Works in the Herald 1937

Doubt has been expressed that the beauty and sylvan charm of Alexandra Avenue can be preserved if, with the building of a new Yarra bridge at Swan Street, heavy commercial traffic is diverted into the Avenue.

Within the wooded avenue I stood,
   And I was proud.
I looked upon the scene and found it good;
   For here, I vowed,
Reigned Beauty rare.  Sweet praises filled my mouth
For this, the loveliest city of the south;
   Yet not a soul could hear,
Altho' my lyric praise with fervor flowed;
For, as I spoke, there rumbled down the road
   A lorry-load of beer.

I tried again.  I spoke of civic pride,
   Aesthetic joy.
With those rare phrases, culled from far and wide,
   Poets employ.
I waxed in aphoristic ecstasy,
Hymning the loveliness of sky and tree;
   Yet not a single soul
Gave heed to me; for sudden thunders grew
As round the bend there lumbered into view
   A waggon piled with coal.

"Goths!" I exclaimed.  "Did you raise Beauty here
   In this green place
But for the sport of flinging coal and beer
   In her sweet face?"
A large truck missed me by a hair's-breadth then
Manned by a crew of large, unlovely men
   Who jeered and darned my eyes.
"Vandals!" I shouted.  "Nay, repent your sins!"
Then leapt again to dodge a load of skins
   That smelled unto the skies.

Still on they came, truck, waggon, rank on rank,
   I dodged, I leapt;
The threw myself upon a grassy bank
   And there I wept,
Wept for the city ... A park-keeper came,
A mean, ungracious man, who took my name.
   "O man!" I cried. "Alas,
See how I weep.  Must beauty disappear?"
Said he: "Buzz orf!  You can't do that there 'ere.
   Spoilin' our nice noo grass!"

Herald, 27 November 1937

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-07