Arthur Bayldon

(20 March 1865 - 26 September 1958 / Leeds, England)

An Old Bush Road


Dear old road, wheel-worn and broken,
   Winding thro' the forest green,
Barred with shadow and with sunshine,
   Misty vistas drawn between.
Grim, scarred bluegums ranged austerely,
   Lifting blackened columns each
To the large, fair fields of azure,
   Stretching ever out of reach.

See the hardy bracken growing
   Round the fallen limbs of trees;
And the sharp reeds from the marshes,
   Washed across the flooded leas;
And the olive rushes, leaning
   All their pointed spears to cast
Slender shadows on the roadway,
   While the faint, slow wind creeps past.

Ancient ruts grown round with grasses,
   Soft old hollows filled with rain;
Rough, gnarled roots all twisting queerly,
   Dark with many a weather-stain.
Lichens moist upon the fences,
   Twiners close against the logs;
Yellow fungus in the thickets,
   Vivid mosses in the bogs.

Dear old road, wheel-worn and broken,
   What delights in thee I find!
Subtle charm and tender fancy,
   Like a fragrance in the mind.
Thy old ways have set me dreaming,
   And out-lived illusions rise,
And the soft leaves of the landscape
   Open on my thoughtful eyes.

See the clump of wattles, standing
   Dead and sapless on the rise;
When their boughs were full of beauty,
   Even to uncaring eyes,
I was ever first to rifle
   The soft branches of their store.
O the golden wealth of blossom
   I shall gather there no more!

Now we reach the dun morasses,
   Where the red moss used to grow,
Ruby-bright upon the water,
   Floating on the weeds below.
Once the swan and wild-fowl glided
   By those sedges, green and tall;
Here the booming bitterns nested;
   Here we heard the curlews call.

Climb this hill and we have rambled
   To the last turn of the way;
Here is where the bell-birds tinkled
   Fairy chimes for me all day.
These were bells that never wearied,
   Swung by ringers on the wing;
List! the elfin strains are waking,
   Memory sets the bells a-ring!

Dear old road, no wonder, surely,
   That I love thee like a friend!
And I grieve to think how surely
   All thy loveliness will end.
For thy simple charm is passing,
   And the turmoil of the street
Soon will mar thy sylvan silence
   With the tramp of careless feet.

And for this I look more fondly
   On the sunny landscape, seen
From the road, wheel-worn and broken,
   Winding thro' the forest green,
Something still remains of Nature,
   Thoughts of other days to bring: --
For the staunch old trees are standing,
   And I hear the wild birds sing!

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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Read poems about / on: green, fairy, weather, sunshine, memory, silence, nature, rain, friend, beauty, red, water, wind, dark, dream, rose, tree

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  • Lara Fraser (1/5/2007 8:00:00 PM)

    This poem is identical, apart from one word of the title, 'An' instead of 'The', to one also attributed to Jennings Grace Carmichael. Are they one and the same person? (Report) Reply

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