Outlines

The tufted gums along the rise
Stand black against the evening skies.

And in the red west sombreing
As daylight dies,
A simple moon-the loveliest thing.

I love outlines. It may be
Some old wise heritage in me,
For well we know that finite mind
Calls for the bounded and defined.
Though random fancy loves to range
The aimless mists of dawn, and strange
Lovely illusions in the sky
That charm and lie,
Something there is in mortal man
Must have a margin and a plan;
And Truth the tyrant has decreed
For human need,
Limit and form since thought began.

This long bold mountain line is true,
But not those changing whims I see
Gleamy and vague and visionary
In air-built blue.

Deep in the soul we understand
Our nature's mystical demand
For the old sane austerities:
O pilgrim of a homeless land,
Hold fast to these.

Across the stumbling centuries
The eyes of men turn backward still
To a firm Cross upon a hill.

                                   James Devaney

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