Colours born of woodland light

Thomas Henry Clarence Kendall was an Australian poet who died at the early age of forty-three after some rather dispirited and unhappy years. He was born in 1839, one of twins, in  New South Wales. His father also died young, and Henry, as he was always known,  spent some time on a whaler before becoming a clerk to try and support his mother and family. His life wasn’t easy and he died in 1882, another victim of tuberculosis.

Prefatory Sonnets – from ‘Leaves from Australian Forests’

I purposed once to take my pen and write,
Not songs, like some, tormented and awry
With passion, but a cunning harmony
Of words and music caught from glen and height,
And lucid colours born of woodland light
And shining places where the sea-streams lie.

But this was when the heat of youth glowed white,
And since I’ve put the faded purpose by.
I have no faultless fruits to offer you
Who read this book; but certain syllables
Herein are borrowed from unfooted dells
And secret hollows dear to noontide dew;
And these at least, though far between and few,
May catch the sense like subtle forest spells.


  1. David Lewis

    Reading poetry makes me think that I missed something in life because I never felt the urge to write it. Been in love several times though. Being a technologist I dealt with the facts and the urgency to fix the problem. I do love the birds in the spring so they may give me some inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      Have you read this poem? it’s by Henry Reed:


      To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
      We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
      We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
      To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
      Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
      And to-day we have naming of parts.

      This is the lower sling swivel. And this
      Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
      When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
      Which in your case you have not got. The branches
      Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
      Which in our case we have not got.

      This is the safety-catch, which is always released
      With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
      See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
      If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
      Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
      Any of them using their finger.

      And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
      Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
      Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
      Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
      The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
      They call it easing the Spring.

      They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
      If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
      And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
      Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
      Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
      For to-day we have naming of parts.


  2. David Lewis

    My only brother died on Tuesday and I’ll never talk to him or see him again. I felt that I would never be able to be happy again.Your blog means so much to me and at this time I feel that I can eventually return to my old silly self. Life is so short and sometimes it seems without meaning. I can’t wait for the birds in the spring and to try my hand at poetry for my brothers sake.


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