On Cathedral Mountain


This mountain means discovery, since the day
I climbed it first in boyhood and alone,
Scanned forested folds imperious to be known,
Then up, through wattle and stringybark, scrub, burnt clay,
Loose rock, boot-twisting and scarring, then bare sheer stone
To the knife-edged summit; and saw, beyond, my own,
The valley, virgin since Creation Day.

What new lands of the mind we are given to know
This, more than worlds seen since, abides for me
Their parable. This, not the Alps nor Atlas, no
Not Vineland nor Columbus’ Carribee,
Not peaks in Iceland faint with smouldering snow
Nor Pernambuco gleaming from the sea.


Man craves a permanence patent as this rock
That breaks the edge of time’s eroding tooth,
Wears out his years to build a temple of youth
Proofed against slow decay or lightning shock.
Tireless he toils to hew from granite block
Or bronze-outlasting language his own truth,
To breed for future ages, tongues uncouth,
Immortal scions from his mortal stock.

Only the Son of Man left all in doubt
Unknown he came, and known of few went hence.
His words were spilt on air, cut short, by a shout
Drowned. But winds bear them through the world, immense:
Hearts heal, and in the desert streams break out,
The Signs of that Divine improvidence.

Poems of the Spirit

Poems of Australia

Poems of Nature