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Mary Colborne-Veel

(New Zealand)

Saturday Night


Saturday night in the crowded town;
Pleasure and pain going up and down,
Murmuring low on the ear there beat
Echoes unceasing of voice and feet.
Withered age, with its load of care,
Come in this tumult of life to share,
Childhood glad in its radiance brief,
Happiest-hearted or bowed with grief,
Meet alike, as the stars look down
Week by week on the crowded town.

~And in a kingdom of mystery,
Rapt from this weariful world to see
Magic sights in the yellow glare,
Breathing delight in the gas-lit air,
Careless of sorrow, of grief or pain,
Two by two, again and again,
Strephon and Chloe together move,
Walking in Arcady, land of love.~

What are the meanings that burden all
These murmuring voices that rise and fall?
Tragedies whispered of, secrets told,
Over the baskets of bought and sold;
Joyous speech of the lately wed;
Broken lamentings that name the dead:
Endless runes of the gossip's rede,
And gathered home with the weekly need,
Kindly greetings as neighbours meet
There in the stir of the busy street.

Then is the glare of the gaslight ray
Gifted with potency strange to-day,
Records of time-written history
Flash into sight as each face goes by.
There, as the hundreds slow moving go,
Each with his burden of joy or woe,
Souls, in the meeting of stranger's eyes,
Startled this kinship to recognise, --
Meet and part, as the stars look down,
Week by week on the crowded town.

~And still, in the midst of the busy hum,
Rapt in their dream of delight they come.
Heedless of sorrow, of grief or care,
Wandering on in enchanted air,
Far from the haunting shadow of pain:
Two by two, again and again,
Strephon and Chloe together move,
Walking in Arcady, land of love.~

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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