Arthur Henry Adams

6 December 1872 – 4 March 1936 / Lawrence / New Zealand

Maoriland

MAORILAND, my mother!
Holds the earth so fair another?
O, my land of the moa and Maori ,
Garlanded grand with your forests of kauri ,
Lone you stand, only beauty your dowry ,
Maoriland, my mother!
Older poets sing their frozen
England in her mists enshrouded;
Newer lands my Muse has chosen,
'Neath a Southern sky unclouded;
Set, a solitary gem,
In Pacific's diadem.
Land of rugged white-clad ranges,
Standing proud, impassive, lonely;
Ice and snow, where never change is,
Save the mighty motion only
Where through valleys seared and deep
Slow the serpent glaciers creep.
Land of silent lakes that nestle
Deep as night, girt round with forest;
Water never cut by vessel,
In whose mirror evermore rest
Green-wrapt mountain-side and peak,
Reddened by the sunset's streak.

Land of forests richly sweeping,
By the rata's red fire spangled;
Where at noonday night is sleeping,
Where, beneath the creepers tangled,
Come the tui's liquid calls
And the plash of waterfalls.
Land where fire from Earth's deep centre
Fights for breath in anguish furied,
Till she from the weight that pent her
Flings her flames out fiercely lurid;
Where the geysers hiss and seethe,
And the rocks groan far beneath.
Land of tussocked plain extending
In the distant blue to mingle,
Where wide rivers sigh unending
Over weary wastes of shingle;
Cold as moonlight is their flow
From the glacier-ice and snow.
Land where torrents pause to dally
'Neath the toi's floating feather,
Where the flax-blades in the valley
Whisper stealthily together,
And within the cabbage-trees
Hides the dying evening breeze.

Land where all winds whisper one word,
“Death!”—though skies are fair above her.
Newer nations white press onward:
Her brown warriors' fight is over—
One by one they yield their place,
Peace-slain chieftains of her race.
Land where faces find no furrow,
With the flush of life elated;
Where no grief is, save the sorrow
Of a pleasure that is sated;
Land of children lithe and slim,
Fresh of face and long of limb.
Land of fair enwreathëd cities,
Wide towns that the green bush merge in;
Land whose history unwrit is—
Memory hath no chaster virgin!
Land that is a starting place
For a newer, nobler race.
Maoriland, my mother!
Holds the Earth so fair another?
O, my land of the moa and Maori ,
Garlanded grand with your rata and kauri ,
Lone you stand, only beauty your dowry ,
Maoriland, my mother!
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