The Little House Among the Gum Trees
One day my footsteps led me
Down a path both long and straight
Till at last I paused
Before a weathered farm-yard gate
Time has passed but memory
Recalls the happy days I spent
Within the portals of that home
Dwelling place of rich content.
Just a house among the blue -gums
Framed in pastures verdant green
Weathered by the storms that lashed
In years full ...and lean
In the fields a jersey herd
That filled the farmers heart with pride;
Here was a joy of struggle's triumph
From early morn, till eventide.
Two happy friendly people
Shared that pleasant little place
The farmer big and rugged
A ready smile upon his face.
Quick of wit and ever ready
A goodly joke to share
And when need be to debate
A knotty point in manner fair.
His wife, a bright and cheery soul
Partner of his joy and fears
Made of that hone a resting place
A sanctuary, graced by years
Of steadfast honest striving
That finally won through
Till there among the blue-gums
Stood a life-long dream come true.
Theirs alone the patient labour
Of grubbing ti-tree, digging drains
Of planting shelt'ring belts of trees
'Gainst time and winter rains
Their's alone the constant struggle
Against the fear of loss to hold
Hard-won fruitful pastures
Of verdant living gold.
`Sunset and evening star',
Again I hear him quote
Those immortal lines of Tennyson
His voice a vibrant note
Expressive of his deepest thoughts;
For sunset always brought the close
Of another day's endeavours
And joy of sweet repose.
Little house among the blue-gums
Rich cameo of memory , blest
May golden dawn and sunset glow
Ever on your pastures rest;
May the lowing of the herd
That fills two hearts with pride
Ever drift across the meadows
Like a melody at eventide
PS: Bill was a painter by trade. This was his thank you to Duncan Gordon Niven and his wife, who boarded him, whilst he painted their home in Otakeri in the Bay of Plenty, NZ. This fine Scot, a man of great character and stamp farmed a forty-seven acre block, running a dairy herd. Although only 13 years old at the time, I still remember him well. BRW