The Austral Months

January

The first fair month! In singing Summer’s sphere
She glows, the eldest daughter of the year.
All light, all warmth, all passion, breaths of myrrh,
And subtle hints of rose-lands, come with her.
She is the warm, live month of lustre—she
Makes glad the land and lulls the strong, sad sea.
The highest hope comes with her. In her face
Of pure, clear colour lives exalted grace;
Her speech is beauty, and her radiant eyes
Are eloquent with splendid prophecies.

February

The bright-haired, blue-eyed last of Summer. Lo,
Her clear song lives in all the winds that blow;
The upland torrent and the lowland rill,
The stream of valley and the spring of hill,
The pools that slumber and the brooks that run
Where dense the leaves are, green the light of sun,
Take all her grace of voice and colour. She,
With rich warm vine-blood splashed from heel to knee,
Comes radiant through the yellow woodlands. Far
And near her sweet gifts shine like star by star.
She is the true Demeter. Life of root
Glows under her in gardens flushed with fruit;
She fills the fields with strength and passion—makes
A fire of lustre on the lawn-ringed lakes;
Her beauty awes the great wild sea; the height
Of grey magnificence takes strange delight
And softens at her presence, at the dear
Sweet face whose memory beams through all the year.

March

Clear upland voices, full of wind and stream,
Greet March, the sister of the flying beam
And speedy shadow. She, with rainbow crowned,
Lives in a sphere of songs of mazy sound.
The hymn of waters and the gale’s high tone,
With anthems from the thunder’s mountain throne,
Are with her ever. This, behold, is she
Who draws its great cry from the strong, sad sea;
She is the month of majesty. Her force
Is power that moves along a stately course,
Within the lines of order, like no wild
And lawless strength of winter’s fiercest child.
About her are the wind-whipped torrents; far
Above her gleams and flies the stormy star,
And round her, through the highlands and their rocks,
Rings loud the grand speech from the equinox.

April

The darling of Australia’s Autumn—now
Down dewy dells the strong, swift torrents flow!
This is the month of singing waters—here
A tender radiance fills the Southern year;
No bitter winter sets on herb and root,
Within these gracious glades, a frosty foot;
The spears of sleet, the arrows of the hail,
Are here unknown. But down the dark green dale
Of moss and myrtle, and the herby streams,
This April wanders in a home of dreams;
Her flower-soft name makes language falter. All
Her paths are soft and cool, and runnels fall
In music round her; and the woodlands sing
For evermore, with voice of wind and wing,
Because this is the month of beauty—this
The crowning grace of all the grace that is.

May

Now sings a cool, bland wind, where falls and flows
The runnel by the grave of last year’s rose;
Now, underneath the strong perennial leaves,
The first slow voice of wintering torrent grieves.
Now in a light like English August’s day,
Is seen the fair, sweet, chastened face of May;
She is the daughter of the year who stands
With Autumn’s last rich offerings in her hands;
Behind her gleams the ghost of April’s noon,
Before her is the far, faint dawn of June;
She lingers where the dells and dewy leas
Catch stormy sayings from the great bold seas;
Her nightly raiment is the misty fold
That zones her round with moonlight-coloured gold;
And in the day she sheds, from shining wings,
A tender heat that keeps the life in things.

June

Not like that month when, in imperial space,
The high, strong sun stares at the white world’s face;
Not like that haughty daughter of the year
Who moves, a splendour, in a splendid sphere;
But rather like a nymph of afternoon,
With cool, soft sunshine, comes Australian June.
She is the calm, sweet lady, from whose lips
No breath of living passion ever slips;
The wind that on her virgin forehead blows
Was born too late to speak of last year’s rose;
She never saw a blossom, but her eyes
Of tender beauty see blue, gracious skies;
She loves the mosses, and her feet have been
In woodlands where the leaves are always green;
Her days pass on with sea-songs, and her nights
Shine, full of stars, on lands of frosty lights.

July

High travelling winds, filled with the strong storm’s soul,
Are here, with dark, strange sayings from the Pole;
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Henry Kendall

Thomas Henry Kendall was a nineteenth-century Australian author and bush poet, who was particularly known for his poems and tales set in a natural environment setting. more…

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"The Austral Months" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 18 Jan. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/17571/the-austral-months>.

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