Poem: The Bushman's Book by Will Ogilvie

All roughly bound together
   The red-brown pages lie
In red sirroco leather
   With scored lines to the sky:
The Western suns have burned them,
   The desert winds dog's-eared,
And winter rains have turned them
   With wanton hands and weird!

They flutter, torn and lonely,
   Far out, like lost brown birds;
The Western stockmen only
   Can spell their wondrous words;
And gifted souls and sages
   May gather round and look,
They cannot read the pages
   That fill the Bushman's Book!

But open, night and day-time,
   It spreads with witching art
A picture-book of playtime
   To hold the Bushman's heart,
And learnèd in the lore of it,
   And lessoned in its signs,
He reads the scroll, and more of it,
   That lies between the lines.

He sees the well-filled purses,
   From Abbot-tracks like wires,
And hears the deep-drawn curses
   That dog the four-inch tyres!
He knows the busy super
   By worn hoofs flat as plates,
And tracks the mounted tooper
   By shod hoofs at the gates!

He knows the tracks unsteady,
   Of riders "on the bust,"
Of nags "knocked up already"
   By toes that drag the dust;
The "split" hoofs and the "quartered,"
   He'll show you on the spot,
And brumbies that have watered,
   And brumbies that have not!

So, North and West o' westward,
   Nor'-West and North again,
The Bush Book is the best word
   Among the Western men;
They find her lines and hail them,
   And read with trusting eyes:
They know if old mates fail them.
   The Bush Book never lies!

First published in The Bulletin, 14 December 1905

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 15, 2005 6:33 AM.

Man Booker Prize Webpages was the previous entry in this blog.

Sumner Locke Elliott and Les Murray is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en