The Dwellings Of Our Dead

They lie unwatched, in waste and vacant places,
 In sombre bush or wind-swept tussock spaces,
 Where seldom human tread
 And never human trace is—
 The dwellings of our dead!
  No insolence of stone is o'er them builded;
 By mockery of monuments unshielded,
 Far on the unfenced plain
 Forgotten graves have yielded
 Earth to free earth again.
  Above their crypts no air with incense reeling,
 No chant of choir or sob of organ pealing;
 But ever over them
 The evening breezes kneeling
 Whisper a requiem.
  For some the margeless plain where no one passes,
 Save when at morning far in misty masses
 The drifting flock appears.
 Lo, here the greener grasses
 Glint like a stain of tears!
 
  For some the quiet bush, shade-strewn and saddened,
 Whereo'er the herald tui, morning-gladdened,
 Lone on his chosen tree,
 With his new rapture maddened,
 Shouts incoherently.
  For some the gully where, in whispers tender,
 The flax-blades mourn and murmur, and the slender
 White ranks of toi go,
 With drooping plumes of splendour,
 In pageantry of woe.
  For some the common trench where, not all fameless,
 They fighting fell who thought to tame the tameless,
 And won their barren crown;
 Where one grave holds them nameless—
 Brave white and braver brown.
  But in their sleep, like troubled children turning,
 A dream of mother-country in them burning,
 They whisper their despair,
 And one vague, voiceless yearning
 Burdens the pausing air …
 
  “ Unchanging here the drab year onward presses;
  No Spring comes trysting here with new-loosed tresses ,
  And never may the years
  Win Autumn's sweet caresses —
  Her leaves that fall like tears .
  And we would lie 'neath old-remembered beeches ,
  Where we could hear the voice of him who preaches
  And the deep organ's call ,
  While close about us reaches
  The cool, grey, lichened wall .”
  But they are ours, and jealously we hold them;
 Within our children's ranks we have enrolled them,
 And till all Time shall cease
 Our brooding bush shall fold them
 In her broad-bosomed peace.
  They came as lovers come, all else forsaking,
 The bonds of home and kindred proudly breaking;
 They lie in splendour lone—
 The nation of their making
 Their everlasting throne!

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Arthur Henry Adams

Arthur Henry Adams was a journalist and author. more…

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"The Dwellings Of Our Dead" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Apr. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/3857/the-dwellings-of-our-dead>.

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