October 21, 2009

Bell Birds

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Let this lyrical poem lull your day!
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--Description: 19th C, Kendall H., Nature, Seasons--



By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling:
It lives in the mountain where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.

The silver-voiced bell birds, the darlings of daytime!
They sing in September their songs of the May-time;
When shadows wax strong, and the thunder bolts hurtle,
They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;
When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together,
They start up like fairies that follow fair weather;
And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden
Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.

October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,
Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;
Loiters, knee-deep, in the grasses, to listen,
Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten:
Then is the time when the water-moons splendid
Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended
Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning
Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the Morning.

Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers
Are the voices of bell-birds to the thirsty far-comers.
When fiery December sets foot in the forest,
And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,
Pent in the ridges for ever and ever
The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,
With ring and with ripple, like runnels who torrents
Are toned by the pebbles and the leaves in the currents.

Often I sit, looking back to a childhood,
Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,
Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion,
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of Passion; -
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest-rafters;
So I might keep in the city and alleys
The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys:
Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.


Henry Kendall

*Especially liked by Natasha O.

--Did You Know: (18 April 1839 - 1 August 1882) Kendall was a nineteenth century Australian poet. Kendall was born near Ulladulla, New South Wales. He was registered as Thomas Henry Kendall, but never appears to have used his first name. Another name, Clarence, was added in adult life but his three volumes of verse were all published under the name of "Henry Kendall". His father, Basil Kendall, was the son of the Rev. Thomas Kendall who came to Sydney in 1809 and five years later went as a missionary to New Zealand. He received only a slight education. When he was 15 he went to sea with one of his uncles and was away for about two years. Returning to Sydney when 17 years old he found his mother keeping a boarding-school; it was necessary that he should do something to earn a living, and he became a shop-assistant. He had begun to write verses and this brought him in contact with two well-known verse writers of the day, Joseph Sheridan Moore who published a volume of verse, Spring Life Lyrics, in 1864, and James Lionel Michael. He removed to Grafton in 1861 and Kendall was again employed by him for about six months during the following year. Kendall made another friend in Henry Parkes, who was editing The Empire from 1850 to 1857 and published a few of his youthful verses. In 1862 he sent some poems to the London Athenaeum which printed three of them and gave the author kindly praise. In the same year his first volume, Poems and Songs, was published at Sydney. It was well received and eventually the whole edition of 500 copies was sold.

--Word of the Day: exculpate \EK-skuhl-payt; ek-SKUHL-payt\, transitive verb:
To clear from alleged fault or guilt; to prove to be guiltless; to relieve of blame; to acquit.
Example:
Each member is determined to exculpate himself, to lay the blame elsewhere.
-Joseph Wood Krutch, "How Will Posterity Rank O'Neill?", New York Times, October 21, 1956

--Quote of the Day: Coming generations will learn equality from poverty, and love from woes.
-Kahlil Gibran

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