Works in the Herald 1934
To this green place the tourists troop,
By twos, by threes, and group by group,
   Lads in bright blazers, girls in slacks,
   Hikers with rucksacks on their backs.
And bush ways, till their advent stilled,
With joyous shouting now is filled
   "Cooee!" each gay town-dweller cries,
   And counts himself full forest wise.

An old grey bushman lounging by
Marks the sophisticated cry
   And smiles a little as he says,
   "The city folk got real queer ways.
What's this here 'cooee' mean at all?
Seems like a kind of mating call.
   Childish they seem."  He smiles again,
   The wise one in his own domain.

Here's his revenge for all he meets
Of stares and smiles in city streets,
   For ridicule and laughing snubs
   By city paths and city pubs.
He deems it now the crowning joke
To "pull the legs" of city folk.
   "What?  Snakes?" says he. "By gosh, you're right.
   It's days like this they're apt to fight."

So moves the pageantry today
By many a pleasant bushland way,
   And laughing crowds wake merriment
   Where once, mid silences there went
Some waadering band of blacks, to seek,
Their scanty fare by hill and creek,
   Less than ten score of years ago.
   And of the future?  Who may know.

Content amid this Christmas scene
Of gleaming sky and glowing green
   And happy shouts, one well might pray
   For even yet some happier day
When, growing saner, kindlier still,
May may devise, by wooded hill
   And shaded vale, some scene of mirth
   As yet unvisioned on our earth.

Is it for this our feet are set,
While war and folly men forget?
   Or must this land drift back again
   To primal silence, making vain
All that our vaunted progress won?
Who knows?  Who cares?  Here is the sun!
   Glad youth calls youth by hill and creek. . . .
   These are no thoughts for Christmas week.

Herald, 24 December 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-06