Now It's Springtime by Myra Morris

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Now it's Springtime, in the morning 
There's a pallid cuckoo calling.
There's a plaintive cuckoo calling 
   From the road beside the sea; 
There's a mist of blossom falling 
Where the buds are still unfolding, 
And the orchard trees are holding 
In their sun-entangled branches 
   All the sweets that yet will be. 

Now its Springtime, every morning 
There's a dew upon the bracken, 
On the amber-fronded bracken 
   Running wildly to the sea; 
And the ride young breezes slacken, 
Piping airy fairy marches, 
In among the tea-tree arches, 
Where the frail clematis fingers 
   Weave their fancy stitchery!

Now it's Springtime, in the morning
I'll be going, I'll be going.
I'll be up and gladly going 
   With the first-awakened bee; 
Down a sandy way I'm knowing 
I'll be laughing, I'll be leaping. 
Where the pig-face roots are creeping 
And the boats all newly painted 
   Lean toward the sapphire sea.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 September 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Dandenongs by Kathleen Dalziel

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Fair are the Dandenongs low to the eastward lying,
Where the early cuckoos are crying. 
Now, and the bellbird's fairy songs  
Are ringing along the hill on the rich air warm and scenty.
Hills may be higher aplenty
But these are the Dandenongs.

The beautiful Dandenongs that beckon the city-weary;
Ever so cool and airy.  
The road that the saplings throngs
In murmurous multitudes, and the lyre-birds' mocking sallies
Are heard in the hazel gullies,
Back of the Dandenongs.

Blue are the Dandenongs, hazy against the high line
Of the morning's opal skyline    
Where the light-wood blossom belongs
And the wreaths lie white once more on many an orchard arbor.

You have your Bridge and your Harbour -
   But we have the Dandenongs.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 1938

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Faded Posy by Mabel Forrest

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To-day I opened a book,
In which in the long ago, 
You and I used to read
You, whom I once loved so, 
But we had forgotten it all,
Till out of the book, there fell
A faded posy of flowers!

Oh! You whom I once loved well,
Loved with a love that became 
Faded, and lost, and dead:
How strange that those flowers keep, 
Their scent and their living red!  

First published in The Courier-Mail, 23 September 1933

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Prisoner of War by Myra Morris

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Now of a night when rain is on the roof          
Beside the fire, we sit,  
My son's young wife and I.
I watch her face, flat-cheeked inscrutable    
As the face of a Chinese mandarin;  
Our talk comes fitfully
Like wind blowing in quick, uneasy rushes
Out of space. And there are silences
Between us, deep, unbridgable
As Winter-flooded streams. I know
Her thoughts and she knows mine.

She bows her head remote and inaccessible,
Locked in her lonely grief.
Locked in her love for him the absent one.
But I sit sullen-mouthed, steeling my heart
Against her pain.
"Mine is the grief." I cry.  
"Your love with him  
Was but the lightning of a Summer afternoon.  
While mine lit his first hour and pointed him the way!"    

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September 1945

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Violets by Mabel Forrest

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A little, wizened, old-man face,
   Seamed with a thousand futile cares, 
And as I pass I idly note
That, in the lapel of his coat,
   A bunch of violets he wears.

A sparse white beard his chin adorns;
   His decent clothes are thin and worn 
Not able from the ranks to rise;  
No hustler he, not over wise;
   Firm in the groove where he was born. 

The shiny elbow of his sleeve,
   The pale complexion shows the clerk, 
Then why should he those flowers wear 
That speak to me of perfumed hair  
   And starpoints shim'ring in the dark! 

That show to me the sunken fence,
   The long lush grass about our feet, 
And her hot cheek against my own,
While night as warm as day has grown,
   All overpowered with violets sweet. 

That little wizened, old-man face,
   Where only sordid cares I note,
May hide, like mine, an old heart-break 
He, too, for some lost woman's sake
   May wear those violets in his coat.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 21 September 1904

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

A Little Girl's Mummy, Nicholson Museum by Zora Cross

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Then sorrowfully she pressed her small, hot head  
Close to her mother's heart, weary of play.   
They put her reed shoes quietly away,  
And watched her toss upon her fever bed.  
Lone stayed the red clay beads she longed to  thread,  
The swing her father made untouched that day.
Oh, the blue Nile as grief itself was grey
When terribly they whispered, "She is dead."
Poor mother, weeping for your little one, 
Long, long -- so long ago! Osiris true  
With prayers propitiating, so that she
Raised up again might be, here 'neath this sun
Be sure we view your child with reverence due
Where she, still trusting, waits . . . how sorrowfully!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 1930

The Quarrel by Mabel Forrest

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Is Day long enough for quarrelling, lad? 
There are only twelve of her burnished hours;  
   There is only one morning, fresh and fair,   
   Where the palm trees swing in the dew-washed air
O'er heads of the mauve hydrangea flowers,
   One dreamy evening, bloom-filled and sweet,   
Is Day long enough for quarrelling, lad? 

Is Night long enough for quarrelling, lad? 
The dwindled stars of the Milky Way 
   Show the path that our souls shall someday wing,    
   And the time between is a little thing. 
Ere Night sinks conquered by burning Day.      
   Does the Cosmea turn from the firefly's kiss?
   Oh! the dear blind dark is not meant for this! 
Is Night long enough for quarrelling, lad?   

Is Life long enough for quarrelling, lad?   
Ah! I know the sweep of a changing sea, 
   It is dotted with islands patterned green,    
   With the sand-spits stretching like arms between.  
They are always waiting for you and me, 
   (By the sun gem-circled, by storms lashed grey) 
   To divide To-morrow from Yesterday.
Is Life long enough for quarrelling, lad?   

Is Love great enough for quarrelling, lad?   
Will the gold not rust with the tear repressed?  
   Will the heart not shrink from the bitter word?
   Will the soul not tire of reproaches heard?  
The soul that has joyed in a love confessed,
   Will the long, warm clasp where the fingers fold,
   Not too surely slacken, grow pulseless, cold? 
Is Love great enough for quarrelling, lad?  

First published in The Sunday Times, 19 September 1909

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

River Tea-Tree by Kathleen Dalziel

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Far out, far out where the looming hills lean straightway 
   To the blue of the sky, and the Gap lies grey between 
Where the low boughs interlace at the red road's gateway 
   And the supplejack twines in the tangled undergreen, 
The winds sigh low to the Wannon waters' singing, 
   And the last late heath is a-flower, fairy-belled. 
With the flick of a wren and the flash of a lory winging 
   Through the toss of the tea-tree blossoms at Dunkeld.
 
Clean is the air by the cool, green mountain passes, 
   Cool is the wind by the rocky scarps austere, 
Where the dusty dogwoods stoop by the green morasses 
   And the grass-tree lifts its velvet-headed spear. 
Ere ever the north wind swings in its burning marches 
   And the bloom of the gold September is dispelled, 
Ah, well to be under the forest's ferny arches 
   In the time of the tea-tree blossom at Dunkeld.
 
Where the storms roll up from the sea-line, dark and tragic, 
   And the thunder heads are flushed with sunset's stain, 
I wish I could drink of the south wind's crystal magic 
   When the far bush world is fragrant after rain. 
Stars o'er the mountain swung in the velvet spaces --
   Ah, for the glamor the night and morning held! 
Ah, for the grace of the old familiar places 
   Ere the froth of the tea-tree is falling at Dunkeld!
 
When the winding way is a foam of misty blossom, 
   And the frogs' loud chorus rings from the river's turn; 
Where the wide grey bush rolls down to the brown cliff's bosom, 
   High to the eagle's eerie, low to the fern; 
Oh, fair is the light of the gold September morning, 
   And I wish I might walk by the ridges as of eld, 
In the time o' the year when the wattle gold is turning, 
   And the river tea-tree blossoms at Dunkeld! 

First published in The Bulletin, 18 September 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

September by Mabel Forrest

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A lengthening loveliness September holds,
With the soft laughters of her snowy cloud 
Breaking upon tranquillities of blue:
This was the month that gave Our Lady birth  
To bear a son to save a sorrowing world:
The Fructidor of France, when mellow fruits              
Brimmed all the golden air with scents of wine,  
And hung like yellow lanterns in the boughs, 
Or berried, purpling on the green hillside,
Half cloaked in leaves, shy of the seeking wains
That piled the luscious bunches for the vats
To make the solace of the citizen:  
When housewives marked the apples on the tree  
For future kegs of cider, and brown boys
Marked, too, which fruits hung highest to the wall,
Freebooters, keen as sparrows on the hunt  
To taste ripe apples without paying dues!

And here, what was their autumn is our spring:
And sweet she is, remembering winter days. 
This beryl-sandalled, rose-crowned month of ours!  
The fragile blossoms of her maiden breasts 
Are fain to comfort, and her gentle feet 
Press unsuspected spices from the flowers,
And in her voice there is the cry of birds
Holding the pleadings of a mating song!

First published in The Australasian, 17 September 1921

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

If by Zora Cross

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What if the flower-like stars were angel lights
Guarding God's silence through eternal nights?
What if the purple film of those dark skies
Were fragrant curtains hiding form our eyes
The wall of jasper and the golden street
Made musical with white seraphic feet?
What of these were -- nay if all these were mine,
I still cling to earth and hold divine
Above all stars and purple clouds that float
The slender curves about your singing throat.

First published in The Lone Hand, 16 September 1919

A Picture by Kathleen Dalziel

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Dreary is the light of winter, dull the sighing of the breeze, 
   And streaming o'er the fallow lands slants low the falling rain,
But a subtle fragrance drifting comes beyond the drooping trees 
   From the Cootamundra wattle in the lane.
 
And it paints a vision splendid past the low clouds drifting grey, 
   Beyond the swollen river the paddocks bleak and cold. 
Will the Bush be soon awaking in that green land far away? 
   Will the roadsides soon be fringed with wattle-gold?
 
I can see the heavy dogwood, snowy sweet with morning dew, 
   Hear the bronzewing crooning down the gully cool, 
Where the crystal river's murmuring the old song ever new, 
   Where the dusky blackwood hides the dreamy pool. 

Are the bracken glades still royal with the crimson waratah? 
   Is the clematis star-spangled with the rain? 
And its oh! amid the languor of the dull, brown days that are, 
   To be riding down those ferny aisles again. 

Are the Christmas lilies waving by the homestead garden wall, 
   With a red rose at the gateway and a white rose by the door? 
And do the cattle wander where the lilacs used to fall 
   And the daffodils spread wide their golden store? 

The winter day of mist fades out in streaks of yellow light, 
   And the distant hills are hidden with the rain; 
But I've been awhile in dreamland with the scent that came to-night 
   From the Cootamundra wattle in the lane.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 September 1910

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Bowed Foxgloves by Myra Morris

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[Note - It is an old wives' tale that foxgloves have "knowledge." When a spirit passes, they know, and bow their heads.] 

The foxgloves bow their lilac heads to-night,
   Although no leaf is shaken on the rose, 
And no soft-singing wind steals by on light, 
   Quick steps, to woo the last-born bud that blows. 
So still the day has gathered sunset up. 
   So still the red has gone, the dusk has come, 
The brown bee dreaming in the poppies' cup, 
   Spills dust upon the cool delphinium. 
Like cloistered nuns, pale-eyed, the scented stocks 
   Kneel shrouded In the larkspur's filmy blue. 
The heaped-up, passionate, wan hollyhocks 
   Wait dumbly for the stars to glimmer through. 
So still the flowers are, as though they slept 
   With soft, expectant faces, borne upright! 
No laggard breeze among the bloom has crept --
   But how the foxgloves bow their heads to-night! 

Oh, hush! Some soul has passed a breath ago! 
   But I -- I did not hear the death-bell ring! 
Only the foxgloves in the garden know, 
   And droop their heads and move a-murmuring! 
What unloosed soul has winged its lonely flight 
   Across the ocean of infinity? 
Some spirit straight from youth, all radiant-white, 
   To go while sap runs singing in the tree? 
To go, dear God, when elm and lilac bud 
   And gorse thrusts out in flaming spikes of gold! 
Ah! let me think it fled from one whose blood 
   Ran chill and slow, whose faded eyes were old --
Not from the house of him whose eager feet 
   The stones of life had scarce begun to know! 
How sweet this purple dusk! Dear life, how sweet!
   Yet some winged soul has passed a breath ago!
 
I cannot bear it if it were some child 
   Whose soul has fled the blazing white of Spring, 
While spangled paths among the grasses wild 
   Invite bore feet to go a-wandering! 
Some child who, dreaming 'neath a blue-topped hill, 
   Looked out upon the edges of the world --
For whom the capeweed cups held gold to fill 
   Unto the brim, his little hand in-curled! 
Who knows? I may have heard his shrill young song 
   Float down the early morning clear and mild,
Or glimpsed him bending where the cowslips throng --
   I cannot hear it if it were some child!...  
Oh, think of this! One day some friend may pass, 
   And see these drooping bells, and weep to see
And say: "They bow for one who loved the grass  
   And shining trees and sun!" They'll bow for me!

First published in The Bulletin, 14 September 1922;
and later in
White Magic by Myra Morris, 1929.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Things That Matter by Mabel Forrest

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Tho' fingers strain in torture of good-byes,
And the vain  glance of sad, prophetic eyes
Falls where the waiting transport grimly lies,
And life grows sick with sense of something lost --
Oh! There are not the things that matter most.

The things that matter are that men shall go
With steel, stern eyes and lips to meet the foe,
Lest burning homes along Our skyline grow --
That battles should be won -- nor freedom lost --
These are the things to-day that matter most!

First published in The Sydney Mail, 13 September 1916

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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The Builder by Zora Cross

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I build my palaces of turkis bright 
Agate and amber ivory and pearl,
I set them shining now where dim mists curl 
And now upon a star a-bloom at night.
The turrets all are tinted diamond white,
Frail flags of thistledown from each unfurl,
And, while faint pipes a goblin-measure skirl,
In every hall I set a flower of light.
For I have seen dull fabrics of flats rise 
And trimly dot the darling earth about
With prim realities through which Time screams 
Unmoved. These may please tame prosaic eyes, 
Without the benediction of a doubt,
But I shall keep my palaces of dreams.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 September 1935

The Whispering Currajong by Kathleen Dalziel

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Come back to the ridge and the river, 
   And the ways where you belong, 
To the plains and the swamps for ever 
   Says the whispering currajong.

In the sun-washed garden ingles, 
   Where the sunflowers nod and sway, 
Is a whispering, voice that mingles 
   With memory's tones alway. 
Come back, come back to the tussock plain, 
   And the Ware where you belong --
Over again and over again, 
   Says the whispering currajong. 

Come back to the swamps and the reaches 
   Where the garb of the green months smiles: 
Come back where the hot haze bleaches 
   Down the long, long mallee miles. 
To the crash and the mighty chorus 
   Of the storm in the tree-tops strong 
To the June gales hammering o'er us, 
   Says the whispering currajong. 

When the clouds roll up in thunder, 
   Or the frost wind whips from the south 
Where the earth lies fainting under 
   The long sick swoon of the drouth, 
All of the red Decembers. 
   And the fair month's blossomry, 
The whispering tree remembers, 
   And never will let me be. 

Whispering there in the quiet 
   Of the sultry summer noon, 
Where the loose-leaved roses riot 
   And the grey doves coo and croon. 
Though never a slow wind passes 
   To the lilt of a cricket's song, 
Telling its tale to the grasses, 
   Stands the whispering currajong. 

When the north wind leaps and rages 
   Hot breathed and red leagues wide, 
And scatters like torn-out pages 
   The leaves of the countryside, 
Low in the lull of the onset, 
   Loud when the strife is long, 
And dying away with the sunset 
   Croons the whispering currajong. 

Come back, come hack to the old days... 
   So long hove the troubled years 
Hidden the way with mist-wreaths grey 
   And covered the track with tears. 
And I would if I could, but, oh, how vain 
   And useless for long and long 
Is the voice of the past and the pleading pair 
   Of the whispering currajong! 

When the heat waves shimmer and quiver 
  When the winter nights are long --
Come back to the ridge and the river, 
   Says the whispering currajong.

First published in The Bulletin, 11 September 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Patience by Mabel Forrest

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While you sleep
Roses in the garden blow,
Roses which you yet shall know,
And, to yield a scented flood,
Mignonette expands in bud,
Secret, silent by the lawn
Where the bees will come at daw ...

While you weep
Joy, somewhere, her chalice fills
And comes to you o'er the hills ...

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 10 September 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Little Track by Kathleen Dalziel

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There is a little ferny track that goes,
Fringed with the brier-rose,
Beside the dance of cloud-flung shadows fleet
Across the whispering wheat,
Where lilting winds in lazy ripples play
The long November day.

There the gay blue wren from a bent spray swings
In the green heart of things;
There wings the pallid cuckoo, with a long
Haunting refrain of song,
In lessening echoes where the upland goes,
Calling the spring's sweet close.

I know the starry-eyed clematis trails
Frail fairy wedding veils
Across the shady, narrow trail that leads
Where the tall cocksfoot seeds,
Where eldorados of the capeweed's gold
Are gleaming fold on fold.

There is a little creek that lowly drones
A love song to the stones,
Where shafted sunlight slants amid the boles
By rainbowed waterholes,
Flinging soft traceries of gold and green
The leafy aisles between.

Here have I sought a balm for heart's distress
In the cool wilderness,
Here in the corridors of fern have found
Nothing but holy ground,
Remembering something less of pains and mosses
Deep amid fronds and mosses.

All things seem possible beneath this sky.
Though by and by,
The old forlorn. familiar host of cares
Will creep back unawares,
To-day they are forgotten or but seem
Some foolish far-off dream.

So down the little, wandering track again
I break the bonds of pain
To find the comfort of the mothering wild,
Spent as a homesick child,
Where gathered to her sheltering arms alone
The old bush calls her own.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 September 1926

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

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