James K. Baxter: ‘Song to the Lord God on a Spring Morning’

The guitar is playing in the morning
And the tame goat browses on heads of grass
Close to the sawing block. I hear the voices
Of many friends on this spring day
Like music to me, because God has lifted
A mountain from my soul, and the winter has gone.

Alleluia. Adonai.

I need not complain that youth has gone
Or that the sins of morning
Haunt me at noonday. Whoever has lifted
The burden of Christ will find that an armful of dry grass
Is the same weight as the cross. Man only lives for a day
Yet he can hear the singing of strong voices.

Alleluia. Adonai.

Love is the answer to the dark voices
Of the demons that trouble us when youth has gone,
Saying, “You fool, you have had your day
And wasted it.” The spirit of a spring morning
When the wind moves gently over the grass
Is enough to tell us that the stone at the door of the tomb has
been lifted.

Alleluia. Adonai.

I have seen the boulder lifted
From the back of the tribe. I have heard their singing voices.
I have felt their hands like the wind on the grass
Stroking my cheek, when it seemed all hope had gone,
“Piki to ora ki a koe. The morning
Has come. E koro, be glad and eat a kai with us today.”

Alleluia. Adonai.

Therefore, whatever another day
May hold for meexile, darkness, and the rod of Pharoah lifted
to scourge my backthis brightness of morning
Cannot die. The murmur of many voices
Will stay with me when the light has gone
And my days are like an acre of burnt grass.

Alleluia. Adonai.

So small a price to pay! The Maori bones beneath the grass
Of the graveyard sing of the resurrection day
When chains of darkness will be gone
And the yoke of sorrow will be lifted
From the necks of the poor. A choir of many voices
Goes with me into the blood-red morning.

Alleluia. Adonai.

The light of a new morning is bright on the grass
And the voices of the poor are welcoming the day
When the cloud of night will be lifted and Pharoahs kingdom gone.

Alleluia. Adonai.

– James K. Baxter, ‘Song to the Lord God on a Spring Morning’ [1972]

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