Time Passing -- A Miscellany of Poems; ŠThor May 1996     index




Why out from the land that fed me fly

To slouch around New Zealand's sleepy towns?

Why cast upon your kindly eye and hand

A shadow of indifference, curt and bland?

Why scorn a parent, break my promised debt,

Sell friendship cheap and duty dearer yet?


Mother, let me tell you,

Though Reason you may think short shrift

If it's Honour you would name for my bequest.


Ten years ago in a dream all dark and dreary

Where spring trod after winter

Unblossomed, worldly, weary

I came across an ancient thought

In echoes faintly written;

Faint meaning too for hasty eyes...


Yet as I delved it wrought my purpose

Slyly by a line of doubt, and bid a little time,

As though it were to me alone addressed.

Dark as forest, soft as leaves,

Merry as morning, old as the grey stones,

As certain as doom.


And from that half forgotten script

Was cast into my mind

A Quest, that like a living star

Would burn my shadow in the grass

Before I fell to comfort, fear and dust.


Time in its sage, galactic rings

Chimes hour and season by

As fellow, woman, kin depart

On swift, unkindly wings.


Fragile-known, these folk,

Toppling like bright porcelain,

Or swept like old brown cobwebs

In a rush of sudden wind,

Passed and past knowing of the Quest.


So mother, my feet do follow paths and tangled ways

Among the well served roads of ordinary men.

From house to house I pass, from land to land,

Costing some a small amount,

Yet bringing others benefit, with a loan of hand and mouth.


Though a traveler may seem

To these good folk no prince,

Their kindness is well met. Now further yet:

The unseen steps of this benign, strange fellow

May serve their doom, that now serve him,

As time all meanings mellow.


Thor, 1976


Time Passing -- A Miscellany of Poems; ŠThor May 1996     index