The North Again

Year: 1938

by Victor Kennedy   

It's well, this tilting of the steady rain
That fills each billabong;
And yet, my ears are alert again
For one cry old and long;
It springs from the reefs where ships have lain
And ranks of dead men throng.

It's well, this moaning of the steady wind
That clangs each bolted gate;
But I have eyes with a fear behind;
For one form lean with hate;
It springs from the Barrier crests, surf-lined,
Where cyclone frenzies wait.

It's well, this terror in the hearts out here
(The creeks are in flood to-night)
But in my thought is a memory, clear
With wild, death-driven spite;
It springs from the east where trade winds veer
To break on headlands white.

It stamps through ranges where pendas hold
The press of a breaking sky,
And flings them screaming in flange and fold
To die where jungles die;
To bleed back to earth and sucking mould
The blood they'd striven by.

Yet I am turning to the North again
However its seasons go,
To feel the swish of the sweltering rain
After a mid-year glow;
To loiter awhile where banyans strain
And rich, red crotons grow.

It's well, the colours of life are there;
Blood's red; the brown of mould;
And life is swept to its atmosphere
Of filtered sunray-gold;
Fine, fine is the depth of amber air
Where jungle roots have hold.

And strong the urge in a firm-knit mind
(The soil's own springing seed)
To shape the life that a man must find
Is all that a man shall need;
For storms that are death and suns that blind
Are birth in that springing seed.

                                    Victor Kennedy (1938)