as a spark
Poems of William Henry Graham

Part one, the shorter poems

 

This is the collection of the poems of the late William Henry Graham, husband of Emma Vida Graham. This anthology includes a poem written by her.

Both Will and Emmy have passed on to a brighter world, but their light shines in this world still. Their children, Ron, Neil and Stephanie, dedicate this anthology to their memory.

The poems were collected and typed by Stephanie. Ron created the web page. Neil performed "As a Spark" on the CD of the same title.

AS A SPARK

See, the world is full of woe,
Far and wide,
Let us then while we are here
Strive the weary hearts to cheer
Let us all our kindness show,
Not our pride.
 
Though the world be sad and dark,
Let us all,
Hasten each to make our light
Shed its glow through gloom of night
Be it only as a spark,
Bright though small.
 
May 13 1928

 

THE UNFINISHED HORSESHOE

Nestling by a Croydon roadway,
Set in bush, a cottage old,
Far removed from city broadway,
Bears the tale that here is told.
 
There a widow in that dwelling,
An unfinished racehorse-shoe,
Fondly treasures, often telling,
Why no hoof that armour knew.
 
Yonder shed was once a smithy,
Where her husband, all day long,
Hammered on his clanging stithy,
Iron into horse-shoes strong.
 
Many a saddle-hack and racehorse,
Came his handiwork to wear,
Heels of hunter and of pacehorse,
Did his horse-shoes proudly bear.
 
Day by day, his anvil sounding,
With its wild and ringing song,
Mountain echoes set resounding,
In the Hills of Dandenong.
 
But the hand that worked so willing,
Recked not of disease that lay,
Hidden deep, the life-force killing,
Working towards that fatal day.
 
As the smith that shoe was bending,
Round the anvil's ringing horn,
Came a weakness o'er him ending,
All his work of that sad morn.
 
And he felt his powers breaking,
To the cottage turned at length,
Where his wife the tea was making,
Which had oft revived his strength.
 
Weakly entered he the portal,
Drank the welcome draught she gave,
But how weak the love of mortal,
Oft from ills and death to save!
 
And she found upon his bellows,
That unfinished horse-shoe laid,
'Tis the chief among its fellows,
'Twas the last the farrier made.
 
Forge and hammer long have vanished,
Sounds no more the anvil's song,
And its echoes all are banished,
From the Hills of Dandenong.
 
But those memories cling for ever,
To that lone unfinished steel,
Though, unlike its mates, it never,
Graced the courser's flying heel.

 

THE LAST BOOMERANG

Flags are waving, bands are playing,
Old and young are blithe and gay,
Glad high carnival is reigning,
On this township holiday.
 
Sports and pleasures lend attraction,
Games are played and races run,
Yet remains another feature,
Ere the program's tale is done.
 
See! A spacious ring is widened
As the people move aside,
Who commands the public interest?
'Tis no athlete strong and tried.
 
'Tis an agéd man and feeble,
Poorly clad and dark of hue,
Smiles half scornful and amus~ed
Greet him as he comes to view.

Smart young people from the city
Have no time for such a show,
Seeking something more inspiring,
Quite superior, off they go.
 
But the folk of farm and township
His appearance warmly greet,
And the children want to see him,
Do his old time looked for feat.
 
Taught in childhood by his father
How the native arms to wield,
He can make and use the nulla,
Boomerang and spear and shield.
 
For the old folk he recaptures
Memories of bygone days,
When the remnant of his people
Roamed about the country ways.
 
Now their bright Victorian homeland
Knows no more their hapless race,
Death has taken them forever,
Folded in its stern embrace.
 
He alone a fading memory,
Of the tribesmen still remains,
Pure the native blood is flowing,
Though so feebly in his veins.
 
With his stately native bearing,
Still erect he seems to stand,
But his boomerang is quivering,
In his meagre wrinkled hand.
 
Year by year old Joe has thrown it,
Proudly with a right good will,
Crowds in years gone by have cheered him,
Can he keep his record still?
 
In his hand he holds the weapon
Poised and ready for the throw,
Pointing up he looks to heaven,
As he speaks his features glow.
 
"See my boomerang I make it
Fly like birds so quick and free,
This my friend: it will not leave me
It will soon come back to me".
 
With a jerk he sends it forwards,
Mounting like a bird it flees,
Flashing through the laughing sunbeams,
Riding on the wafting breeze.
 
Far it flies in widening circle,
Now, "Come back", the thrower calls,
Round it goes, and back it hastens,
And in doubling circle falls.
 
Children shout, and folk move backward,
To avoid it as it lands,
And old Joe amidst their cheering
Catches it with skilful hands.
 
Now they throng around to praise him,
Poor old Joe, he hardly hears,
As he speaks, his voice is shaking,
And his eyes are wet with tears.
 
"Far away now all my people,
Upward dark folk's spirits fly,
Like the boomerang so quickly,
Far into that shining sky."
 
"One by one they go and leave me,
None come back again to me,
Now all gone; and I am lonely,
Friends I loved I cannot see."
 
"Soon I think I go to join them,
Soon I follow on their track,
Will you miss me, will you call me?
Old black Joe, come back, come back!"

 

THE AIRMEN

Coming in on the wings of a prayer,
Bowed and sad, we return through the air,
With our plane pierced and torn;
While for comrades we mourn -
And for bomb-smitten towns of despair
Where we threw out our load,
We have seen through smoke and flak the face of God
From the terror we loosed over there
Our souls find no refuge but prayer.
 
Coming in on the wings of a prayer
Back to those who have ordered us there,
We can see writ for all
By God's hand on the wall
Righteous judgment in fire-letters flare.
Now we think -- of the foe,
Hapless humans burned and slaughtered there below,
And our souls rise on wings of our pray'r
Unto God who in mercy will spare.
 
We were bombed; rose for vengeance our pray'r
And they told us in war it was fair,
But the foe mad with pain
Will but smite us again,
And his strength will return with despair
When our bombs hit Cologne,
For full twenty thousand victims rose the moan,
But this burden no more we can bear,
And our cheering this night changed to pray'r.
 
Roared our engines; our wings clove the air,
Soared our spirits to venture and dare,
Over there we faced death,
But our bombs fell beneath,
And down under we saw the flames glare
Then for us -- through the night,
Shone the awful vision of the truth and right,
Lo! The Christ on the Cross hung in air
Praying God to forgive and to spare.
 
Coming in on the wings of His pray'r
Unto Him, in His pardon we'll share.
When we lay down the sword,
We may trust in the Lord;
And our heavy sin-burden He'll bear.
Now we know they are true
These His words: "Forgive! They know not what they do."
And we rise on the wings of His pray'r
Up to faith and to freedom so fair.
 
Now no more in this murder we'll share,
Nor for scorn nor for prison we'll care,
We shall hear God's great Son,
Say to us, "Tis well done
Take the glory I went to prepare",
When he comes -- by and by,
With his angel squadrons speeding through the sky;
We shall rise on the wings of His pray'r
And shall meet Him on high in the air.

 

TO A BRAVE SISTER

This poem was written by our mother Emma when her sister Ada was very sick. We are sure that our father would want us to include a poem of hers in his anthology.

 

TO A BRAVE SISTER

By Emma Adams
 
The truly brave are those each day
Who struggle on their weary way
Against great odds, yet never complain
They never golden medals gain.
 
They are gold themselves, this is quite clear
God's perfect gold, refined in fire,
Their spirit shines through adversity,
Quenchless in its Divinity.
 
He chooses those He knows can show,
The undying spirit here below,
Proof for those with eyes to see,
Of the truth of immortality.
 
When the Book is opened, their names will be there,
The Kingdom they'll enter, the joys to share,
They will live forever, from sickness free,
Happy for all eternity.