Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
99. The Camp Within the West
 
By Roderic Quinn
 
 
O DID you see a troop go by
  Way-weary and oppressed,
Dead kisses on the drooping lip
And a dead heart in the breast?
 
Yea, I have seen them one by one        5
Way-weary and oppressed,
And when I asked them, ‘Whither speed?’
They answered, ‘To the West!’
 
And were they pale as pale could be—
Death-pale with haunted eyes,        10
And did you see the hot white dust
Range round their feet and rise?
 
Oh, they were pale as pale could be,
And pale as an embered leaf;
The hot white dust had risen, but        15
They laid it with their grief.
 
Did no one say the way is long,
And crave a little rest?
Oh no, they said, ‘The night is nigh,
Our camp is in the West!’        20
 
And did pain pierce their feet, as though
The way with thorns were set,
And were they visited by strange
Dark angels of regret?
 
Oh yea, and some were mute as death,        25
Though shot by many a dart,
With them the salt of inward tears
Went stinging through the heart.
 
And how are these wayfarers called,
And whither do they wend?        30
The Weary-Hearted—and their road
At sunset hath and end.
 
Shed tears for them…Nay, nay, no tears!
They yearn for endless rest;
Perhaps large stars will burn above        35
Their camp within the West.
 

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