...Cameo of Beauty
The above illustration is the work of Garcia Demaris Whiteside, Bill's wife,
the most ardent fan and critic of the poet. It is included here as a dedication
to her by the family. Garcia, was Bill's wife of 39 years
You rest in sea-girt majesty
Upon the blue Pacific's hand
A glorious gem of Nature
A rich and plenteous land
Proud snow-capped mountains
Lift heads to heaven's blue
Verdant fields and pleasant valleys
Sparkle with mornings crystal dew;
Mighty forests of stately timber
Crown the giant Kauri king;
A million feathered songsters
Unceasingly thy glories sing.
Sparkling cascades leaping gaily
Winding river and mountain stream
Nature mirrored in bush-fringed setting
For'er a poet's dream
Whilst entwined in leafy tree-tops
Where tui and bellbird call
White garlands of clematis
Grace woodland dell and waterfall.
New Zealand, O thou lovely land
Where Peace and Beauty reign
Whence came you to this destined place
To grace this spot on God's domain?
Was the blue Pacific waiting?
Restless in the morning light?
On that day when Natures upthrust
Flung you forth with awful might?
...and you rose a sea-drenched jewel.
Glittering in the blazing sun
As rushing streams cascading madly
Baptised the gift from Ocean won!
...or did you rise in dead of night?
A black mass from the deep
Future bastion of an Empire
Born of nature's violent labouring
A tryst with Destiny to keep?
How long in lonely splendour
'Neath friendly sun and evening star
Did you await the voyager
Bourne in frail craft from afar
Who braving Earth's uncharted seas
Unerred by storm and thunder's roar
Glimpsed thy coastline thru the tempest
And faint with struggle reached friendly shore.
From whence and when came man
Across the wide Pacific foam?
Was the brown-skinned Moriori
The first to make you ...home?
What thought you of the white-winged ships
As Cook and Tasman came?
One to plant his country's flag,
The other giving you ...your name.
Brown men strove to hold you
Against the read-coats from a far,
Till the Treaty of Waitangi,
Saw Maori chief and pakeha,
United 'neath one sovereign flag
Go forward hand in hand'
Building for both Brown and White,
A free and happy homeland.
Lovely sea-girt isles of Beauty,
Anchored 'neath the Southern Cross,
What think you of Man's tenancy,
When weighed against the loss.
Of glorious tracts of forest'
Of green fields slashed by rail and road,
As Man carves out his destiny,
Where once the Moa strode!
What say you of the towns and cities
Communal habitats of men,
That rests by river-mouth and harbour
...on pastured plain and fruitful glen?
Has man with ceaseless striving'
His culture and creative skill
Proved worthy of his heritage
Or must he still
Seek in thy noble grandeur
That deeper inspiration
God's message down the Ages
Written in Creation?
...Glittering white of snow-capped mountains
Greens of valleys hill and plain
Rata's scarlet splashes, yellow kowhai
Bounteous fields of golden grain;
Heaven's canopy of blue
Crested combers ...shining sand,
This mirrored Cameo of Beauty
These sea-girt isles ...this lovely land.
Whakatane Oct 31 1946 ©