Henley on the Taieri

Sullen, the stream gives no clear image back
To the black swan,
Scarcely answers the even, rippling wind
Or press of cloud, but slides
Noiseless in umber coils, eluding
The light that patters on the willow leaves
And flares from the white flanks of the hotel.
Friendless river,
Furtive, scentless,
From gorge to gorge over the yielding plain
Thirstily thrusting;
Saying no word to
Manuka or briar rose
Green bough or golden,
But sidelong, alien,
Onward swirled
Beyond leaves and faces,
No duct of life but
Cold seeker
Of self-dissolution
In the bitter and formless
Pit of the desolate sea.

Charles Brasch

©Reproduced with the kind permission of
The Estate of Charles Brasch

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