Arthur Henry Adams

Here you will find the Poem The Australian of poet Arthur Henry Adams

The Australian

ONCE more this Autumn-earth is ripe, 
 Parturient of another type. 
While with the Past old nations merge 
His foot is on the Future?s verge. 
They watch him, as they huddle, pent, 
Striding a spacious continent, 
Above the level desert?s marge 
Looming in his aloofness large. 
No flower with fragile sweetness graced? 
A lank weed wrestling with the waste; 
Pallid of face and gaunt of limb, 
The sweetness withered out of him; 
Sombre, indomitable, wan, 
The juices dried, the glad youth gone. 
A little weary from his birth, 
His laugh the spectre of a mirth, 
Bitter beneath a bitter sky, 
To Nature he has no reply. 
Wanton, perhaps, and cruel. Yes, 
Is not his sun more merciless? 
So drab and neutral is his day, 
He finds a splendour in the grey, 
And from his life?s monotony 
He draws a dreary melody. 
When earth so poor a banquet makes 
His pleasures at a gulp he takes; 
The feast is his to the last crumb: 
Drink while he can?the drought will come. 
His heart a sudden tropic flower, 
He loves and loathes within an hour. 
Yet you who by the pools abide, 
Judge not the man who swerves aside; 
He sees beyond your hazy fears; 
He roads the desert of the years; 
Rearing his cities in the sand, 
He builds where even God has banned; 
With green a continent he crowns, 
And stars a wilderness with towns; 
With paths the distances he snares; 
His gyves of steel the great plain wears. 
A child who takes a world for toy, 
To build a nation or destroy, 
His childish features frozen stern, 
His manhood?s task he has to learn? 
From feeble tribes to federate 
One white and peace-encompassed State. 
But if there be no goal to reach?? 
The track lies open, dawns beseech! 
Enough that he lay down his load 
A little farther on the road. 
So, toward undreamt-of destinies 
He slouches down the centuries.