Roderic Quinn

1867 - 1949 / Australia

Australia's Vision

ALL still! and, high above, the sun
In cloudless, golden reign —
A mirage in the quivering west —
A horseman on the plain!
Silent, with hand above his eyes,
With thoughts undreamed, unguessed,
Like some bronze shape immovable,
He gazes down the west.
High overhead an eagle soars
On proud, wide-spreading wings;
Crouching, they watch with stricken eyes —
The furred and feathered things.
No song, no sound! but arching skies
With not a cloud to mar;
O horseman, gazing down the west,
What seest thou afar?
Is you a mirage dream, indeed,
Heat-born, shape-thronged, sublime?
Or but a mirror of the things
That thou shalt know in time?
What comes and goes in yonder haze?
What moving things are these?
Are they the masts of battleships,
Or are they phantom trees?
Speak thou, whose eyes are eagle-keen,
Nor dimmed with old regrets;
Are yonder shapes but spectral reeds,
Or are they bayonets?
Look well into the Vision's heart,
O horseman on the plain!
Trust nought except thine own true eyes —
For thine the loss or gain.
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