Sunday morning

I wake to the sound of the chapel Bell,
And I roll from my bed at dawning,
I taste of the cold, and I look at the stars,
And I look at the dim grey morning.
And the voice of the Devil prompts me loud
That serpent old and crafty,
And I seek again my blankets warm,
That are neither cold nor draughty.
Temptation conquers, I sink to rest,
And am wrapt in slumber quickly –
I wake again at the shout “Ten to!”
With a feeling wild and sickly.
I leap from my couch like a wounded doe,
I snatch a cold shower hasty,
I strive with an obstinate collar-stud,
My remarks are brief but tasty.
In vain my frenzied energy,
My recourse and dash in vain;
While yet I am only half-way dressed –
The implacable bell again!
My eager hands sink listless,
I bow to a fickle Fate;
My breath goes hissing outward,
“Too late,” I cry, “Too late!”

School poems

  • Now virgin forest

    Where now the virgin forest reigns
    In solitary state

  • Quiet

    Where wooded hills run downward to the sea,
    Beside a land-locked harbour, still and deep

  • Voyages

    A merchant ship came sailing here today,
    Her timbers stained, her cordage worn and old

  • Sunday morning

    I wake to the sound of the chapel Bell,
    And I roll from my bed at dawning

  • Re-Awakening

    The dappled sunlight heard those airy footsteps on the grass,
       Rustling in the coppice and
       Dancing on the sward.

  • The Saturday Party

    The dusky storm and the grey half-light,
    The whispered word and a muffled tread

  • Grimy ships

    When the grimy ships go down,
    Down the river to the sea
    Dirty decks and funnels brown

  • Cambyses

    Cambyses is the name men call me. King
    Of Persia once and Egypt.

  • Pirates’ chorus

    We sing of sunken treasure-ships in coral-girt lagoons,
    And ancient casquets burst with weight of ducats and dubloons,

  • Life and Death

    Look where he lies, a clod of earth at best,
    Yet colder than a clod, for where there shone

  • Lines written in meditation upon the recent moth plague

    Moths! Moths! Moths!
    In trouser-leg, singlet and shirt..

  • Easter

    I stood in the street in the morning,
    On a blue and shiny day.

  • Ballade of Suburbia

    I’ve never killed a Marquis in a fight,
    Nor led a lovely lady’s feet astray

  • On first venturing upon a switchback railway

    O mortal man, how fleeting is true bliss,
    So eager sought, so often seeming found

  • To A. E. Houseman

    Full many wise old men have said
       That this world has more ill than good

  • Australia to her Children

    I am so old, oh very old, my children,
       Ye that are so young,

  • Timber

    “Up here the schooners used to come
      For timber, years ago,

  • Music

    He spoke with eager grace, and learnedly,
    Of matters strange, dark, wonderful to me