University

Over the archway, a legend,
'Enter the portals of Truth'
Looked down by the kneeling girl, Ruth;

Looked down on Ruth, scrubbing the marble
Marked by the hurrying feet,
Her arms, young and brown, moving gladly
To a song that was earthy and sweet.

They were earnest, important, self-searching,
The young students passing her by,
But I thought of a girl in a cornfield
Who belonged to the earth and the sky.

They chattered in cultural jargon,
Studied in gesture and word;
But the song of the brown-eyed girl singing
Was the song, clear and true, of a bird.

The sun smiled, as once on a cornfield,
Lighting the dark hair of Ruth;
As they passed in, intent and unknowing
That scrubbing the pavement was Truth.

                                  Gwen Belson-Taylor (published 1976)
 

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If I am Blind

If I am ever blind, I shall have seen
A jacaranda tree
Gem-crowned with amethyst, in symphony
With the startled blue of new Australian skies.
Before the colour dies
I shall not let the quick enchantment go,
But keep it in my eyes, so it may glow
Richly triumphant on a background jet.
When I am met
With darkness, darkness shall beauty be,
A backcloth for a jacaranda tree.

                                Gwen Belson-Taylor (published 1974)
 

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My Children

Gwen Taylor

How I have loved you
You will never know,
My loved ones drifting in an alien world,
Through sun and days bereft, with rain drops pearled,
Who children were so little time ago.

You knocked upon a hopeful door ajar;
An empty house with quiet, untrodden floor
You made to sing.
A star you brought to light the little ways
Of waiting days.
I carried you who other worlds had held
And all the years, illumined, hastened by.
You were the earth, the blueness in the sky,
The sunrise and the sunset on the hill,
The murmuring trees unfelled.

You were my life,
Star-radiance near and far…..

And can you know not,
In the afterglow
Of lengthening years, of tears,
I love you still?

                  Gwen Belson-Taylor (published 1986)

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Vale, Old Sailor
 

              For Jim Devaney

The old sailor leaves the port
Quietly, out of pain.
His hand is strong upon the helm
And dawning breaks again.
And out on the sweet waters
Where ride the silent ships
The salt spray washes clear his eyes
And stars are on his lips.

James Devaney

The old sailor's hands were gnarled;
He chafed, with footsteps slow.
'I who have lived too long,' he said,
'Am ready now to go.'

The cold winters lined his brow
And mournful vespers sung;
But young life ever warmed his days
Because his heart was young.

The old sailor gave his hand
To young and faltering hands.
Their eyes, their lips, he taught to see
And sing of smiling lands;

But wryly smiled away the pleas
Of fond inquirers kind;
'Why write my life? I only had
Adventures of the mind.'

But the old sailor’s step is firm
Now age is left behind
On a sudden vibrant journey
Behind a silent prow
Where the very stillness is a song
Upon the shining prow-

And the light that outshines starlight
Is white upon the sea,
Encompassing One waiting
Who walked in Galilee.
 

                                Gwen Belson-Taylor (1976)

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Husband

                      By Gwen Belson Taylor

….And somewhere is the sky still blue
And the sun poignant on the morning dew
As then…..
And the white sea birds overhead
Floating in idleness, as when
The waves lapped quietly in gentleness,
In innocence?

This was before the shades that called us hence,
Me from you and you from me;
The arid time despite the recompense
Of children singing; of mountains high
That rose between us, that perplexedly
We could not scale.

The rough winds flail,
The air is taut and cold;
Above the green, the lawn, the broken turfs,
The sky is mute and old.

Husband, I loved you;
Did you think of me
Dreaming, when days of innocence were gone?
How could I know
That you, in exile, would so quietly lie
Beneath the green turf, the grey sky
That shone so blue when we walked hand in hand?

Was that another land?
Although the sap has burgeoned into leaf
Beneath a sky of grief
And rain beats down upon your buried strand?

                                 Gwen Belson-Taylor  (published 1986)

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