Roderic Quinn

1867 - 1949 / Australia

The Frontier-Land

YOU of the past, are you present?
Draw nearer! my heart is sore.
Was yours the fall of the foot in the hall?
Was yours the face at the door?
As I lifted my eyes I saw you;
You vanished, and all was still;
And only outside the white owl cried,
And the moon stared over the hill.
Wan-blue were your eyes, O Shadow,
And paler your aspect than seems
The mystical star, that glimmers afar
In a land of mysterious dreams.
O Shadow, the past is present,
And empty your coffin and tomb;
Draw near, draw near, chill child of fear,
From the frontier-land of Gloom!
Did you know that I loved you, Shadow?
Did you guess whence the violets came?
And the delicate heart with its Cupid dart,
All opal and ruby-flame?
Ah, once brown-gold were the lashes
That shadowed your dreaming eyes,
And your teeth were pearl 'neath the coral curl
Of twin portals of Paradise.
And warmer your cheeks were and softer
(Alas, they are pale and cold!)
Than the rose of the East, or the wine of the feast
Red-rimming its carven gold.
It was all so sad, O Shadow,
And you faded away so soon,
Like a note that flies, and fades, and dies
Ere it grows to a golden tune.
Gone! utterly gone, O Shadow;
No whisper, no word let fall;
No light is shed, and the moon is dead,
And a chill creeps up the hall.
I shall follow and follow you, Shadow,
Till the sun, remote and red,
Burns like a spark, and dim and dark
Rise up the hosts of the dead.
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