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Founded New Australia a utopian socialist settlement in Paraguay. Lane's ideal was to build a society based on brotherhood:-

"Come and work as free men for each other, to labour on the common land for the common good, and not for the self alone, or for the selfish greed of another! One man by himself is powerless, but men in a body are strong!"

 

Plays & Poems
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Borrow the Spring
Published as Amy Cumpston

“The verse is crisp, the thought individual, the feeling deep.” Douglas Stewart - Bulletin

“This poet deserves wider recognition. Several of the poems seem to be as good as anything that is being written in Australia now. It shows excellent development from your first book.” Kenneth Slessor  Sydney Sun 1956

Sponsored by the Commonwealth Literary Fund

William Lane
pub. Anthology of Aust. Contemporary poetry for Accademia Milano, Venice  Professor Bernard Hickey 1974

Superb contempt for time! To think a life enough
to make new stars of living in the constellations
of the countries. Would break off fragments. Set sailing ships
loaded down with freight, as if the civilisations
left behind were drowning. Would strike unwieldy tents
on chosen ground (nomad come to rest in the promised land)
the gross clutter of custom, fetters of the law
as flotsam n the wake of  the buoyant keel from hands
indifferent to its salvage. With the arrogance of kings
absolute in isolated kingdoms, would cut
new tablets for the law , ordering change in the tight confines
of school and text, the blinding cul-de-sacs of knowledge.
Let them patch the borrowed house of wisdom,
tend the shrines of tired tradition, honour the legends of the dead.
Let them bargain as they must, shake hands with thoughts they hate,
break bread in public with ideas so opposite
as would be mortal foe in other times and states.

For him and all to whom he breathed his resurrection
leading them on the ship for Paraguay – the great vision,
the perfect life. Away with all the tangle of war,
work, the tedious deadlock of career, distraction
of mortgage debt and dying. Birth was on their lips -
of the new-born state where man comes virgin to creation
with no procession of the past to make his torment
locking life to the lottery of the cradle. (Nation
the name – Greece, Australia, Spain no matter – each
its brand to him who bears to loathe or love or flout
tut inescapable as names fixed on the child by parents.

But more than changing of names rests in moving out
from nation, denying its great family. Like sons renouncing
all for purity of priesthood letting possession
fall like waste upon the ground without a use –
home, wealth, ties, love - all but obsession
to abolish the cry of past before the altar of good.
Like men thirsty for adventure - the Fleece, the Grail, the Quest!
Like knights in shining armour, that restless brotherhood!

For Lane the passion and the eager flight, the colony
that scorns its home, that goes into the open night
to write new history. Fool or prophet, who can say?
Only this: the shadow, driving him to flight
abandoning his home, came from this own darkness
looking on his land of food and shelter - the space,
the untold miles empty of spade or roof, the tale
clean of war or blood except some backstreet quarrel,
the realm without guards or grinding guns to make it gaol -
still he dreamed of better worlds in Paraguay.
The splendid vision muffled all his eyesight
blind to the wonder of a land where men could move
safe in body and mind unless from private spite.

He, prodigal son, would take up anchor from the shore,
 would shun his birthright, mock the virtues of his home,
(whose family has no fault?),  would choose for neighbour
only kindred of the mind. Renouncing all, he would go
to mount a shining city from a rocky ground.

Who spurs such vision for a solid house, and keeps
its walls defended from the call of wind to wander,
knows that the ideal life is but the dream of sleep.

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