After Drafting

NIGHT has fallen, night and darkness,
Night with star and planet splendid;
And the earth lies like a giant
Wrapt in sleep, with limbs extended.
Rest has stolen on the homestead,
On the long day's rush and riot,
And no sound of horse or rider
Breaks the soft and dewy quiet.
Yet, like heart-cries
After battle,
Comes the calling, ceaseless calling,
Of the dun and dappled cattle.
Sleep is sweet, and sweet is silence,
When the long day's work is over,
For the toiler and the moiler,
And the rider and the rover.
Not a breeze abroad at night-time
Sets the barley-grass aquiver,
And from dewfall on to sunrise
Sleeps the curlew by the river.
Yet no slumber
Anguish smothers;
Hark the calling, plaintive calling,
Of the robbed and stricken mothers!
Oh, how still are plain and river '
How all-sweet, how all-amazing!
By the stars' march night is numbered '
Rising, setting, zenith-blazing.
Peace has come upon the homestead;
Passed the long day's rush and riot;
Only from the drafted cattle
Comes a note of sad disquiet:
Dun and dappled,
Horned and poley '
They are lowing, lowly lowing,
With a helpless melancholy.

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