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Man and Woman

Arthur Henry Adams 1872 (Lawrence) – 1936 (Sydney, New South Wales)

[ According to Maori mythology, the god Tiki created Man by taking a piece of clay and moistening it with his own blood. Woman was the offspring of a sunbeam and a sylvan echo .]
  THUS God made Man to cope with destiny:
 Taking the common clay, God moistened it
 With His red blood; and so for ever lit
 That sombre grossness with divinity.
  So Man for ever finds him in the mesh
 Of clogging earth; and though divine hopes thrill
 And flush his leaping heart, it faints, for still
 His dreams are pinioned in the gyves of flesh.
  Yet ever God's blood in him courses free,
 And, penetrated with eternal hope,
 Up Evolution's long, uneven slope
 Man lifts him from his sodden ancestry!
  And though his eyes the far goal cannot see,
 And half the terrors of the dark he knows,
 Yet with an inward fire his courage glows;
 He bears the torch of immortality.
  But Woman from a memory had birth,
 Into the forest's dignity of shade
 A sudden sunbeam groped—a soft hand laid
 In silent benediction on the earth.
  Then filtered through the green a song forlorn
 Of some forgotten bird. Lo! in a mist
 Of love the sunbeam and the echo kissed,
 And Woman—sunlit memory—was born.
  So light and melody to her belong—
 The sunlight in the dying echo blurred!
 So Woman came—a vision and a word
 From the unknown—a sunbeam and a song!
  So ever through the forest of the years
 Shall Man pursue and still pursue the gleam
 That wavers and is gone; and through his dream
 The fainting echo of a song he hears.
  And when at last his weary feet are led
 Into the sacred glade, and she stands there,
 He takes her close—all song and sunlit hair:
 The gleam has faded and the song has fled!
  And though with blinded eyes he cannot see,
 She haunts him like a word that he knows not—
 That is not quite remembered, nor forgot—
 Some thought that hovers near a memory.
  As out from Heaven she leans, on earth there falls
 The sunbeam of her hair, golden and fine;
 And drops an echo of a voice divine—
 A voice that ever vainly calls and calls!
  And though she spill a splendour and a fire
 Upon the dark, her glory is unknown;
 Behind the screen of self she dwells alone
 She cannot come as close as her desire.
  So ever like a pale moon drowned in mist
 Her face is vague—a barrier intervenes;
 And ever from her loneliness she leans,
 With waiting eyes, all-wistful to be kissed!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:11 min read

Arthur Henry Adams

Arthur Henry Adams was a journalist and author. He started his career in New Zealand, though he spent most of it in Australia, and for a short time lived in China and London.  more…

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