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A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest
Charles Harpur


Not a bird disturbs the air,
There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods.
What a mighty stillness broods.
Even the grasshoppers keep
Where the coolest shadows sleep;
Even the busy ants are found
Resting in their pebbled mound;
Even the locust clingeth now
In silence to the barky bough:
And over hills and over plains
Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns.
Only there's a drowsy humming
From yon warm lagoon slow coming:
'Tis the dragon-hornet -- see!
All bedaubed resplendently,
With yellow on a tawny ground --
Each rich spot nor square nor round,
But rudely heart-shaped, as it were
The blurred and hasty impress there
Of a vermeil-crusted seal
Dusted o'er with golden meal:
Only there's a droning where
Yon bright beetle gleams the air --
Gleams it in its droning flight
With a slanting track of light,
Till rising in the sunshine higher,
Its shards flame out like gems on fire.
Every other thing is still,
Save the ever-wakeful rill,
Whose cool murmur only throws
Cooler comfort round Repose;
Or some ripple in the sea
Of leafy boughs, where, lazily.
Tired summer, in her forest bower
Turning with the noontide hour,
Heaves a slumbrous breath, ere she
Once more slumbers peacefully.
O 'tis easeful here to lie
Hidden from Noon's scorching eye,
In this grassy cool recess
Musing thus of quietness.

This poem is in the public domain.


Charles Harpur (1813 - 1868) was born in New South Wales to educated British parents. As a teenager, he loved reading Shakespeare and began writing and publishing by the time he was 20. Earning a living as a poet was no easier in 19th century Australia than it is now, so Charles sustained himself through an assortment of odd jobs until he finally became a sheep farmer and, briefly, a civil servant. He died of tuberculosis, having written a sizeable body of critically acclaimed work, but without achieving much notoriety for it.




Post New Comment:
an exercise in rhyme.
Posted 07/09/2016 12:12 PM
Love the way it flows along.
Posted 07/09/2016 07:25 AM
A poet's poem. Choice of words. Cadence. Crown'd by ...Musing thus of quietness. Truly enjoyed. Thanks Charles & Jayne!
Posted 07/09/2016 05:26 AM

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