Reprint: Letter to the Editor: The Grave of the Poet Gordon

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   Let me slumber in the hollow where the wattle blossoms wave,
      With never stone or rail to fence my bed;
   Should the sturdy station children pluck the wild flowers o'er my grave,
      I may chance to hear them romping oberhead.   
                                -- "Sick Stockrider," A. L. G.

TO THE EDITOR. Sir-- Having read in a Melbourne paper that the grave of 'our own poet' was sadly neglected, I took the opportunity during a recent visit to Victoria to satisfy myself as to the truth of the statement. As Gordon has many ardent admirers in this city I thought perhaps they might be interested by a description of the place where lies all that remains of Adam Lindsay Gordon, and for that purpose avail myself of your valuable columns.

It was a cold though bright Sunday afternoon when I wended my way to the Brighton Cemetery, where the poet sleeps. The burying-ground is large and undulating, enclosed by a plain post-and-rail fence, and is divided into sections for the various religious denominations. On a gentle slope in the portion set apart for the adherents of the Church of England I found the object of my quest. The monument erected to his memory is in the form of a tall column of fluted unpolished granite, roughly broken off at the top and encircled by a wreath of flowers carved in marble, emblematic, it seemed to me, of the life cut off all too soon, but still crowned by the wreath of poetic fame. The base of the column is faced square, with marble tablets, the inscriptions on the various sides of which read thus-

   Erected in Memory of the Poet Gordon,
      Died 24th June, 1870, aged 37 years.
         Seaspray and Smoke Drift.
      Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes.

A few plants are growing round the grave, which seemed to have been recently tended, and one little ivy plant clings lovingly to the discoloured stone. The unfenced grave is sentinelled by wattle and gum trees, and it seems almost as if the wishes of the poet, as expressed in the lines at the head of this epistle, had been carried out to the letter. It pleased me to think so, at any rate. There, with the breezes sighing through the boughs, bending with the surging of the not too distant sea, whose roar he loved, for a lullaby, Gordon sleeps calm and undis- turbed, waiting, only waiting, for the time when

   The world as a withered leaf shall be,
   And the sky as a shrivelled scroll shall flee,
   And the dead shall be summoned from land and sea
   At the blast of his bright archangel.

   Then, ah, then, perchance--
         The night rack lifting
         Shall discover the shores unknown.

As I bade farewell to the tomb a cold fog rolling up from the sea shrouded the place in gloom, somewhat according with my feelings at the time.

I am, Sir, &c, ALFRED J. ROBERTS.

First published in The South Australian Register, 4 July 1887

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 14, 2011 7:18 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #273 - Out of Ireland by Christopher Koch was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Literary Monuments #34 - Adam Lindsay Gordon is the next entry in this blog.

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