Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 10, October 1968


By Alice A. Kenny

The long ago when she was young

Seemed quite unreal and dull and pale,

And all her chequered span of years

A brief and half-forgotten tale


Until the vivid face shone out

From the old locket's silver frame –

Sweet eyes some unknown painter's hand

Lit magically with ageless flame.


The stored up fabric of the past

In warp and woof of life unrolled,

Her lovely breathing beauty wove

Its grey with threads of living gold.


While roses filled the summer air

Mail coaches clattered on the road,

Sunlight, and shade of garden trees

And crystal moonlight o'er her flowed.


As golden lads about her pressed,

Old tales were told, old songs were sung,

A warm heart throbbed in that soft breast,

And life was sweet, for she was young.


What dreams were hers, endearing girl?

What thoughts informed that pensive face?

What cherished loves, and hopes, and fears

With every day's good-will and grace?


The tears she wept, the needs she knew.

The charm with which she spoke and smiled.

Or, silent o'er her needle sat,

Happy and weary and with


So seeming permanent, so swift

To pass, the life arrested here.

Young and immortal, past and gone,

Yet deeply passionate and dear !



Although in seeming changelessness they lie,

Soon all these brown and sombre slopes of fern

'Neath the blue warmth of this November sky,

With new and richer russet hues shall burn,

For from the old rhizomes, with unheard stir,

The furry croziers, warmly sheathed in each,

To the free air and living light will reach,

And clothe with ferny woods the infertile spur.


No lavish life 'neath these stark stems is found,

Yet here and there the lovely lilac cup

Of the small hillside orchid is raised up,

Or beaded mosses faintly green the ground,

While brown Arachne floats her threads on air,

Till some strong frond sustains her silver snare.