In November by Zora Cross

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Who said the gods were dead? This very morn
I saw Pan tying on one ruddy horn
A sprig of golden broom. And where the foam
Of pink boronia tossed, he made his home.

The creek reeds for his pipe, again he blew
A leafy lay of freedom till he drew
My spirit like a thread of air along,
And mixed me, strangely drunken, with his song.

Time said it was November waiting there
To drown the gold October in her hair.
How could that be when Pan himself arose
And danced for me till I stood on tiptoes;

And took the wind for partner while he played
His old Arcadian music in the glade.
This very, very morn in spite of time,
Piercing his ears with train-shrieks out of rhyme?

First published in The Bulletin, 23 November 1922 

South Wind by Mabel Forrest

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What is the South wind looking for? 
   A sunny day or a sweep of rain? 
A sea to ruffle against a shore,
   Or a Spring that never can come again? 
It harries the jacaranda's sheaf,
And pries and searches beneath each leaf. 

What is the South wind looking for?
   It seems to laugh as it hastens by,
Yet as it swooned to the grassy floor
   Among the daisies I heard it sigh;
By the tendrilled vine o'er the broken fence
I felt its laughter was all pretence! 

What is the South wind looking for?
   It did not pause by the quiet graves; 
It rattled an ivied garden door,
   And flicked the barley to trembling waves,
And out where the clover led the bees 
It hid a moment behind the trees.

What is the South wind looking for?
   Something the North wind could not find,
Something the bitter West wind swore 
   Was his as he left the world behind. 
I know by its fitful, breathless pace
There are tears not far from the South wind's face!

And it moans defeat at my window now,
   With one last wild hope as it scales the wall
And tugs at the silky oak's tough bough  
   For a tawny blossom that will not fall;
Then I hear it sink with its baffled cries,
Till beyond blue ranges the South wind dies.

First published in The Australasian, 22 November 1924

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Valley by Kathleen Dalziel

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As I look down the valley, these sleepy summer days,
Its bowl is overbrimming with a fine blue haze, 
And through the sunshot dimness the parrots dart and twist,
As painted fishes flick about a pool of amethyst. 

The river, running summer-low among the summer reeds,
Lies along the valley like a glimmering string of beads;
Soft-foot and slowly, she runs, her green pools glassing
The feathery ranks that scarcely stir to motion at her passing.

Here, where the shining leaves reflect a thousand suns,
All day long the bell birds toll their sylvan carillons;
Airy chime and change again, silver clear and strange,
Fairy anvils ringing in the fastness of the range.

Fairy anvils faltering and dying out away,
Where sunset is a glory round the rosy death of day;
And all along the valley evening gathers up
All the early darkness in her cool dim cup . . . 

Time has gleaned so many joys and dried so many tears,
And I only see the valley now across the mist of years.
Twenty years from Melbourne Town, and close to Avalon,
In the glory of the valley in a summer that is gone!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 November 1931

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Foxgloves by Myra Morris

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Facing the dusty street,
   All along the wall,
The foxgloves stand there dreaming,
   Slender and tall,
Shaking their lovely bells
   That float before they fall.

Shaking their lovely bells,
   Lilac, white, and rose,
They lift their fretted linings,
   And carelessly disclose
The cool green of their secret hearts
   With every wind that blows.

Voiceless they dream all day,
   But in the thick, dark hours,
Ghostly little chimings
   Ring from their trembling towers --
An airy music far away
   From tall, town-rooted flowers.

Sweet sounds of summer things --
   The songs of latticed lanes
Are there behind that tinkling --
   The creak of old hay-wains --
The trill of larks among the corn,
   And the croon of English rains!    

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 1937

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

An Old Bush Road by Kathleen Dalziel

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There's a distant roadway winding
   Downward by the sea,
Thro' the lanes where dog-woods flower,
   'Neath the wattle tree.
Thro' the slip-rails, 'cross the river,
   Up the hills and down,
Till the waters flash and quiver,
   Close by Burnie town.

Riding down to Burnie town,
   Burnie by the sea,
Past the paddocks, green and brown,
   Green and golden lea;
Bracken braes with briar strewn
   All the pathway down
Lead to where the waters croon,
   Close by Burnie town.

There the silver showers fleeting
   Drench the green-clad hills,
Where the nodding ferns are curling
   By the crystal rills.
There the magpies gay are culling
   All the dewy dawn,
To the noisy water brawling
   'Twixt its banks of lawn.

Summer snows the fields with clover,
   Golden Cape-Weed gay,
With the brown bees roaming over
   All the livelong day.
Down the gale the bushland flowers
   Fling their incense strange,
Dusky blue the haze is deep'ning
   On the distant range.

There's a distant road that's leading
   Past the autumn hedge,
Where the tangled brushwood serries
   Cliff and messy ledge;
There are white clouds floating over
   In the clear, soft blue --
Like a heart-sick absent lover,
   Dear, I think of you.

Winter and the frost flung over
 Like q bridal veil;
Youth and Joy together laughing
   Long have left the dale;
And a spectral shadow striding
   Throws my castles down-
Shall I never more go riding
   Down to Burnie town.

Riding down to Burnie town,
   Burnie by the sea,
Past the paddocks, green and brown,
   Green and golden lea.
Now the path is lost for aye,
   Lost to you and me.
Oh! the world is sad and grey.
   Burnie by the sea!

First published in The Bulletin, 19 November 1908

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Jacarandas by Mabel Forrest

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In purpling patches on the path the fallen blossoms lie,
   Unfettered blooms that every breeze  
   Drifts downward, from the laden trees,
Heaped clouds of mauve, against the blue of an unclouded sky.  

Set thick about the open parks the jacarandas rise, 
   Transformed by Spring's uplifted wand,   
   They make the earth a fairy land,
Where slum'bring in the drowsy noon, the hill-bound city lies.  

Blue skies, gay buds, and misty hills, I want to see you only,  
   I would forget that far-off place,
   That dreary sweep of wind-swept space,  
And o'er the hare and flow'rless plain, a horseman riding lonely.

Beneath this bloss'ming tree I wait, in green, gold-flickered gloom,
   With Springtide laughing everywhere, 
   And all about me tender, fair,  
The squandered wealth, of jewelled mauve, in jacaanda bloom.

I wait, and know love comes to me, sweet as fresh love is only ...
   Ah! to forget that old, old pain,
   That barren wild and wind-swept plain,
And by the dark brigalow patch, a horseman riding lonely.

First published in The Australasian, 18 November 1905;
and later in
The Capricornian, 25 November 1905.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Wait-a-While by Zora Cross

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Enchanted morning took my hand,
   We walked an airy mile
Through buttercup and daisyland
   Two dreams to wait-a-while.

The paths were all of shining gold,  
   And by a mossy pool,
A podgy froggie aeons old
   Was ringing time to school.

The schoolhouse was a sugarloaf,
   The cane a chocolate stick,
Each scholar, wisehead, dunce, and oaf,
   Assembled tick by tick.

And when the teacher called the roll
   Each answered, "By and by."
At Wait-a-while the school was droll,
   You never heard a sigh.

The lessons made you laugh to learn.
   Two sunbeams make a smile
Was the worst sum; for tables turn
   In school at Wait-a-While. 

If anything was hard to do,
   Like turn and turn about,
The pupils turned the teacher blue,
   By shouting, "School is out." 

When last I picked a buttercup 
Of dreams at Wait-a-while, 
The holidays were shutting up
The school with half-a-smile.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November 1934

Her Heart was Like a Violin by Myra Morris

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Her heart was like a violin
   Upon whose strings there strayed
Only the singing of the earth--
   The songs that nature made.  

There roamed the voices of the winds,
   The croon of lazy seas,
And little muted murmurings
   Of summer-sleepy bees.

There soared the song of loosened floods
   That laced the waterfalls--
The whisper of uncurling buds--
   A blackbird's madrigals!

Her heart was like a violin
   That sang undreamed of things,
And beauty was the magic bow
   That swept those living strings!

First published in The Australasian, 16 November 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Children's Bogey Hole by Mabel Forrest

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Ringed round with whispering rushes,
   And many a giant bole,
Of drooping grey-leaved gum trees tall, 
Where magpies lilt and scrub doves call
   Lies the children's bogey hole. 

A circle silvered over,
   It gleams beneath the moon,
Reflecting here a glimm'ring star, 
Or arch of sky so deep and far,
   A dreaming, still lagoon.

Ghost-like, the slender kangaroos
   Slip down to drink their fill; 
A tawny dingo slinks across
Damp beds of golden-hearted moss,
   Below the scrub-flanked hill.

Along the banks the couch grass grows,
   Close fibred like a mat;
And thro' the water's gentle wash
   There comes the sudden jerky splash 
Made by a water rat.

When roses blush about the east,
   And clouds of light unroll,
With laugh and shout from out their home 
The sturdy station children come
   To rush the bogey hole.

Wild waves rise on the mimic sea,
   And in the water grass
A shining black snake swims far down
Among the tree roots gnarled and brown,
   To let the children pass.

Ringed round with whispering rushes,
   And many a giant bole
Of drooping gum trees gaunt and grey, 
Where mirth and frolic hold their sway,
   Lies the children's bogey hole.  

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 15 November 1905

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Graves of the Pioneers by Kathleen Dalziel

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Back where the ragged scrub-line surges 
   Away to the hot horizon's line, 
Out where the winds croon eerie dirges 
   Night and day through the dusty pine.

Where only the Spring weaves flowers for token, 
   And only the dew leaves quiet tears, 
They lie by the heights and the foothills broken, 
   The graves of the first lone pioneers. 

Scattered afar, through nature's hallways 
   Of towering ash or tossing palm, 
West by that central plain that always 
   Keeps inviolate dreadful calm. 

And we, who walk in the crowded places 
   Where arc lights flare and swift wheels go,     
(Careless crowds among crowding faces), 
   Little remember the debt we owe. 

To those who lie there all unrequited 
   Where the grass-tree raises its velvet spears 
In the vast cathedral of God, star lighted, 
   The outpost graves of the pioneers. 

First published in The Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 14 November 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Daisy by Zora Cross

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Our little Paul has grown a daisy white.
   All snowy frills of petals soft and fair,
   It stands erect for him in the Spring air.
Nought gave a child, I think, more pure delight.
He kneels by it each morning, brown and slight.
   Its small still life he stoops to know and share.
   I hear him asking it when none is there
If it shuts up and sleeps through the long night.

O happy flower, in lovesome solitude,
   Calling a child to worship morn by morn,
Has the earth breathed you in remembrance
Of all the daisies man has ever viewed?
   And do they dream again for him, new-born
In the frank wonder of Paul's baby glance?

First published in The Bulletin, 13 November 1924

The Red Umbrella by Mabel Forrest

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Past the window-box and curtain.
Curtain blowing in the south wind,
Come the voices of the women
With their endless petty chatter
Where they hold exhaustive meeting --
Some important weekly meeting --
And they're talking -- talking -- talking --
O'er the tea the stout charwoman
Brings them to their caucus-stronghold.
Sometimes it's the new-got housemaid,
Who is subject for their gossip,
Sometimes someone's yearly baby
Or the vicar's evening party.
Mrs. Parson danced the tango,
And they think she shouldn't do it.
One explains she's near to forty,
And we lose our spring at forty,
Or we have no right to keep it.
So they chatter o'er their stitching,
Making woollen socks for soldiers
With their patriotic fingers,
And their thoughts on mundane matters.
Since the War 'tis somehow easier
To get parlor maids who suit you,
Though they will insist on Sundays
To walk out with different soldiers.
And, perhaps, out in the country
You'll get cooks without much trouble.
Mrs. Backblock got a good one --
And they think the Labor party
Will not now be quite as cocky
Since hard times for all are coming.
So they stitch and knit and chatter
And the south wind blows my curtain
O'er a straggling bulb, the summer
Tries to coax from its long slumber.

Talk moves on to lighter matters;
Someone has a red umbrella,
And they think that black were fitter,
Or a grey -- like a destroyer.
People should go somewhat downcast
For the sake of murdered Belgians;
And our own men in the trenches,
While my fancy limns her features --
The slim, young. unthinking woman
Who has bought a red umbrella
While the nation goes in mourning.

I feel she is pale and Spanish;
Sure her hair is dark and heavy,
And her eyes are pools of darkness,
And her lids are fringed with lashes
Like the charcoal black of timber
Where the bush fire swept across it.

And I know that men will like her,
For she seems not loved by women:
And I know hers is the temper
To send men hot-foot to battle,
Keeping up a sinking spirit,
Keeping up the snare of glory,
And down in the sodden trenches
Men will dream of splendid sorties
To the blare of many bugles,
And some foolish, noble action
Done to save a rag, the dyer
Marks with red and blue, to make it
Redder with the red life fluid --
Just because two brown eyes watched him
When he marched away in khaki;
Just because two small hands clapped him
Even though he could not trust her,
Even though. deep in his bosom,
Stirred a little snake that whispered:
"When you're gone some other fellow
Will try hard to count those lashes
Sheltered by that red umbrella;
And because you cross the ocean
He, perhaps. will count them closer."

Past the window-box and curtain,
Where I dawdle in my office
Come the voices of the women
Feeling very brave and ample,
Making kit-bags for the soldiers,
Knitting socks for battle treaders.
And discussing babes and servants.
She won't knit a sock -- I know it --
If she did she'd drop the stitches;
But she'll give the kind of glances
That make ramrods of the backbone;
And her face, across the battle,
Will come drifting like a challenge
Making spent men fight like devils
That the smoking surge may hurry
Up the bloody slope of Victory.
And they may return to find her
Smiling 'neath the red umbrella,
Saying she has not forgotten.
Whether they will quite believe it
Will not matter....when they're counting
Close again those long eyelashes.

Chatter on, O busy women!
Drink your tea without much sugar
(Somehow I am sure 'tis never
Strong and black. but pale and milky),
And say things about your servants
And run down the Labor party.
Really you don't make me angry
Till the wind brings in your comment
On the merry unknown woman,
And I feel inclined to lean out
From the window of my office,
Fling a glove into the circle,
While I shout in thundering accents
To your virtuous amazement:
"I, for one, am glad she bought it!"

First published in The Bulletin, 12 November 1914

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Street Behind the Elms by Myra Morris

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Tall houses built of ugly brick
   Stand squeezed together in a row  
Along the dull, suburban street
   Where roaring trucks and tram-cars go
And people swinging shopper's bags
   On hollow heels pass to and fro.

The elms beside the paving stones
   Beside the gutters swept and clean,
Have put on sticky garnet buds
   And whorls of pallid, chalky green;  
And threads of jade and amber run  
   Where boughs as bare as bones have been.

Between the elms shop-windows show
   Humdrum with shoes and soap and cakes,
But when the wind uncoils itself
   From dusty little nooks and shakes
Upon the air a lovely gale
   Of flurrying green and gauzy flakes.

The street takes on a magic look
   Behind that airy dancing veil.
The tall, drab buildings move in mist,
   Their shadowy walls rose-tinged and frail,
And all the people passing by
   Are people in a fairy-tale.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 1944

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Content by Zora Cross

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Give me nor fame
Nor fortune. The same 
Unto me praise
Or blame these days.

Good sleep, sound health, 
I have true wealth. 
A herb plot, a rose,
My own door to close.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 1934

The Temple by Kathleen Dalziel

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I would go out to-night into God's garden  
   Could I the locust-eaten years redeem.
So strange it is, and difficult to pardon,  
   The gulf between the dreamer and the dream.
'Tis long since I have found Him when high dome
   And spire out-leap the house-encumbered hill,
But when night veils the grape blue hills of home
   At close of day I think he walks there still.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 9 November 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Poet by Myra Morris

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This do I say:
   I am a reed of Pan
Blown out of a blue day!
   Muted within the walls of man,
Where green gods throng,
   I play
My song!

The sun, the moon
   Find marvellous voice in me.
I pipe the lost wind's tune.
   My hollow stem doth hold a bee,
In me runs rife
   The rune
Of life!

A reed of Pan!
   A slender, shaken thing,
Made for so short a span!
   Yet the wild music that I sing
Shall linger on
   When man
Is gone!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 8 November 1927

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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