David McKee Wright
An Old Colonist's Reverie
Dustily over the highway pipes the loud nor'-wester at morn,
Wind and the rising sun, and waving tussock and corn;
It brings to me days gone by when first in my ears it rang,
The wind is the voice of my home, and I think of the songs it sang
When, fresh from the desk and ledger, I crossed the long leagues of sea --
"The old worn world is gone and the new bright world is free."
The wide, wild pastures of old are fading and passing away,
All over the plain are the homes of the men who have come to stay --
I sigh for the good old days in the station whare again;
But the good new days are better -- I would not be heard to complain;
It is only the wind that cries with tears in its voice to me
Of the dead men low in the mould who came with me over the sea.
Some of them down in the city under the marble are laid,
Some on the bare hillside in the mound by the lone tree shade,
And some in the forest deeps of the west in their silence lie,
With the dark pine curtain above shutting out the blue of the sky.
And many have passed from my sight, whither I never shall know,
Swept away in the rushing river or caught in the mountain snow;
All the old hands are gone who came with me over the sea,
But the land that we made our own is the same bright land to me.
There are dreams in the gold of the kowhai, and when ratas are breaking
I can hear the rich murmur of voices in the deeps of the fern-shadowed gloom.
Old memory may bring me her treasures from the land of the blossoms of May,
But to me the hill daisies are dearer and the gorse on the river bed grey;
While the mists on the high hilltops curling, the dawn-haunted
haze of the sea,
To my fancy are bridal veils lifting from the face of the land of the free.
The speargrass and cabbage trees yonder, the honey-belled flax in its bloom,
The dark of the bush on the sidings, the snow-crested mountains that loom
Golden and grey in the sunlight, far up in the cloud-fringed blue,
Are the threads with old memory weaving and the line of my life
And the wind of the morning calling has ever a song for me
Of hope for the land of the dawning in the golden years to be.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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