The Secret Key

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There is a magic kingdom of strange powers,
Thought-hidden, lit by other stars than ours;
And, when a wanderer through its mazes brings
Word of things seen, men say : " A poet sings."
Its gates are guarded in a sterile land
Mountain and deep morass, and shifting sand;
Storm-barred are they, and may not opened be
Save by the hand that finds the secret key.
That key, some say, lies in the sunset glow,
Or the white arc of dawn, or where the flow
Of some lone river stems the shoreward wave
In shuddering silver on its ocean grave.
Some say that when the wind wars with the sea,
In that stern music, one may find the key;
Or, in green glooms of forests, where the pine
Uplifts her spear amid great wreaths of vine;
Or, where the streaming mist's white rollers climb
The dark ravine and precipice sublime
A filmy sea that twines and intertwines
Wreathes the low hills, and veils the mighty lines
Of sovran mountains, crimsoned and aglow
In crystal pomp, crested with jewelled snow;
But still, with souls afire, men seek that land,
And die in deep morass and shifting sand.
To those alone its iron gates are free,
Who find, within their hearts, the secret key;
For Earth, with all the colour of her day,
Is not their country that lies far away.

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).

This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joining the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.