I see them in my dreams. Their tiny hands
Clutch feebly at the air; upon my face
Blows their sweet breath; a little voice demands
My eager kisses. In that soft embrace
A sense of aching, though I know not why,
A sense of some forgotten, longed-for joy,
A joy that thrills me through, yet makes me sigh,
That time could never change, nor death destroy;
Still in my dreams I clasp them to my breast,
Their soft warm presence folded close to mine;
And o'er me steals the balm of perfect rest,
And through my veins a gladness like to wine.
I murmur, shiver--then, as cold as stone,
Awake--and oh, dear God! awake alone!
The storm is spent, the wind has died away;
Cool raindrops cling to trembling leaf and tree
As one departing lingers--loath to stay--
And yet departing more unwillingly.
The clouds have vanished from the purpled sky
Before the footsteps of the rising moon
(The queen whose jewelled courtiers prostrate lie
Dazed by the splendour of her silvered shoon).
The earth beneath, half-hidden, half-revealed,
Breathes mellowed beauty where each faery beam
Bathes kloof and vlei and kraal and mealie-field
And willows swaying sadly o'er a stream--
In light--wherein a mining shaft may seem
The angel's ladder of a poet's dream.
No breath of air. The fingers of the sun
Have touched a panting world with lambent fire,
And now the earth and heavens wrapped in one
Deep gloom, with dread await what both desire,
The eager wind comes sweeping through the street,
And atoms gathered here and scattered there
Are drawn again together till they meet,
And twisting strangely in the yellow glare
Assume unhallowed shapes. A hush, a thrill
Foretell great happenings. And by and by
A sudden blinding light--and all is still;
A crash--so might a Titan roar and die!
Then, sweet as sleep that lulls persistent pain.
In ever-swelling cadence falls the rain.
Dawn at Paardekraal
The dim grey light comes stealing, and the stars
Melt swiftly, till at last the only one
Is left a watcher. Rosy, radiant bars
Of cloud foretell a day not yet begun.
The purple sky pales in the waking east
From blue to faintest green. The mountains stand
On the horizon's edge. Each bird and beast
Stirs in its sleep. A hush is o'er the land.
The light grows brighter. Trees and shrubs appear
Like wraiths that beckon dumbly in the gloom,
Mysterious shapes that slowly grow more clear,
Then--chirping birds, and flowers all a-bloom.
And lo! the Sun--wielding a molten spear,
Leaps, like a god, new-risen from his tomb.