Vance Palmer

(1885 - 1959 / Australia)

The Pathfinders


Night, and a bitter sky, and strange birds crying,
The wan trees whisper and the winds make moan,
Here where in ultimate peace their bones are lying
In gaunt waste places that they made their own,
Beyond the ploughed lands where the corn is sown.

Death, and untrodden ways, and night before them,
From sheltering homes and friendly hearths they came;
Far from the mouldering dust of those that bore them
They rest in silence now and know no fame,
No proud stone speaks, no waters lip the name.

Brave and undaunted hearts, eyes lit with laughter,
Minds that outran the ancient doubts and fears,
They blazed the track for legions following after,
And bared new treasure to the hungry years,
Till spent with strife they sank amongst the spears.

Slow sinks the glowing flame and fades the ember,
No bright star flickers and the woods are stark,
But still our children's children will remember
The swift forerunners, bearers of the ark,
Who lit the beacons in the uncharted dark.

Rich towns shall flourish on the hills that hold them,
Bright dreams shall quicken from their wandering dust,
And till the end our reverent minds shall fold them
In storied chambers free from moth and rust:
The fealty pledged, the kingdom given in trust.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004
Edited: Monday, June 04, 2012

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  • Rookie - 475 Points Michelle Claus (6/6/2014 3:31:00 PM)

    And so it goes throughout our human story... *No proud stone speaks*... countless unsung heroes (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,718 Points Kevin Patrick (6/6/2014 11:43:00 AM)

    Slow sinks the glowing flame and fades the ember,
    No bright star flickers and the woods are stark,
    But still our children's children will remember
    The swift forerunners, bearers of the ark,
    Who lit the beacons in the uncharted dark.

    Tremendous amount of beauty and depth, the language is rich and flow with natural rhythm, a really great modern poem of the day (Report) Reply

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