Leon Gellert

(1892 - 1977 / Australia)

Lemnos Harbour - Poem by Leon Gellert

The island sleeps,-but it has no delight
For em, to whom that sleep has been unkind.
My thoughts are long of what seems long ago,
And long, too, are my dreams. I do not know
These trailing glories of the star-strewn night
Or the slow sough of the wind.

I hear the rattle of the moving car;
The children crying in the lighted street,
I walk along the same old asphalt way.
I see the church,-I hear the organ play.
I see the hills I wandered on afar,
And spots of rain at my feet.

I see the dust-strewn hedge,-the latched gate;
The gravelled path with roses either side;
The cedar tree,-my mother’s window pane.
I see the place where I sat long and late
By the trellis deep and wide.

The red Virginia crumbles at the wall.
The bed is bare where winter’s snow-drops grew.
I feel my dog come licking at my hand.
I pause awhile beside the door, I stand.
And hear the well-known footsteps softly fall
And the voices that I knew.

I slowly creep and peep beneath the blind.
-My father reads his book within his chair.
Some children play their game of dominoes.
My mother sits beside the fire and sews;
Her head is bowed. I know her eyes are kind
By the grey lines in her hair.

I tap the pane to see those tears unshed.
I see all turn, and watch them sadly stirred
By the sound, and peer to see my face without.
They see, and smile, I hear no welcome shout.
They sit and gaze as they that see the dead,
But no one says a word.

The island sleeps. May sleep come soon to me,
And lull these dreams within my shaken mind;
-These dreams that tell me I have seen the last
of those I left so,-loved so in the past.
* * *
I hear the murmur of the moving sea,
And the murmur of the wind.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 5, 2010

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