List of Claude Morris' Poems
  A Grave Situation    
  A Rum Complaint    
  Commercial TV D.T.s    
  The Draw-Back    
  The Eucalyptus Cutter    
  The Legend of Angel Creek
  The Run-up    
  The Shooting Of Sam McHugh    
  The Topaz Trail    

 The Legend of Angel Creek

                                     © Claude Morris

Life was hard and earnest, in the days of which I speak,
And no one had exemption, sluicing tin at Angel Creek.
Although I call it Angel Creek, for years it had no name,
And hereby hangs the story - how the name of ‘Angel’ came.
Some say it’s but a legend, and so it well may be,
But it left a strong impression when the story came to me.

Angel Creek was richer far, than many people knew,
But its rugged isolation kept its numbers to a few.
Five families had pegged the creek, it luckily befell -
To give the men some years of work, and company as well.

Murphy was a miner who had given up the mines
For a better life of sluicing for the nuggets and the fines.
And his Angela was with him - the apple of his eye -
His wife who’d walked beside him for so many years gone by.
Some quality God gave her - despite the life they led,
Marked her indisputably, a lady born and bred;
And Murphy loved her dearly and did his best to shield
Her from the many hardships that were met upon the field.
She possessed a true compassion that enabled her to share
The troubles of another, with an understanding rare.
The people grew to love her, and brought her in a trice,
Their troubles and their worries, for her guidance and advice.
She never failed to help them, and kept in sacred trust,
The hopes and fears and secrets, that within her hands were thrust.

Murphy’s eyes were laughing blue, and her’s a thoughtful grey,
But when she smiled they sparkled in a most surprising way,
And gave an added beauty that no one could deny;
The beauty of the soul perhaps - so hard to classify.
The conditions of their living, there are few today could guess,
Nor understand the trifles that could bring them happiness.
Their hut was rough and ugly from the modern point of view,
But it gave them shade and shelter, as it was meant to do.

They kept a horse for transport, and with it had to pack
Their goods from town, from time to time, along a mountain track;
So luxuries were scanty but no one seemed to mind;
Perhaps they’d have them later, when they left the Creek behind.

No longer young, they’d come to see a town had more to give
Than the bush life they had chosen in their younger days to live.
And Angela had certain dreams that Murphy never knew:
A house somewhere within a town, where shrubs and flowers grew.
A house to call their very own, with raised-up wooden floors,
And windows, made of shining glass, and rooms with wooden doors;
A kitchen with a shining stove with water tap near by -
A dresser with a crockery and cutlery supply.
Curtains at the windows for everyone to see -
She could almost feel their texture, so real her dreams could be.
Day-dreams can bring happiness and peace of mind to some,
And Angela was happy with her dreams of things to come.
But Murphy never knew it and he marvelled that his wife
Could find such strange contentment in their hard unvaried life.
And every night they’d kneel and pray upon the ant-bed floor,
Thanking God for all they had, and asking nothing more.
Their worldly goods were small indeed, but something else was there -
A simple faith in self and God, and fortitude to spare.
And too, they had each other’s love, unselfish good and true,
And held with pride and happiness the love of friends they knew.

Then Angela had a heart attack that no one knew as such.
Some thought it was the summer heat, or working overmuch.
But Murphy, very shaken, though he didn’t let it show,
Forsook his work to help her, for a week or nearly so;
And when she felt recovered, she would later in the day,
Wander to the workings, there to pass the time away.
And Murphy felt despondent till his darling came in sight,
Then all the clouds were lifted and the sun was shining bright.
And he did a lot of thinking, and to Angela’s surprise,
Stated they’d be leaving when they’d finished their supplies.
The Creek had paid them very well, and now with cash to spare,
They’d buy a little house in town, and take it easy there.
And Angela, so happy, with the world a rosy hue,
Smiled through her tears of happiness - her dreams were coming true.
From then the days went quickly, and many schemes were laid,
And Angela would bring each day some plan that she had made.
But there came a day he waited for her footsteps, all in vain,
And the music of her voice that he was not to hear again.
He found her by the roadside, as he early homeward sped;
He ran to her and called her name, but Angela . . . was dead.

They dug a grave beyond the Creek, and brought the priest from town
And sun-burnt cheeks were tear-wet, when to sleep they laid her down.
Then Murphy raised a mound of rocks, and wooden cross as well,
And sweat ran down his haggard face, with tears he could not quell.
And when the cross was standing - with a hammer and a knife,
Began to carve the Christian name of his beloved wife.
But ere he had completed it, he saw with deep dismay,
There wasn’t room enough to carve the final letter “A”.
Exhausted by emotion, and in agony of soul,
He bowed his head in silence, as he fought for self-control.
Presently he raised his head, and saw the strangest sight -
The letters carved upon the cross, were now aglow with light.

Perhaps it was the glory of the setting of the sun,
Resting for a moment on the carving he had done.
But to him it was a vision, and a message from the Lord,
Giving His approval of the fitness of the word.
And as “Angel” Murphy left it, now content to have it so;
What better name could he or God, upon his wife bestow?

Next day he told the people of the vision, and they knew,
No matter how it seemed to them - to Murphy it was true.
And in memory of one they loved, and Murphy’s tragic loss,
With one accord they gave the Creek, the name upon the cross.

Today the Creek’s a lonely place, especially if you know
It knew the joys and sorrows too, of people long ago.
But there’s little sign that they were there - if you should pass that way -
Fire and flood have taken toll with erosion and decay.

And you’ll find no trace of Angela’s grave, though thoroughly you seek;
All that is left, as I’ve heard it called, is the legend of Angel Creek.


         Copyright © 1996 - Andy’s Media Services, All rights reserved

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The Legend of Angel Creek by Claude Morris