Remembrance – a poem by Maria Stander-Retief
In March 2008 we had as guest the granddaughter of one of the Stander daughters. She sent me a poem written by her grand-mother . On weekends the daughters would stroll down to the Kat River and obviously the young Maria met a young man from the other side of the river whom her parents did not approve of :
Twixt bracken banks and shady woods
The streamlet ripples gently west
Where oft in childhood’s happy days
I watched the wood-finch build it’s nest;
Where oft in happier days we wove
The golden threads of love’s young dream
To warbles sweet and twillering tones –
Sweet music from the rippling stream!But when in after days those banks
Recorded sorrow’s doleful theme,
I heeded not the linnet’s song,
Not heard the rippling of the stream!
When skies are blue and fields are green,
And all the world seems bright and fair,
All veiled to us the distant scene
With what it harbours over there!
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Too soon we learned life’s sad refrain:
“Sunshine and sorrow ever meet!”
Had we but met to part again,
Our hopes be shattered by defeat!
For him his queen was never to wear
A bridal blossom in her hair,
For him, no bridal veil to hide
The crimson of his blushing bride!
How oft I dreamt that at his side,
In all the world the happiest bride,
Entranced I stood in ecstasy –
My dark-eyed prince, a king to me!
Alas that love is but a dream
And mournful we awake to find
As we retrace our steps again,
Our loved ones’ foot-prints left behind!
Those foot-prints on the sands of time
Are treasures thine, oh memory,
To cherish in the starless night
When sorrow bids us fly to thee!
Remembrance, aye, this God’s great gift
Which through this dismal vale of ours,
Recalls in accents soft and sweet,
Sweet memories of bygone years!