Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
194. The Isle of Apple-trees
 
By Fritz S. Burnell
 
 
THERE came a little light-foot breeze a-dancing down the bay,
It kissed me on my lips and eyes, and oh, my heart was fey!
For the blue hills, the true hills, the sickle-sweep of sand,
The glen that opened out beyond, the trees on either hand.
For white against the darkling wood, beyond the shoreward seas,        5
I knew that you were waiting in the Isle of Apple-trees.
 
The broad red sail dropped slowly down, the anchorstone splashed clear;
The sea-birds rose, a screaming cloud, before our sailors’ cheer.
I took no heed of wave or weed, but fared in haste to shore,
In dread the dream might fade away, and I should dream no more.        10
For well I knew I dreamed; but oh! I prayed it might not cease
Ere you and I had met amid the Isle of Apple-trees.
 
How all the faery woodland sought to stay me from my quest!
A thousand unseen voices woke strange fancies in my breast.
But I stayed not, delayed not, to Aengus I prayed,        15
Through numberless beguilings I passed into the glade.
The blue sea crooned beneath the hill, and overhead the breeze
As our lips met and our hearts met in the Isle of Apple-trees.
 
O far-off, faery isle of dreams! Once more let me discern
The water-fall, half-light, half-song, that laughed among the fern;        20
The high hills, the shy hills, a-dreaming in the mist;
The scented air, the heavy boughs, the hedges sunny-kissed!
I’m hearing still the wailing of the birds and of the breeze,
For the love I found and lost again in the Isle of Apple-trees!
 
Oh, little hands and dewy lips, and softly-shining eyes,        25
Have you for ever fled? My heart is sick with memories.
Why have you made me half afraid lest all my search prove vain,
And ne’er till all the worlds grow cold we two shall meet again?
O life or death or hell or heaven! What should I care for these?
I have forgot the pathway to the Isle of Apple-trees!        30
 

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