SABBATH RAIN

Emily Bulcock Obituary

All day soft rain have wrapt the city round
In misty cloak with soothing in each fold,
Halted Life's pageant; softened each harsh sound,
Our world win[d]s back to simpler days of old.
The dwindling traffic goes half-muffled by,
Life's tawdry glitter fades; the home lights shine
With their old intimate luring; Peace draws nigh
To lay on chafing hearts her touch divine.
Even Youth's hot urgency is stayed awhile;
The car at rest; the racquet laid aside.
Hearth comfort, song, and gracious books beguile,
And calm creeps back to souls unsatisfied,
Till the lost charms of Home stands forth confessed?
....The quiet things, the quiet hours are the best!

                                      Emily Bulcock (1945)

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POINSETTIAS (Auchenflower)

Poinsettias (SLQ image)

Midwinter clutches on the skirts of June-
And lays her blighting touch on bud and flower,
Her west winds, shrilling, play and eerie tune,
Like witches' mirth, in wild, triumphant hour!

Grey grows the world – yet see on hill and slope,
As bright thoughts flash through dull grief-laden day,
The red poinsettia raise its flag of hope!
And sudden, Spring seems not so far away.


                                  Emily Bulcock (1923)

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AT TOOWONG

Unveiling of Anzac Memorial, Sunday July 2, 1922

Toowong War Memorial

They met to honour the brave young dead,
     Where a noble shaft rose high!
In the quiet park – on a grassy knoll,
Remembering those who paid the toll
     And showed men how to die!

The ghost of a brave young moon looked down
     Through the Sabbath calm and peace!
Scarcely a whisper the silence broke –
Till, solemn and deep the great drum spoke
     And gave our thoughts release.

And the grand old hymns that in war and peace
     Have set men's hearts afire!
Went floating up to the listening sky!
And curious flocks of birds came by,
     As if to join the choir!

As tho' our wealth of loving thoughts
     Had warmed the sullen day.
God lent His sun a little space,
It touched the scene with tender grace,
     And chased all gloom away.

A-near the branching eucalypts –
     Line of blue hills afar!
They spoke of loyalty, honour, truth!
And back came troops of radiant youth!
     Death set its gates ajar.

How oft those boyish feet had trod
     These very paths along!
Had scaled Mount Coot-tha's splendid height,
Or skimmed with outspread sails of white,
     The river at Toowong.

Love brought its wealth of immortelles,
     Pure white, as for a bride!
But who could see, untouched, unmoved,
The Wattles from the trees they loved,
     Those boyish names beside?

And like a prayer made visible
     We saw with reverence there
Man's loving thoughts set firm in stone!
Ah lads! the peace you long have known
     Hushed all our hearts to prayer!

                                       Emily Bulcock (1922)

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POINCIANA TREE

(BOWEN PARK, BRISBANE)

As softly as the touch of moth's frail wing,
As imperceptibly as falls the dew,
Comes Beauty oft, in dovelike Quaker dress;
But the brave poinciana's vivid challenge
Stirs up like trumpets blaring at high noon,
Her crooked spreading boughs are canopied
By feathery plumes of green, late summer turns
To filigree of thin corroded metal,
Glowing vermilion clusters, like a cloak,
Regally clothe her – opulent Jezebel!
Bold beauty, with the warm winds wantoning!

Chastely near by the while bauhinia blooms.
Softly she croons of delicate fragile beauty,
But a wild shout of colour drowns her song,
Firing out blood, defying writer's pen
Or artist's brush its glory to describe!
No life lived in thy flow, O Leaping Flame,
Could lifeless be, pallid with poverty –
Deadened by grim monotonous routine,
When startled eyes may lift to such a feast
Of colour, glowing mid grey iron roofs.
And as I share the flow which lights the drabness,
All the protesting Puritan in me
Drowns in this flood of sensuous pagan splendour.

                                      Emily Bulcock (1945)

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CITY HALL BRISBANE

                                  by Emily Bulcock

(Written at St. Helen's Hospital before an operation)

City Hall clock tower under construction (SLQ Neg 17179)

 I saw you rise, proud tower, slow, sure and strong,
And chaos change to ordered symmetry.
Calmly you grew, through rush of hurrying throng,
In arrogance of faultless masonry.
And as I watched you rise, I felt aghast,
My house of life as surely overthrown … … …
Strange that the thing man made could so outlast
This Heaven-lit masonry of flesh and bone!


                                 Emily Bulcock (1945)

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