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The Caves Of Auvergne

Walter J. Turner 1884 (South Melbourne) – 1946 (Hammersmith)



He carved the red deer and the bull
Upon the smooth cave rock,
Returned from war with belly full,
And scarred with many a knock,
He carved the red deer and the bull
Upon the smooth cave rock.

The stars flew by the cave's wide door,
The clouds wild trumpets blew,
Trees rose in wild dreams from the floor,
Flowers with dream faces grew
Up to the sky, and softly hung
Golden and white and blue.

The woman ground her heap of corn,
Her heart a guarded fire;
The wind played in his trembling soul
Like a hand upon a lyre,
The wind drew faintly on the stone
Symbols of his desire:

The red deer of the forest dark,
Whose antlers cut the sky,
That vanishes into the mirk
And like a dream flits by,
And by an arrow slain at last
Is but the wind's dark body.

The bull that stands in marshy lakes
As motionless and still
As a dark rock jutting from a plain
Without a tree or hill,
The bull that is the sign of life,
Its sombre, phallic will.

And from the dead, white eyes of them
The wind springs up anew,
It blows upon the trembling heart,
And bull and deer renew
Their flitting life in the dim past
When that dead Hunter drew.

I sit beside him in the night,
And, fingering his red stone,
I chase through endless forests dark
Seeking that thing unknown,
That which is not red deer or bull,
But which by them was shown:

By those stiff shapes in which he drew
His soul's exalted cry,
When flying down the forest dark
He slew and knew not why,
When he was filled with song, and strength
Flowed to him from the sky.

The wind blows from red deer and bull,
The clouds wild trumpets blare,
Trees rise in wild dreams from the earth,
Flowers with dream faces stare,
'O Hunter, your own shadow stands
Within your forest lair!'
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:42 min read
6

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABabAB cdcdxd xexxfe ghbhix xjxjxj xdxdid xfgfaf dhghxh akxkxk
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,679
Words 339
Stanzas 9
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6

Walter J. Turner

Walter James Redfern Turner was an Australian-born, English-domiciled writer and critic. Born in South Melbourne, the son of a church musician – organist at St Paul's Cathedral – and a warehouseman, Walter James Turner, and a woman of long golden hair, Alice May, he was educated at Carlton State School, Scotch College and the Working Men's College. In 1907 he left for England to pursue a career in writing. There he met and befriended a number of literary intellectual figures, including Siegfried Sassoon, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, and Lady Ottoline Morrell. On 5 April 1918, in Chelsea, he married Delphine Marguerite Dubuis. During the period from the First World War until the mid-1930s, he was known primarily as a poet. His 1916 'Romance' is probably the best remembered of his poems. W. B. Yeats had the highest praise for Turner's poetry, saying that it left him "lost in admiration and astonishment", and included some of it in his Oxford Book of Modern Poetry. But today, although Turner produced several novels and plays, as well as books of poems, his reputation rests on his musical biographies of Mozart, Beethoven and Berlioz. He was musically untrained, and in the words of the music critic Charles Reid, "unhampered by any excess of technical knowledge" to restrain his "racy dogmatism." His Mozart in has been reprinted many times in the 70 years since it was first published. Some of his musical articles for the New Statesman and other journals were reprinted in Music and Life, Facing the Music, Musical Meanderings, and Variations on the theme of Music. more…

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