Works in the Herald 1934

In a satire recently broadcast an Australian writer charged Australia's more erudite critics with condemning the work of Australians merely because it is Australian. Critics of similar mental habit have before now condemned England's present Laureate for breaking new poetic ground.

Stuffed with tradition and trammels of yore,
   Cramped in their studies, they sneer and scold
At the strange, new passions young hearts would pour
   Thro' a sunlit land, and a tale unfold
   Of youth's ambition -- new-minted gold
Fresh from life's furnace, all aglow --
   With none of its worth are their hearts cajoled,
If it waken no echo of things they know.

Their minds close cluttered with olden lore,
   Their praise for the new is charity doled;
Their memories, clogged with a moss-grown store
   Of dead men's wisdom, naught also may hold,
   The flight of an eaglet, overhold,
Is an impudent thing, so their judgements go;
   And the song of a bush bird leaves them cold,
If it wakes no echo of things they know.

Songs have sprung from this virgin shore,
   Tales that are turned from an unworn mould,
These be but follies that grieve them sore --
   Rhymes the old troubadours have not trolled.
   Themes must be borrowed from urn of old;
For originality irks them so,
   And the voice of the bush must be controlled,
If it wakes no echo of things they know.


Prints -- aye, and reprints, tales retold.
   Shadows -- for these do their plaudits grow;
But the bard stays dumb, and the book unsold
   If it waken no echo of things they know.

Herald, 2 November 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-05