Louise Mack

(1874 - 1935 / Australia)

To Sydney


CITY, I never told you yet—
O little City, let me tell—
A secret woven of your wiles,
Dear City with the angel face,
And you will hear with frowning grace,
Or will you break in summer smiles?

This is the secret, little town,
Lying so lightly towards the sea;
City, my secret has no art,
Dear City with the golden door;
But oh, the whispers I would pour
Into your ears—into your heart!

You are my lover, little place,
Lying so sweetly all alone.
And yet I cannot, cannot tell
My secret, for the voice will break
That tries to tell of all the ache
Of this poor heart beneath your spell.

Dreaming, I tell you all my tale;
Tell how the tides that wash your feet
Sink through my heart and cut its cords.
Dreaming, I hold my arms, and drag
All, all into my heart—the flag
On the low hill turned harbourwards,

And all the curving little bays,
The hot, dust-ridden, narrow streets,
The languid turquoise of the sky,
The gardens flowing to the wave,
I drag them in. O City, save
The grave for me where I must lie.

Yet humbly I would try to build
Stone upon stone for this town’s sake;
Humbly would try for you to aid
Those whose wise love for you will rear
White monuments far off and near,
White, but unsoiled, undesecrate.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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Read poems about / on: city, angel, summer, heart, sea, alone, sky, smile, dream

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