Poem: An Unorthodox Wail by M.T.

Oh! I want to go back to the city,
   Away from this desolate place
With its acres of "solitudes awesome"
   And the horror of "infinite space."
I am tired of "the wail of the plover,"
   I am sick of "the magpie's sweet song;"
I loathe "the complaint of the curlew,"
   I've heard it too oft and too long.

"Long tramps thro' the forests" are failures,
   "Summer strolls by swift streams" apt to pall;
I am weary of "freash air and freedom,"
   Since a surfeit I've had of them all.
The sight of "a drover" is deadly,
   The "crack of his whip" drives me mad,
The low of wild cattle's depressing,
   And "the bleat of the sheep" quite as bad.

"Misty mountains may tow'r in the distance,"
   And soulful ones rave of their height;
I wonder how far they're from Sydney
   If from them the city's in sight.
The soil "may be rich" and the cattle
   Exactly "the thing" in their breed;
I wish they were mine and I'd sell them
   And make for that city with speed.

A telegraph-wire and a sparrow
   Furnish plenty of Nature for me,
And a walk to save 'bus-fare sufficeth
   To give me a relish for tea.
A sirloin on Sundays, or saddle
   Of mutton's enough of their kind
To prime me in "good points in cattle"
   And such, once I've left these behind.

I yearn for the roar of street traffic,
   For the howl of the newspaper-boy,
While the yell of the man with bananas
   Is a dream of delirious joy.
The bell-birds may chime for the poets,
   I pine for the shriek of a tram;
And "the rustle of leaves in the autumn"
   May be music -- to me it's all sham.

Brickfield Hill or, say, William-street (Upper)
   Are "mountains" enough to please me,
And for "soil" give me wood-blocks and pavements,
   "Rural streams" the green bay near the Quay.

For oh! there are hearts in the city!
   There are souls! there are welcoming eyes!
And I long for a sight of my fellows,
   For a word from the friends that I prize.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 September 1892

Bulletin debate poem #7

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 14, 2006 6:02 PM.

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