KIM TARPEY - Australia
Painter - Ceramic Artist - Printmaker

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Three poems by Lesbia Harford (1891 - 1927)

I don’t know when Lesbia visited Panton Hill but her description of the view of Mt Juliet is illuminating when you view it from several aspects in the township. You can only see her clearly when mist hides the mountains behind and she appears Brigadoon like for a little while then disappears again into the blue smudge.


The Changing Hills

Old Poets talked
Of the “eternal Hills”
And “bases of the mountains”;
Oh, they walked
And counted steps
And measured dreams out so!
For, unlike these,
The hills I know
Go whirling to and fro
Behind the trees.
Mount Juliet,-
On Monday morning set
Above the rest.-
At noon or even,
Is with the blest
In Heaven
Not a wraith
Remains to haunt an earthly resting place.
And, lo!
Those golden trees that strayed
So exquisitely near
An hour ago,
Have wandered off again,
To disappear
In far blue shade.
                             Panton Hills


Oh You Dear Trees

O you dear trees, you have learned so much of beauty, You must have studied this only the ages long!
Men have thought of God and laughter and duty
And of love. And of song.
But you, dear trees, from your birth to your hour of dying Have cared for this way only of being wise.
Lovely, lovely, lovely the sapling sighing,
Lovely the dead tree lies.

Pruning Flowering Gums

One summer day, along the street,
Men pruned the gums
To make them neat.
The tender branches, white with flowers,
Lay in the sun
For hours and hours,
And every hour they grew more sweet,
More honey-like
Until the street
Smelt like a hive, withouten bees.
But still the gardeners
Lopped the trees.

Then came the children out of school,
Noisy and separate
As their rule
Of being is. The tangled trees
Gave them one heart;
Such power to please
Had all the flowering branches strown
Around for them
To make their own.
Then such a murmuring arose
As made the ears
Confirm the nose
And give the lie to eyes. For hours
Child bees hummed
In the honey flowers.

They gathered sprigs and armfuls. Some
Ran with their fragrant
Burdens home
And still returned; and after them
Would drag great boughs.

Some stripped a stem
Of rosy flowers and played with these.
Never such love
Had earthly trees
As these young creatures gave. By night
The treasured sprays
Of their delight
Were garnered every one. The street
Looked, as the council liked it, neat


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