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.
 
52. White Paper
 
By Sydney Jephcott
 
 
SNOWY-SMOOTH beneath the pen—
  Richest field that iron ploughs,
Germinating thoughts of men,
  Tho’ no heaven its rain allows.
 
There they ripen, thousand-fold;        5
  And our spirits reap the corn,
In a day-long dream of gold—
  Food for all the souls unborn.
 
Like the murmur of the earth,
  When we listen stooping low,        10
Like sap singing nature’s mirth
  Foaming up the trees that grow.
 
Evermore a subtle song
  Sings the pen unto it, while
Fluid idea flows along,        15
  Each new Era’s mother-Nile.
 
Greater than ensphering Sea,
  For it holds the sea and land;
Seed of every deed to be
  Down its current borne like sand.        20
 
I caress thy surface sheer,
  Holding thee the Absolute;
Where the things to be inhere,
  Waiting their material bruit.
 
How I love thee! my heart’s blood        25
  Were too dull to smutch thy white!
I’ll aver: no lily’s bud
  Lays such unction on my sight.
 
Suave of maiden’s throat or arm,
  Bliss embodied to the touch,        30
Has not such ambrosial charm—
  Not a marble Goddess such!
 
Dear White Paper! All To-day
  Palpitates with spirit-heat—
Only on thy whiteness may        35
  Seers translate its rhythms sweet!
 
Holy Paper! all the Past
  Were a rack of ruined cloud
Stripping from our orbit vast,
  But thou Eternity endowed        40
 
With an actual soul of speech—
  Life of life by death distilled—
That all dateless days shall reach,
  As life’s vine of veins is filled.
 
O, the glorious Heavens wrought        45
  By Cadmean souls of yore
From pure element of Thought!
  And thy leaves their silvern door!
 
Light they open, and we stand
  Past the sovereignty of Fate;        50
Glad among Them, still and grand,
  The Creators and Create!
 

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