Song of the Trees
|by Mary Colborne-Veel|
We are the Trees. Our dark and leafy glade Bands the bright earth with softer mysteries. Beneath us changed and tamed the seasons run: In burning zones, we build against the sun Long centuries of shade. We are the Trees, Who grow for man’s desire, Heat in our faithful hearts, and fruits that please. Dwelling beneath our tents, he lightly gains The few sufficiencies his life attains— Shelter, and food, and fire. We are the Trees That by great waters stand, By rills that murmur to our murmuring bees. And where, in tracts all desolate and waste, The palm-foot stays, man follows on, to taste Springs in the desert sand. We are the Trees Who travel where he goes Over the vast, inhuman, wandering seas. His tutors we, in that adventure brave— He launched with us upon the untried wave, And now its mastery knows. We are the Trees Who bear him company In life and death. His happy sylvan ease He wins through us; through us, his cities spread That like a forest guard his unfenced head ’Gainst storm and bitter sky. We are the Trees. On us the dying rest Their strange, sad eyes, in farewell messages. And we, his comrades still, since earth began, Wave mournful boughs above the grave of man, And coffin his cold breast.
Mary Colborne-Veel was a well-known Christchurch poet, a poet of some dramatic and narrative power. Born in Christchurch and educated at home, she began writing verse and essays for the Press in 1887, and was an early contributor to Zealandia. Subsequently she frequently had work published in Australian and English periodicals.