Poem: Dad's Old Book by E. F. Murnane

The books on my shelf stand straight and bold,
   Arranged with the utmost care;
And stately volumes in green and gold,
The tales that Homer or Virgil told,
   Are all in their places there.

But one there is with its back split down,
   And it boasts no printed page.
It's written in ink that's faded brown,
And bears the name of a long-dead town,
   And it's yellow and crumpled with age.

Its pages tell of the early times
   When the settlers' axes rung --
Tell in rough-hewn verse, or the ringing rhymes
That Kendall wrote to the bellbird's chimes,
   Or a song that Lawson sung.

On many a leaf is pasted in
   The tale of some maiden's charms,
A battered copy of "Gunga Din,"
Or something cut from THE BULLETIN
   When I was a kid in arms.

And last of all there's a lengthy row
   Of names with a list of dates --
Strange names that none of us seem to know,
Old cobbers of Dad's long years ago
   When he and the world were mates.

The dates were written to mark the years
   When those old mates went to rest;
And now Dad's name with a date appears --
I've closed the list on the page of tears;
   For he's joined the camp out west.

First published in The Bulletin, 7 October 1926

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 23, 2005 9:19 AM.

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