words and phrases here. I like "And the plover, whose cry is like passion with pain, Complains in the moorlands." I can hear it. Also, "She hath hidden her eyes in a mantle of clouds, And her feet in the surges." Beautiful images come to mind.
Posted 09/01/2021 08:40 AM
Larry Schug:
I kind of wish we still used words like "hath", "goeth" and leapeth". This poem is full of magical phrases, such as "halo of hyaline hours", "the forehead of morning" and "attuned by her fingers". This be delightful as delightful can be.
Posted 09/01/2021 07:50 AM

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