The Poets of Australia by Will M. Fleming

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They are rising in endless numbers
   From ways that are wide and lone,
Dream-eyed with the fire that slumbers
   And feeds on the heart, unknown;
Deep-souled, but with lips grown scornful,
   And shallow to careless eyes,
With hearts that are tender -- mournful
   Those cynical writers rise.

From realms of a restless roaming,
   From creeks where the camp-fires glow,
From flash of the waters foaming,
   From plains where the night-winds blow;
From dreams of a mighty longing
   To deeds of a sordid world,
From the memories softly thronging
   To lips that are grimly curled.

By shadow and star, in sadness,
   By dusk and the lonely moon,
By moan of the midnight madness,
   By calm of the deep mid-noon;
Pale-browned o'er their sun-brown faces,
   Hard-handed and soft of heart,
All reckless, the squadron paces,
   And each in his soul apart.

And what are the hopes they cherish?
   And what are the dreams they dream
When cynical scornings perish,
   And lawless the lovelights gleam?
Bent low o'er the sweat-stained bridle
   They rise, with a careless hold;
Each with his broken idol,
   Each with his dream untold.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 January 1900

Author: William Montgomery Fleming (1874-1961) was born in the Wimmera district of Victoria but undertook his schooling in New South Wales.  He was a member of the NSW State Legislative Assembly from 1901 to 1910 when he resigned to contest and win a seat in Federal Parliament.  He volunteered for the First World War and served as a driver with Australian Army Service Corps.  He again took up politics after his return to Australia but lost his seat in 1922 and was never re-elected. He died in Terrigal, New South Wales, in 1961.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 20, 2011 8:05 AM.

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