March 2011 Archives

Winter Sunshine by C. J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
When winter comes 'tis good to sit and dream,
   When summer's quickening heat and joys are done
'Tis well if one should find some kindly beam
   Stealing thro' mists from that once ardent sun.
Dull days hold less of gloom, less of regret,
   And Spring can surely not be far away,
When Winter skies hold out a promise yet
   In one consoling ray.

But when that winter comes that comes at all,
   Life's Winter with no smiling Spring behind,
Surely, whenever kindly sunbeams fall
   These, in the warming rays a place shall find,
While human sympathy still softly gleams,
   And Charity thro' Winter's murk still glows,
Surely a ray shall warm those old, old dreams
   As hopeless Winter goes.

First published in The Herald, 31 March 1930

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Off to Town by Will H. Ogilvie

| No TrackBacks
Come on, boys, get your bridles; there's the big mob in the yard!
Who's copped my fancy saddle-cloth? No colts! l'll ride the mare;
It's no use fighting down the road on something buckling hard,
And when I'm bound for town I like to know that I'll get there.

Put up that rail behind you; wait a bit till I catch mine.
Woh! Back! you rushing devils! Now, then, block her on the fence.
Woh, there! my snorting favorite; look out for Number Nine.
By ghost! he nearly had you; and his kicking's no pretence.

Now, Jack, I'll block the chestnut chap; and ain't he rolling fat!
I don't mind betting you a quid he gives a prop or two.
Now, then, you dancing brumby's foal, what game is this you're at?
Look out for Teddy's pony there! Woh! beauties; let me through.

Stick up those rails behind you, Joe; the cook will want his horse;
I'd take the buckjump saddle, Jack, unless you want a fall.
You`ll ride him in the hunter? Oh, well! have your way, of course;
But don't forget a gravel-rash looks foolish at a ball.

You should have put the saddle on the bounder in the crush;
A snorting, wheeling brute like that is bound to break away.
Come on, young Teddy, look alive, and sling me up that brush,
We want to get to Wilga Town and not stop here all day.

That's mine -- that cloth -- excuse me! No, I haven't got a strap! --
I haven't time to comb your tail, old girl, that mud must stay! --
Heigh! look at Johnny's chestnut! Stick to him, Jack, old chap!
Good riding without kneepads! But, come on, let's get away !

Cut down, Joe, swing that gate for him! Have you got matches, Ted?
All right, I'm ready! Let 'em rip! Now, Bess, don't play the clown!
A start at last, and goodness knows what time we'll get to bed!
What price the whisky and the girls! All clear for Wilga Town!

Don't fret that blushing chestnut, Joe; come round and ride this side;
And, Jack, by Jove, you watch him, or he'll catch you napping yet! --
Oh, here's that flaming slut of mine -- I thought I left her tied!
Go home, you silly beggar! Go home, you rubbish, Jet!

Now, Jack, game for a canter! Sit hack, and ram the spurs:
I think the buck's all out of him; the colt's as right as rain!
I wish this jolly mare of mine would drop that prance of hers;
l'll race the next best cuddy to that liguum on the plain!

Well, just half a length you did me, but you sneaked a bit of start,
And if the little mare was fit she'd lose your long-legged brown!
Look at that clumsy chestnut; Jack will land home in a cart!
Ho! lights among the timber! Let 'em rip for Wilga Town !

First published in The Bulletin, 30 March 1905

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Australian Poets #12 - Henry Parkes

| No TrackBacks

Henry Parkes (1815-96)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Beers We Used to Drink by Grant Hervey

| No TrackBacks
   Where are the Beers of long ago?
I often deep and darkly ponder;
   Where are the Beers that used to flow?
Where are they now? I guess and wonder.
   Lie they at rest in tombs afar
Along with thoughts we used to think?
   Say, Bacchus -- tell us where they are,
Those long, cool Beers we used to drink?

   Do they, re-drawn all far away,
Scent fairy-fashioned Hebes' bowers!
   Or fail to cheer the dead men gray
With brown and softly falling showers?
   Perhaps behind some spectral bar
They're quaffed with winks we used to wink,
   And wealthy goblins globular
Drink ghosts of Beers we used to drink!

First published in The Bulletin, 29 March 1902

Author: Grant Madison Hervey (1880-1933) was born George Henry Cochrane in Casterton, Victoria.  After working as a blacksmith in his youth, Hervey began to write poetry, journalism and fiction.  He was a larger-than-life character, being charged with attempted murder in 1905, and later serving gaol terms for "forging and uttering".  He traveled to Sydney, Perth and the Western Australian goldfields earning a reputation as a "despicable" journalist.  He died in Melbourne in 1933.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Old Flowers by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks
Give me the flowers our great grandmothers grew--
The bachelors' buttons in a small tight row--
Old lavender for linen white as snow--
Heartsease and marigolds and violets blue.
Bring me the pinks and mignonette they knew,
Dark grannies' bonnets, crimson phlox aglow
Beside the hollyhocks, as long ago
They walked Great Aunt Maria's garden through.
I know the aster, Iceland poppy bright,
New daisies and now dahlias have their hour.
I want an old rose in my greying hair,
A posy of such blooms from an old bower
As with a valentine thrilled some love night--
Sweet Alice to sweet William, greeting fair!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 March 1925

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Books #2 - Poems by Roderic Quinn

| No TrackBacks
Cover, signature and title page from Poems by Roderic Quinn
Angus and Robertson edition, 1920.

Sydney Cove, January, 1788 by Roderic Quinn

| No TrackBacks
She sat on the rocks -- her fireless eyes,
   Teased and tired with the thoughts of yore,
And paining her sense were alien skies,
   An alien sea and an alien shore.

In gold-green dusks she glimpsed new flowers,
   And the glittering wings of gleaming birds,
But haunting her still were English bowers,
   And the clinging sweetness of old love-words.

A soft breeze murmured of unknown shores,
   And laughed as it touched her with fingers light,
But she mourned the more for the wind that roars,
   Down sullen coasts on a northern night.

Like topaz gems on a sable dome,
   The stranger stars stole shyly forth,
She saw no stars like the stars of home,
   That burn white-fired in the frosty north.

A restless sea was at her feet,
   A restless sea of darkest blue,
The lights burned dimly on the Fleet,
   And these were all the ships it knew.

She watched the dark tides rise and fall,
   The lion-tides that night and noon
Range round the world and moan and call
   In sad sea-voices to the moon.

Through hour and hour they ebbed and flowed,
   Till last with sudden splendor day
Lit all the scene with gold and showed
   An arrow black on a garb of grey.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 March 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

A Ballad of Queensland by Ironbark (G. Herbert Gibson)

| No TrackBacks
Overlanding Jim apostrophiseth his quondam mate who hath made his pile and gone home.

Oh! don't you remember Black Alice, Sam Holt --
   Black Alice so dusky and dark --
That Warrego gin with the straw through her nose,
   And teeth like a Moreton Bay shark;
The villainous sheep-wash tobacco she smoked
   In the gunyah down there by the lake;
The grubs that she gathered, the lizards she stewed,
   And the damper you taught her to bake?

They say you've ten thousand per annum, Sam Holt,
   In England a park and a drag,
And p'raps you forget you were six months ago
   In Queensland a humping your swag.
Who'd think now, to see you a dinin' in state
   With lords and the devil knows who,
You were "flashin' your dover"* six short months ago,
   In a lambin'-camp on the Paroo?

Oh! don't you remember the moon's silver sheen
   On the Warrego sandridges white?
And don't you remember the big bull-dog ants
   We found in our blankets at night?
The wild trailing creepers, the bush-buds, Sam Holt,
   That scattered their fragrance around,
And don't you remember that broken-down colt
   You sold me and swore he was sound!

Say, don't you remember that fiver, Sam Holt,
   You borrowed so frank and so free,
When the publicans landed your £50 cheque,
   In Tambo, your very last spree?
Luck changes some natures, and yours, Sammy Holt,
   Ain't a grand one as ever I see;
And I guess I may whistle a good many times,
   'Fore you think of that fiver or me.

Oh, don't you remember the cattle you "duffed,"
   And yer luck at the Sandy Creek "rush,"
The poker you played, and the bluffs that you bluffed,
   And yer habit of holding a "flush"?
Perhaps you've forgotten the pastin' you got
   From the "Barks"† down at Callaghan's store,
When Mick Houlaghan found a fifth ace in his hand,
   And you'd raised him his pile upon four!
You weren't quite the cleanly potato, Sam Holt,
   And you hadn't the cleanest of fins;
But you lifted your pile at "The Towers,"‡ Sam Holt,
   And that covers most of your sins.
When's my turn a-comin'? Well, never, perhaps,
   And it's likely enough yer old mate
'll be "humping his drum" on the Warrego banks
   To the end of the chapter of Fate.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 March 1881 and again in the same magazine on 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Lone Hand, June 1912;
The North Queensland Register, 15 March 1930;
Colonial Ballads edited by Hugh Anderson, 1962;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Overlander Songbook edited by Ronald George Edwards, 1971;
Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore edited by Bil Scott, 1976;
The Penguin Book of Australian Humorous Verse edited by Bill Scott, 1984;
On the Track with Bill Bowyang: With Australian Bush Recitations edited by Hugh Anderson and Dawn Anderson, 1992;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993.

* - Taking pot-luck with a sheath-knife.
† - Back-block vernacular for "Irish".
‡ - Charters Towers.
The poem was also published under the title "Sam Holt".

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Leave Me My Dreams by Gloria McQuade

| No TrackBacks
Leave me my dreams, lest when they fade I find
That life a wilderness before me lies,
An arid sun-seared land 'neath leaden skies,
Where all is anguish-wrung and desolate,
And from whose rock-strewn wastes the wind's wail tells
This is Despair's abode, here Hope ne'er dwells,
Which I must traverse, soul disconsolate,
Knowing my guardian Faith left far behind.
Leave me my dreams, that in my heart may ring
The exquisite strains of that celestial song,
Love's anthem, sung by all the angel throng,
Then though pale Grief walk with me many a mile
With doleful countenance and tear-stained cheek,
I know him not, but toward the rose-tipped peak
Of Heart's Desire go ever on, the while
My dreams remain fearing naught Time may bring.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 1933

Author: nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Mates by Mary Hannay Foott

| No TrackBacks
We have heavy tidings, old dog, to-day;
   There is sorrow come to us over the sea.

You know there was some one who loved me, Dick? ---
  Some one who loved you because of me? ---
Ah, you know! --- By your wistful eyes on mine
   And your tender touch upon my knee.

How long is it since I found you first
   Footsore and forsaken, by Meela dam,
And carried you home --- you were lighter then ---
   On the saddle like some young motherless lamb? ---
How long since the poley cow had me drowned,
   All but, when straight for her throat you swam?

How long since you tracked for your new-chum mate
   In the ranges, many a weary day.
The maiden ewes that Switzer Karl
   In his full-moon madness hunted away ---
For 'twas you fetched the fifteen hundred back
   With a scanty score for the dingo's prey.

Three years or four --- for the bumble-foot mare
   Has three of a following, since we came
To the ten-mile hut together, old Dick.
   And in winter glow of the gidya flame
And in summer shade of the moth-wing roof
   The dream I have dreamed was the same --- the same.

I have seen forever a fair-haired girl
   Whose troth was kept when none else were true,
Whose presence should gladden her one love's lot;
   I have told it to you, Dick --- only you.
The dear brave letters she always sent! ---
   You knew they were hers? Oh, surely you knew!

But this is not hers that I hold to-day.
   She is dead and buried across the sea.
Yet somewhere she lives and she loves me, Dick;
   And she loves you too --- because of me.
Ah, you understand --- by your eyes on mine
   And your touch so tender upon my knee!

First published in The Queenslander, 24 March 1894

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Old Qld Poetry

See also.

A Little Bush Girl by Robert Richardson

| No TrackBacks
Madge sits alone at the close of day
   By the edge of the blue lagoon;
Among the reeds the breezes play
   A wandering woodland tune.
A magpie lights on a red-gum bough,
   And whistles clear and shrill;
The woods with gold and crimson glow
O'er gully, plain, and hill.

The wattle shakes its honey scent
   Upon the warm, sweet breeze;
The clematis its drift white tent
   Spreads for the roving bees.
Under a log a lizard slips
   Quick as a gleam of light.
Madge watches it with parted lips,
   And brown eyes wide and bright.

The sun drops in a crimson haze,
   The wind grows fresh and cool;
The frogs their long, quaint chorus raise
   From creek and marshy pool;
The cricket tunes his tiny trump
   As the short twilight falls;
And from the distant willow clump
   A lonely curlew calls.

Madge scans the sandy cattle track
   Until the cows appear;
She hears her father's stockwhip crack,
   Startling the evening air.
The patient cows -- Jess, Meg, and Pearl --
   Approach the milking rails,
Where mother and the dairy girl
   Wait with the shining pails.

The pageant of the stars unrolled,
   Makes the night glow like noon;
The Southern Cross gleams like pure gold,
   Gilding the dim lagoon.
Madge from her window waits to see
   The stars rise one by one;  
Then, with her prayer at mother's knee,
   Her day is sweetly done.

First published in Australian Town and Country Journal, 23 March 1901

Author: Robert Richardson (1850-1901) was born in New South Wales and completed a B.A. at the University of Sydney.  Best known as a writer for children - and possibly the first Australian born writer to be so titled - he wrote poetry mainly for the Sydney newspapers, especially the Australian Town and Country Journal.  He died in Armidale, New South Wales, in 1901.

Author reference site: Austlit

Australian Poets #11 - George Essex Evans

| No TrackBacks

George Essex Evans (1863-1909)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Monody on the Foundering of the Quetta by Arthur A. D. Bayldon

| No TrackBacks
Gone! gone! gone! and the land is plunged in gloom:
      A hidden rock, a rending shock;
      A sudden cry that thrilled the sky;
      One fond last look --- then suddenly
         Weltering in their watery tomb.
      How hard it seemed to die
      With the moonlit shore close by,
         Where the waves disowned their boom,
      And wooed the bare beach silently;
         A scene to mock them in their doom.
      It is a thought to make one pray;
      Friends and strangers, wives and mothers,
      Widows, fathers, sisters, brothers,
      In three minutes swept away ---
               Oh, where are they?

Ye trembling winds, struck dumb with awe;
   Thou ashen moon, that hidst thy trembling head,
      At the dreadful scene ye saw!     
And thou, oh proud, sad, stern, relentless sea --
But thy great language is unknown to me ---
               Whither whither have they fled?

Ye answer not, for ye are not eternal:
   Now Science, with her meting line and rod,         
Speaks grimly: " Death is the end of life; lo! they are drowned;"
But through my soul, that throbs with thoughts supernal,
Thrills a still small voice without sound:
              "How are they dead?
   When death is life, and life is truth, and truth is God!
               Thither they have fled."

First published in The Queenslander, 22 March 1890

Author: Arthur Albert Dawson Bayldon (1865-1958) was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, and arrived in Australia in 1889.  He had already traveled widely in Europe and America by this time and had also published two volumes of verse. He began his working life in Australia as a journalist but took on a number of occupations as he moved from Brisbane to Orange, New South Wales, and then to Sydney.  He died there in 1958.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Old Qld Poetry

See also.

Australia by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
"Look not at the stains on my robe," she said, "But bare my heart to your eyes,
"For only my heart is loyal, and so weary of Statesmen's lies,"
"Look not on my robe," she whispered. "Where is evil for all to see,
"But think of my dead sons lying on the shores of Gallipoli."

"Look not at my branded brow," she said, "For this is what ill men did;
"But look in my soul," she whispered, "and see what my soul has hid:   
"A jewel of love for England, a jewel of faiths to keep,
"Look not at my robe, oh brothers, but probe where my blood runs deep."

"For it is the blood of men," she said, "of the pioneers of the past
"Who fought for a nation's progress, and who made its honour fast,       
"Look not at my poor stained garments, but look in my heart," she cried;
"And then fold your flag about me, the flag for which heroes died!"  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 March 1931

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

To Sleep by E. B. Loughran

| No TrackBacks
O youth, dark, like thy brother Death,
   Yet to men welcome as the day,
Breathe o'er me with thy fragrant breath,
   And chase my saddening thoughts away.

Oh, take me in thy arms divine,
   And lead me where thou wouldst, O sleep;
For I am wholly, truly thine ---
   My gratitude to thee is deep.

For soon the east will bring the day,
   And when his heaven-lit lamp shall burn,
The cares thy magic sweeps away
   Will with his glow again return:

To me thy dark form is more fair
   Than ever fairest day can be;
For thy hand scatters far my care --
   And that is all-in-all to me.

I feel thy touch upon my brow.
   Soft as the hand of her I love;
I feel thy breath fall o'er me now,
   Like incense burnt by souls above.

I feel thy soothing, mystic power
   Through all my soften'd being thrill;
My cares are with a faded hour,
   I bend me freely to thy will.

Then welcome, welcome, balmy sleep,
   That call'st with silver voice to me;
Let men who will, wake, laugh, or weep ---
   I follow thee! I follow thee!

First published in The Queenslander, 20 March 1869

Author: Edward Booth Loughran (1850-1928) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Australia in 1866.  Loughran began working as a teacher before moving to The Argus as a Parliamentary reporter.   He died in Kyneton, Victoria, in 1928.

Author reference sites: Austlit

Jim's Whip by Barcroft Boake

| No TrackBacks
Yes, there it hangs upon the wall
And never gives a sound,
The hand that trimmed its greenhide fall
Is hidden underground,
There, in that patch of sally shade,
Beneath that grassy mound.

I never take it from the wall,
That whip belonged to him,
The man I singled from them all,
He was my husband, Jim;
I see him now, so straight and tall,
So long and lithe of limb.

That whip was with him night and day
When he was on the track;
I've often heard him laugh. and say
That when they heard its crack,
After the breaking of the drought,
The cattle all came back.

And all the time that Jim was here
A-working on the run
I'd hear that whip ring sharp and clear
Just about set of sun
To let me know that he was near
And that his work was done.

I was away that afternoon,
Penning the calves, when, bang!
I heard his whip, 'twas rather soon -
A thousand echoes rang
And died away among the hills,
As toward the hut I sprang.

I made the tea and waited, but,
Seized by a sudden whim,
I went and sat outside the hut
Watching the light grow dim -
I waited there till after dark,
But not a sign of Jim.

The evening air was damp with dew;
Just as the clock struck ten
His horse came riderless - I knew
What was the matter then.
Why should the Lord have singled out
My Jim from other men?

I took the horse and found him where
He lay beneath the sky
With blood all clotted on his hair;
I felt too dazed to cry -
I held him to me as I prayed
To God that I might die.

But sometimes now I seem to hear -
Just when the air grows chill -
A single whip-crack, sharp and clear,
Re-echo from the hill.
That's Jim, to let me know he's near
And thinking of me still.

First published in The Bulletin, 19 March 1892;
and later in
Where the Dead Men Lie and Other Poems by Barcroft Boake, 1897;
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
Australian Bush Poems, 1991;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
Barcroft Henry Boake edited by Hugh Capel, 2002;
Where the Dead Men Lie: The Story of Barcroft Boake, Bush Poet of the Monaro: 1866-1892  by Hugh Capel, 2002;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson  edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007; and
Barcroft Boake: Collected Works, Edited, with a Life edited by W. F. Refshauge, 2007.

Author: Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake (1866-1892)  was born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1866. He received a better than usual education but turned his back on the city in favour of bush life, believing it to be 'the only life worth living.' He worked as assistant to a surveyor in the Snowy River country and later as a drover and boundary-rider in the Monaro and Western Queensland. He returned to Sydney in 1891 for family reasons but disappeared in May 1892. His body was found eight days later, hanging by the neck from a stockwhip, in scrub at Middle Harbour in Sydney.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Earth by Kodak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

| No TrackBacks
The patient Earth spins on among the stars
Like an old lady in the Halls of Space,
Whose candles -- set on Heaven's window bars --
Wonder and wink at her excessive pace.

She mends Time's garments with her age-long thread,
And patches Knowledge with forgotten lore
Dropped on the threshold by the ones who've fled
Out of this life through the grave's narrow door.

On, on she spins with dignity and grace,
Crushing relentlessly our faintest hopes,
Whilst grave astronomers examine Space
For explanations, with long telescopes.

The Wind at intervals on air will croon
For her to spin to, but she goes on still,
When all is silent and the clown-faced Moon
Gazes and gapes above a sleeping hill.

I've often wondered why she never tires,
And why her candles -- high on Heaven's bars --
Don't go right out like ordinary fires,
Or cheap gas-stoves -- or threepenny cigars.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 March 1909

Author: Ernest Francis O'Ferrall (1881-1925) was born in Melbourne and was educated at the Christian Brothers' College in East Melbourne.  After publishing his stories and poems in such magazines as The Bulletin, The Gadfly, and Steele Rudd's Magazine, he joined the full-time staff of The Bulletin, in Sydney, in 1907. He published much light verse under his own name, and that of "Kodak" as well as 35 short stories in the Lone Hand.  In 1922 O'Ferrall moved to Smith's Weekly, but the work was arduous and he wasn't happy.  He died of tuberculosis in Sydney on 1925.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Far Away by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Far away, oh, far away!
   Where the golden morning breaketh
Over purple summer seas,
Rippling, sparkling, in the bay,
Splushing softly on the strand --
On the shining, yellow sand;
   When the reign of Summer waketh
In that distant summer land
         Far away.

Far away, oh, far away!
   Where the dusty road winds down,
Past where oak and willow trees
Dream throughout the drowsy day.
Where the snowy orchards lie,
Bridal-robed 'neath azure sky,
   Winding on towards the town
Where the swift-winged sea-birds fly
         Far away.

Far away, oh, far away!
   O! the dainty garden bowers
With the great, sweet, yellow roses,
Sweeter than the scent of May.
O, the little sunny town!
O, the little white-roofed town,
   Sleeping through the quiet hours
By the hillside green and brown,
         Far away.

Far away, oh, far away!
   Setting sun behind the hill,
Flinging shadows dark and vast
On the waters of the bay,
While the wavelets kiss the shore,
Coming, going ever more;
   Where the dusk is cool and still,
And the stars light heaven's floor,
         Far away.

I shall never see it more.
   I have left it all behind
On the weary round of time;
Never see the shining shore,
Nor the road that windeth down
From the hillside to the town;
   Nor the scented evening wind
Swing the roses as of yore,
         Never more.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 March 1904

Author: Lau Kathleen Natalie Dalziel (nee Walker) (1881-1969) was born in Durban, South Africa, and migrated to Australia with her family some time around 1887.  She lived in northern Tasmania in her early years before moving to Victoria after her marriage.  Her early poems in The Bulletin received a lot of praise but she only published one collection of poetry during her lifetime.  She was widely known as a writer of poetry for children, and was a founding member of the Melbourne P.E.N. Club.  She died in Ivanhoe, Victoria, in 1969.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Land I Love! by Louise Mack

| No TrackBacks

Land I love! I will wrest your meaning
   See, I swear I will know you yet.
You shall reveal the soul of your song,
   And I will set it, as never set.
March of shadows to muted music,
   Heat-mists creeping, I know, I know;
And I know, dear Rain, that your desolate story
Has a hidden sweet and an inner glory.

Trees of mine! ah, the nights I listen,
   Nights I steal through your black, black shade,
I and the old gums sorrow alone,
   The young gums give me their accolade.
Mile on mile through the death-grey silence,
   Twilight, midnight, or yellow moon,
And 'tis I who know that your desolate story
Has its hidden sweet and its inner glory.

Dark and dawn through the grey gums sweeping,
   Blazing gold of the afternoon,
All have revealed the soul of their song,
   But when, O Land, is my promised tune?
I am silent, I have no music,
   Maestoso nor Allegro,-
But you know how fain is my impotent story
To unfold the hymn of your veiled, great glory.

Only this can I sing, and singing,
   Land of mine! you will understand,
You have revealed the heart of my song,
   While I went seeking for yours, O Land!
Your young lips have disclosed my courage,
   Deathless courage, my Continent!
For I learnt from you that my life's own story
Has a deeper depth and a higher glory.

Heat and haze! you have crept and caught me.
   See, 'tis you who will know me yet.
You have revealed the soul of my song;
   'Tis you who have set it, as never set.
March of shadows to muted music,
   White gums waiting, we know, we know!
And we know, Dear Land, that our desolate story
Has its hidden sweet and its inner glory.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 March 1901

Author:  Marie Louise Hamilton Mack (1870-1935) was born in Hobart and moved from state to state with her Wesleyan minister father before settling in Sydney where she undertook her secondary education.   A friend of Ethel Turner she started writing poetry for The Bulletin in the late 1880s.  She married in 1986 and left Australia for England in 1901.  After living there and in Italy she was the first woman war correspondent in Belgium in 1914.  She wrote several novels and travel books along with her poetry, and died in Sydney in 1935.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Australian Poets #10 - Harry "Breaker" Morant

| No TrackBacks

Harry "Breaker" Morant (?1865-1902)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

At the Church Picnic by Edward Dyson

| No TrackBacks
'Neath the saplings straight and slender,
   'Mid the heather full of bloom,
Sat I by a lady tender,
   Whispering in the grateful gloom;
Fitful breezes slyly stealing
   Shook the blossom-burdened shrub
Our enchanted haunt concealing
   From the crowd beneath the scrub.

Fair was she and plump and pleasing,
   With the brightest, bluest eyes,
Soft, small hands for covert squeezing;
   P'r'aps the action was not wise,
But I ventured soon to press them -
   We were strangers ere that day -
'Twas no harm though to caress them,
   Picnics now are run this way.

Was her waist not trim and taper -
   Tempting to a supple arm?
Doubtless this looks bold on paper,
   But I yielded to its charm.
There and then I did enfold its
   Dainty shape.  I here avow
Frowned she not nor sought to scold - it's
   Quite the thing at picnics now.

Glanced her dancing eyes demurely,
   And her lips were ripe and red,
'Twas the proper sequence surely,
   First to kiss her cheek instead.
Kissed I it, and tasted Heaven;
   Sure the dame did not demur -
Kisses stolen six or seven
   Do not count at picnics, sir.

Thirty summer suns had glimmered
   O'er her shapely golden head,
Where the wavy meshes simmered,
   She'd been married once, she said.
Then I kissed her full lips flushing,
   And an answ'ring pressure got -
Where's the reason there for blushing?
    Picnics sanctify a lot.

Sate we long amongst the heather,
   'Till they rang the bell for tea,
Hearts and faces close together,
   Talking sweetest poetry.
Ten with parting pressure hearty -
   Soft regrets shone in her face -
Both rejoined the picnic party
   Just in time to join in grace.

Soon again I saw her quaintly
   Superintendent o'er an urn
With an aspect sweet but saintly;
   Hungered I her name to learn.
"Who is she, so plump, with panik-
   Ins of Congou by her side?"
"Parson's wife!" a grim, laconic
   Party on my right replied.

So she was - the Reverend Mrs.
   Abram Ebenezer Bunce -
Yes, she told me 'tween the kisses
   That she had been married once.
Caesar, though! she didn't say that
   Abram still was at the plough;
Well, it's Kismet!  'Tis a way that
   They have got at picnics now.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 March 1890

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

To an Echo on the Banks of the Hunter by Charles Harpur

| No TrackBacks
I hear thee, Echo; and I start to hear thee,
   With a strange tremor, as among the hills

Thy voice reverbs, and in swift murmurs near me

      Dies down the stream, or with its gurgle low

   Blends whisp'ringly -- untll my bosom thrills
With gentle tribulations that endear thee,

    But smack not of the present. 'Twere as though    

A spirit of the past did then insphere thee

Even with the taste of life's regretted spring --

   Waking wild recollections, to evince

My being's transfused connexion with each thing

               Loved, though long since.  


It seems but yesterday since last I stood

   Beside the Hawkesb'ry, even as now I stand

By the swift Hunter, challenging, o'er the flood,
An echo thus; but with a glorious brood

   Of hopes then glowing round me, and a band

Of schoolmates and young creatures of my blood,

   All quick with joyousness beyond command;

   And now, with that delightful day, oh, where

Are those glad mates, quick joys, and hopes of good?

               Where, Echo, where?


Thy voice comes o'er the waters in reply,

   To fade as soon -- and all those young delights

Decay'd, on thy peculiar accents die,  

   In the dusk valleys of past days and nights,

To be renew'd not like thy mystic chide;

   And one to the other of these joyous sprites,

Now burthened with their manhoods, in the wide

World's separations, even the names as fast

Of each have faded; and those hopes at last--  

   Aye, all those glorious hopes of mine, save one,

Become but echoes of the hollow past--

               All, all but one!

And that, too, round my being only strays

    Like a recurring sound :- 'Tis that, when o'er

My country shall have swept the ripening days

      Of centuries, her better sons shall prize

   My lonely voice upon the past;- but more

      That to her daugthers, so with glowing eyes,

      Bath'd to the splendour of these selfesame skies,

They'll gaze upon my page -- even then my name,

   Unheeded now, responsive to the swell

Of their full souls, and winnow'd of its blame,

      From the dim past (an echo) thus shall come:

   And wheresoever Love end Song may dwell,

      To live and die in sweet perpetual doom,

Upon the flood of ages -- still the same.

   And in this hope the recompense is great

For much that I may lack, for more that may annoy,

   Crowning me oft 'mid these dark days of fate

               With joy-even joy !

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 14 March 1843;
and then later in
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 17 October 1846;
The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator, 20 January 1849;
The Bushrangers, a Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems by Charles Harpur, 1853; and
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Spring Song of a Bloke by C. J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
The world 'as got me snouted jist a treat;
   Crool Forchin's dirty left 'as smote me soul;
An' all them joys o' life I 'eld so sweet
   Is up the pole.
Fer, as the poit sez, me 'eart 'as got
The pip wiv yearnin' fer -- I dunno wot.
I'm crook; me name is Mud; I've done me dash;
   Me flamin' spirit's got the flamin' 'ump!
I'm longin' to let loose on somethin' rash....
   Aw, I'm a chump!
I know it; but this blimed ole Springtime craze
Fair outs me, on these dilly, silly days.
The young green leaves is shootin' on the trees,
   The air is like a long, cool swig o' beer,
The bonzer smell o' flow'rs is on the breeze
   An 'ere's me, 'ere,
Jist mooching around like some pore, barmy coot,
Of 'ope, an' joy, an' forchin destichoot.
I've lorst me former joy in gettin' shick,
   Or 'eadin' browns; I 'aven't got the 'eart
To word a tom; an' square an' all, I'm sick
   Of that cheap tart
'Oo chucks 'er carcis at a feller's 'head
An' mauls 'im ... Ar! I wish't that I wus dead!...
Ther's little breezes stirrin' in the leaves,
   An sparrers chirpin' 'igh the 'ole day long;
An 'on the air a sad, sweet music breaves
   A bonzer song --
A mournful sorter choon thet gits a bloke
Fair in the brisket 'ere, an' makes 'im choke...
What is the matter wiv me? ... I dunno.
   I got a sorter yearning 'ere inside,
A dead-crook sorter thing that won't let go
   Or be denied --
A feelin' I want to do a break,
An' stoush creation for some woman's sake.
The little birds is chirpin' in the nest,
   The parks an' gardings is a bosker sight,
Where smilin' tarts walks up an' down, all dressed
   In clobber white.
An', as their snowy forms goes steppin' by,
It seems I'm seekin' something on the sly.
Somethin' or someone -- I don't rightly know;
   But, seems to me, I'm kind er lookin' for
A tart I knoo a 'undred years ago,
   Or, maybe, more.
Wot's this I've 'eard them call that thing? ... Geewhizz!
Me ideel bit o' skirt!  That's wot it is!
Me ideel tart! ... An, bli'me, look at me!
   Jist take a squiz at this, an' tell me can
Some square an' honist tom take this to be
   'Er own true man?
Aw, Gawd!  I'd be as true to 'er, I would --
As straight an' stiddy as ... Ar, wot's the good?
Me, that 'as done me stretch fer stoushin' Johns,
   An' spen's me leisure getting on the shick,
An' 'arf me nights down there in Little Lon.,
   Wiv Ginger Mick,
Jist 'eading 'em, an' doing in me gilt.
Tough luck!  I s'pose it's 'ow a man is built.
It's 'ow Gawd builds a bloke; but don't it 'urt
   When 'e gits yearnin's fer this 'igher life,
On these Spring mornin's, watchin' some sweet skirt --
   Some fucher wife --
Go sailin' by, an' turnin' on his phiz
The glarssy eye -- fere bein' wot 'e is.
I've watched 'em walkin' in the gardings 'ere --
   Cliners from orfices an' shops an' such;
The sorter skirts I dursn't come too near,
   Or dare to touch.
An, when I see the kind er looks they carst ...
Gorstooth!  Wot is the use o' me, I arst?
Wot wus I slung 'ere for?  An' wot's the good
   Of yearnin' after any ideel tart?
Ar, if a bloke wus only understood!
   'E's got a 'eart:
'E's got a soul inside 'im, poor or rich.
But wot's the use, when 'Eaven's crool'd 'is pitch?
I tells meself some day I'll take a pull
   An' look around fer some good, stiddy job,
An' cut the push fer good an' all; I'm full
   Of that crook mob!
An', in some Spring the fucher 'olds in store,
I'll cop me prize an' long in vain no more.
The little winds is stirrin' in the trees,
   Where little birds is chantin' lovers' lays;
The music of the sorft an' barmy breeze ...
   Aw, spare me days!
If this 'ere dilly feelin' doesn't stop
I'll lose me block an' stoush some flamin' cop!

First published in The Bulletin, 13 March 1913, and then again in the same magazine on 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis, 1915 [titled changed to "A Spring Song"];
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Selected Works of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1988;
Favourite Poems of C. J. Dennis by C. J. Dennis, 1989; and
The Oxford Book of Australian Love Poems edited by Jennifer Strauss, 1993.

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Books #1 - Songs of Love and Life by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks

cover_songs of love and life.jpg
title_songs of love and life.jpg

Cover and title page from Songs of Love and Life by Zora Cross
Angus and Robertson edition, 1917.

March - Thoughts at Eventide by A. J. Rolfe

| No TrackBacks
Epigraph: 'The world is but a rugged road/ Which leads us to the bright abode/ Of peace above.' (Longfellow)

The hours of day are done, and from the sides
   There steals a stillness solemn and serene;
And as a weary war-worn veteran lies
   Freed from his toil, at rest from warfare keen,
Nature exhausted sleeps. And silently   
   The glittering stars send down their pale cold light,
Turning our thoughts towards Eternity,
   Where vulgar passions are unknown as night:
Where gates of pearl are ever open wide,
   And he that overcometh shall receive
Eternal life: where sorrow's rushing tide
   Can never break; where partings cannot grieve;   
And he whose heart by trouble is borne down
Shall for his cross receive a glorious crown.

First published in The Queenslander, 12 March 1892;
and later in:
A Sheaf of Sonnets by A. J. Rolfe, 1892

Note: this poem in the third in a sequence of poems that the author wrote about each month of the year.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

God Help Our Men at Sea by Henry Kendall

| No TrackBacks
The wild night comes, like an owl to its lair;
   The black clouds follow fast;
And the sungleams die, and the lightnings glare,
   And the ships go heaving past, past, past,     
   The ships go heaving past!  
         Bar the doors, and higher, higher,
         Pile the faggots on the fire!     
         Now abroad by many a light,
         Empty seats there are to-night;   
         Empty seats that none may fill,
         For the storm grows louder still!
How it surges and swells through the gorges and dells,
   Under the ledges and over the lea,
Where a watery sound goeth moaning around,
               God help our men at sea!    

Oh! never a tempest blew on the shore,
   But what some heart did groan
For a darling voice it would hear no more,
   And a face that had left it lone, lone, lone --
   A face that had left it lone!
         I am watching by a pane
         Darkened with the gusty rain,  
         Watching through a mist of tears,   
         Sad with thoughts of other years:
         For a brother I did miss   
         In a stormy time like this!-
Ha, the torrent howls past, like a fiend on the blast,
   Under the ledges and over the lea;
And the pent waters gleam, and the wild surges scream --
               God help our men at sea!

Ah! Lord, they may grope through the dark to find
   Thy hand within the gale;
And cries may rise on the wings of the wind,
   From mariners weary and pale, pale, pale --
   From mariners weary and pale!
         'Tis a fearful thing to know,
         While the storm-winds loudly blow,
         That a man can sometimes come   
         Too near to his father's home;
         So that he shall kneel and say,
         "Lord, I would be far away!"
Ho! the hurricanes roar round a dangerous shore,
   Under the ledges and over the lea,
And there twinkles a light on the billows so white --  
               God help our men at sea!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 March 1862;
and later in
Leaves from Australian Forests by Henry Kendall, 1869.

Author: Henry Kendall (1839-1882) was born near Milton on the NSW coast. He lived in the coastal regions of Illawarra in the south of NSW and Clarence River in the north before spending two years aboard a whaling vessel. He returned to live in Sydney and published his first volume of poetry, Poems and Songs in 1862. He moved to Melbourne in 1868 after his marriage and published his second volume, Leaves from Australian Forests in 1869. His lack of success, however, along with the death of his daughter Araluen, drove him to alcohol and he was to spend various periods in a Sydney asylum for his addiction. He was finally cured, reunited with his wife and achieved some level of success with his final volume of poetry, Songs from the Mountains, in 1880. He died in 1882.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Travelling Post Office by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

| No TrackBacks
The roving breezes come and go, the reed beds sweep and sway,
The sleepy river murmurs low, and loiters on its way,
It is the land of lots o' time along the Castlereagh.

The old man's son had left the farm, he found it dull and slow,
He drifted to the great North-west where all the rovers go.
"He's gone so long," the old man said, "he's dropped right out of mind,
But if you'd write a line to him I'd take it very kind;
He's shearing here and fencing there, a kind of waif and stray,
He's droving now with Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.
The sheep are travelling for the grass, and travelling very slow;
They may be at Mundooran now, or past the Overflow,
Or tramping down the black soil flats across by Waddiwong,
But all those little country towns would send the letter wrong,
The mailman, if he's extra tired, would pass them in his sleep,
It's safest to address the note to 'Care of Conroy's sheep',
For five and twenty thousand head can scarcely go astray,
You write to 'Care of Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh'."

By rock and ridge and riverside the western mail has gone,
Across the great Blue Mountain Range to take that letter on.
A moment on the topmost grade while open fire doors glare,
She pauses like a living thing to breathe the mountain air,
Then launches down the other side across the plains away
To bear that note to "Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh".

And now by coach and mailman's bag it goes from town to town,
And Conroy's Gap and Conroy's Creek have marked it "further down".
Beneath a sky of deepest blue where never cloud abides,
A speck upon the waste of plain the lonely mailman rides.
Where fierce hot winds have set the pine and myall boughs asweep
He hails the shearers passing by for news of Conroy's sheep.
By big lagoons where wildfowl play and crested pigeons flock,
By camp fires where the drovers ride around their restless stock,
And past the teamster toiling down to fetch the wool away
My letter chases Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.

First published in The Bulletin, 10 March 1894, and again in the same magazine on 22-29 December 1981;
and later in
The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses by A. B Paterson, 1895;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens,1909;
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens,1913;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens,1925;
The Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1945;
Australia Fair: Poems and Paintings edited by Douglas Stewart, 1974;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
The Collected Verse of A. B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1982;
Singer of the Bush, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson: Complete Works 1885-1900 compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1983;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Les Murray, 1986;
Banjo Paterson's Poems of the Bush by A.B. Paterson, 1987;
The Banjo's Best-Loved Poems compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie,1989;
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B.'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1990;
Selected Poems: A.B. Paterson compiled by Les Murray, 1992;
A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson: Bush Ballads, Poems, Stories and Journalism edited by Clement Semmler, 1992;
Banjo Paterson: His Poetry and Prose compiled by Richard Hall, 1993;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1996;
Seven Centuries of Poetry in English edited by John Leonard, 2003;
80 Great Poems From Chaucer to Now edited by Geoff Page, 2006;
Sixty Classic Australian Poems edited by Geoff Page, 2009; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Ballad of the Drover by Henry Lawson

| No TrackBacks

Across the stony ridges,
   Across the rolling plain,
Young Harry Dale, the drover,
   Comes riding home again.
And well his stock-horse bears him,
   And light of heart is he,
And stoutly his old pack-horse
   Is trotting by his knee.

Up Queensland way with cattle
   He travelled regions vast;
And many months have vanished
   Since home-folk saw him last.
He hums a song of someone
   He hopes to marry soon;
And hobble-chains and camp-ware
   Keep jingling to the tune.

Beyond the hazy dado
   Against the lower skies
And yon blue line of ranges
   The homestead station lies.
And thitherward the drover
   Jogs through the lazy noon,
While hobble-chains and camp-ware
   Are jingling to a tune.

An hour has filled the heavens
   With storm-clouds inky black;
At times the lightning trickles
   Around the drover's track;
But Harry pushes onward,
   His horses' strength he tries,
In hope to reach the river
   Before the flood shall rise.

The thunder from above him
   Goes rolling o'er the plain;
And down on thirsty pastures
   In torrents falls the rain.
And every creek and gully
   Sends forth its little flood,
Till the river runs a banker,
   All stained with yellow mud.

Now Harry speaks to Rover,
   The best dog on the plains,
And to his hardy horses,
   And strokes their shaggy manes;
"We've breasted bigger rivers
   When floods were at their height
Nor shall this gutter stop us
   From getting home to-night!"

The thunder growls a warning,
   The ghastly lightnings gleam,
As the drover turns his horses
   To swim the fatal stream.
But, oh! the flood runs stronger
   Than e'er it ran before;
The saddle-horse is failing,
   And only half-way o'er!

When flashes next the lightning,
   The flood's grey breast is blank,
And a cattle dog and pack-horse
   Are struggling up the bank.
But in the lonely homestead
   The girl will wait in vain --
He'll never pass the stations
   In charge of stock again.

The faithful dog a moment
   Sits panting on the bank,
And then swims through the current
   To where his master sank.
And round and round in circles
   He fights with failing strength,
Till, borne down by the waters,
   The old dog sinks at length.

Across the flooded lowlands
   And slopes of sodden loam
The pack-horse struggles onward,
   To take dumb tidings home.
And mud-stained, wet, and weary,
   Through ranges dark goes he;
While hobble-chains and tinware
   Are sounding eerily.

      .    .    .    .    .

The floods are in the ocean,
   The stream is clear again,
And now a verdant carpet
   Is stretched across the plain.
But someone's eyes are saddened,
   And someone's heart still bleeds
In sorrow for the drover
   Who sleeps among the reeds.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 9 March 1889,
then in the same newspaper on 21 September 1889;
and later in
In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1900;
The Coo-ee Reciter: Humourous, Pathetic, Dramatic, Dialect, and Readings compiled by William T. Pyke, 1904; 
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1913;
Winnowed Verse by Henry Lawson, 1924;
Selection from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
The Children's Lawson by Henry Lawson, 1949;
Songs from Lawson by Henry Lawson, 1957;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Kathrine Bell, 2002,
amongst many others.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

The Squatteroo by Edward S. Sorenson

| No TrackBacks
A long-legged, lanky man was he, with grizzly beard and grey,
A stranger at the shanty -- for he came from far away;
And we noticed that his harness was the product of the 'roo,
      And his boots and -- strike me fat!
      There was hair upon his hat!
And he said: "Oi am a grazin' man -- the only Squattheroo!"

So we took him into "Mother's," and we wet him at the bar,
And he spoke about his cattle -- how he branded them with tar,
And mustered by the thousand out upon the lone Paroo.
      They were not the common kine,
      Neither were they grunting swine --
"Faith! They only go on two legs yit," observed the Squatteroo.

He said he'd learnt how garden-stuff was once the rankest weeds,
How men evolved from puny stock the very best of breeds;
And then he crossed the Darling to domesticate the 'roo.
      He would choose his paramours,
      Make him locomote on fours --
Then he'd be a source of profit to the only Squatreroo!

He would make of him a packer, he would teach him not to hop,
And when he had induced the brute his former end to drop,
He would send the horizontal fact some day to Sydney Zoo.
      "Oi am shure compulsive use
      Of the forelegs will produce
What ye'd call an abnormality," averted the Squatteroo.

"There's no dacent occupation for a baste thot stands on ind!
But, he'll be a perfect jewel whin his little paws descind!
And he'll thrott around the shanty loike O'Doolan's pig -- Hooroo!
      He'll be yoked in pairs like oxen,
      He'll forgit his thricks o' boxin',
An' we'll thrain him for the races," said the backblock Squatteroo.

Then he swung into his saddle, said he must be making tracks;
No, he didn't want no stockmen, he employed a hundred blacks,
Who were out a-branding joeys now upon the lone Paroo.
      By-and-by we'd see them riding
      On 'roo-back to Cobar siding,
A-driving kangaroo; for him -- that long-legged Squatteroo!

First published in The Bulletin, 8 March 1902

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Sunshine, Drought, and Storm by E.H.L

| No TrackBacks
Far up on the height, in the tropical blaze of the noonday,
   Or 'neath shade of the pines and the solitude born of the air,
Where the white wings of birds and throb-notes of melody beat not
   In the motionless verdure of trees or the heat and the glare.

The motionless verdure of trees on the slope of the hill-side
   Throws a pendulous pall o'er the moss-covered boulder and me;
While the glitter of distant inlet my vision entrances,
   And the glint from the foam-flecked waves on the far-away sea.

Sultry the air; no cool breezes blow soft o'er the mountain,
   But the sheen of a shimmering ocean of crystalline light
Floods the peak and the plain. The wide-spreading forest and scrub-land
   Throb with tremulous poise and a lustre that dazzles the sight.

No sough from the moorland, no hum from the flower seeking bee.
   The moorland sere is afar, the last of the blossoms have fled;
The breath of a fiery December has touched them and dried them,
   Drought comes with heat, and flowers and pasture are withered and dead.

Oppressive the air grows, hazy the hills that bound the horizon;
   Mists veil the sky where glint of the sun on the ocean has been;
Mists change to slow-rising torreted ramparts, bodeful of tempest,
   Girding with vapours the sky and veiling with dimness the scene.

Whisperings come from the she-oak, murmurings soft from the pine-tree;
   Moans from the moorland, wails from dark gorges lurking beneath;
Rushes the wind with its garment of cloud-wrack sable and sombre ---
   Sulphurous mantle of vapour hiding the fire in its sheath.

Whisperings low change to wailing, murmurings deepen to moaning;
   There is swaying of branches, screaming of birds, the sudden splash of the rain;
Quivering gleam of the lightning in fitful and tremulous splendour,
   Rumble and crash of thunder, resounding again and again.

Nearer, still nearer the tumult, closer, still closer the roar;
   Surging the contest, baleful the fires that incessantly light
Lurid recesses of Hell, displacing bright mansions of Heaven,
   Or yawning abysses of darkness wrapt in the mantle of night.

Forth bursts the levin-bolt from the blackness above the pine-tops,
   And the aisles of the forest lament as the brave trees bend to their doom,
Mid the dirge of the blast and the roll of the storm fiend's chariot
   As he speeds on his wreck-strewn path through the maze of the glowering gloom.

Placid, tranquil the woodland, chequered with sunshine and shadow;
   Sweet exhalations from flowers are wafted upon the breeze;
The winds intone a paean, telling of freshness and gladness,
   Blent with the anthems of birds and rhythmical cadence of trees.

Fresh is the verdurous pasture, gladsome the ripple of brooklets,
   Purling and babbling the gentle laughter of waters that lave;
Tokens of plenitude vast pouring from bounteous Earth's bosom,
   Earth, fertile mother of fruits, bright blossoms, and branches that wave.

Such is the season of summer, charged with the storm or the drought,
   Fraught with the fate of flowers, green pastures, and cattle, and man:
Send us, beneficent God, abundant all-comforting showers;
   Grant us, O God, in the drear time of drought, release from Thy ban.

First published in The Queenslander, 7 March 1881

Note: the author of this poem is not known.

Stanzas at Sea by Henry Parkes

| No TrackBacks
Written on board the barque Strathfieldsay, on the night of the 1st May, 1839.

A storm in distant darkness cowers upon the stilly deep;
   Within a low cloud's parted folds, three stars their lone watch keep:
Frequent the tropic lightning flings its ocean-flash o'er heaven,
   And, through the gloom, the shaded moon's wan outline still is given!

There's mingled in the scene to-night a splendour and a gloom,
   All, all unlike life's other scenes of dreariness or bloom;
Yet my sad thoughts hang o'er the past -- the lovely and the dark,
   As o'er the sleeping water floats our lone and lazy bark.

The wet sails, flapping o'er my head, to me sweet music make
   The light'nings seem an angel's smiles, as through the clouds they break;
For musings of a deep, dear kind, to-night are stealing o'er me,
   Of things for ever left behind, and things all new before me.

Ev'n while hope's golden future opens round me, and I bless,
   With the heart's tears, some fairy dreams of far off happiness --
Ev'n while I picture a sweet home for her I love so well,
   A mother's tears, which flow afresh, dissolve, alas! the spell!

Those tearful eyes are absent now -- the time may come no more,
   When I shall see them smile, or weep, on England's distant shore;
But He who gave a mother's love to cheer life's younger day,
   Will help the weary wanderer on the world's unfriendly way.

O, God, let virtue elevate my solitary heart!
   Whate'er of joy or grief may fall to my allotted part --
Whate'er may lift my spirit, or my sinking soul enthrall,
   In the world's struggles, strengthen me to hold the right through all!

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 6 March 1840;
and later in
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Waiting for the Mail by E. J. Brady

| No TrackBacks
Three times a week the mail-car, across the coastal hills,
Comes rattling with our letters, our papers and -- our bills.
The village lights assembled,
Their eagerness dissembled,
Won't know until they've sorted what disappointments, thrills,
In those sealed bags await them
To please or irritate them,
To elevate their spirits or aggravate their ills.

They crowd the office counter -- an agent's note for Joe
(The hairy rabbit-trapper) with cheque from So and So!
Joe grins, and in his pocket
Crams envelope and docket,
Departing in a hurry. The others rightly know
That Joe, unkempt and leery,
Benevolent and beery,
Has gone to greet the barman and bid the liquor flow.

Fred Fielding pushes forward; he grabs a slender mail;
His features, fat and florid, revert from red to pale --
"For three-pun-ten and under!"
He shouts in tones of thunder,
"They've sold them pigs in Melbun! Too late to cancel sale!
I'll wire the wicked robbers
That me and all me cobbers
Will send our stuff to Sydney, the whole of it, for sale!"

Old Mother Jones approaches, she wheezes and she moans,
Rheumatics nip and grind her, she creaks in all her bones.
But now her face hard-bitten
In cheerful smirks is litten --
A bottle of the Cure-All may even cure Ma Jones.
By parcel post arriving
It points to her surviving
The cold of coming winter with mild and mellow groans.

Miss Sally Smith trips lightly two awkward youths between;
She has no brains whatever, but, turning seventeen,
The males declare her pretty
As flash girls from the city;
At all the district dances she holds her own I ween.
And this, the last mail order,
Will make her, round the Border,
Despite the jealous females an undisputed queen.

At last I breast the counter, my fortune I rehearse;
Two bills, a seedsman's pamphlet, and some rejected verse!
Avaunt this inky scrapping,
I'm going rabbit trapping!
As soon as Joe is sober, with that unlettered curse
A partnership I'll wangle;
Surveyed from any angle
No other occupation than writing could be worse.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 March 1947

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Since the Country Carried Sheep by Harry ("Breaker") Morant

| No TrackBacks
We trucked the cows to Homebush, saw the girls, and started back,
Went West through Cunnamulla, and got to the Eulo track.
Camped a while at Gonybibil -- but, Lord! you wouldn't know
It for the place where you and Mick were stockmen long ago.

Young Merino bought the station, fenced the run and built a 'shed',
Sacked the stockmen, sold the cattle, and put on sheep instead,
But he wasn't built for Queensland. and every blessed year
One hears of 'labour troubles' when Merino starts to shear.

There are ructions with the rouseabouts, and shearers' strikes galore!
The likes were never thought of in the cattle days of yore.
And slowly, round small paddocks now, the 'sleeping lizards' creep,
And Gonybibil's beggared since the country carried sheep.

Time was we had the horses up ere starlight waned away,
The billy would be boiling by the breaking of the day;
And our horses -- by Protection -- were aye in decent nick,
When we rode up the 'Bidgee where the clearskins mustered thick.

They've built brush-yards on Wild Horse Creek, where in the morning's hush
We've sat silent in the saddle, and listened for the rush
Of the scrubbers -- when we heard 'em, 'twas wheel 'em if you can,
While gidgee, pine and mulga tried the nerve of horse and man.

The mickies that we've branded there! the colts we had to ride!
In Gonybibil's palmy days -- before the old boss died.
Could Yorkie Hawkins see his run, I guess his ghost would weep,
For Gonybibil's beggared since the country carried sheep.

From sunrise until sunset through the summer days we'd ride,
But stockyard rails were up and pegged, with cattle safe inside,
When 'twixt the gloamin' and the murk, we heard the well-known note --
The peal of boisterous laughter from the kookaburra's throat.

Camped out beneath the starlit skies, the tree-tops overhead,
A saddle for a pillow, and a blanket for a bed,
'Twas pleasant, mate, to listen to the soughing of the breeze,
And learn the lilting lullabies which stirred the mulga-trees.

Our sleep was sound in those times, for the mustering days were hard,
The morrows might be harder, with the branding in the yard.
But did you see the station now! the men -- and mokes -- they keep!
You'd own the place was beggared -- since the country carried sheep.

First published in The Bulletin, 4 March 1893, and again in the same magazine on 5 April, 1902;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant : His 'Ventures and Verses edited by Frank Renar, 1902;
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980;
This Australia Summer 1981;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007; and
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008.

Author: Harry 'Breaker' Morant (1865?-1902) was born in the United Kingdom - in 1865 by his own account but in 1864 according to later research, possibly under the name Edwin Henry Murrant. He left England in April 1883 bound for Queensland where he married Daisy May O'Dwyer (later known more famously as Daisy Bates) - and quickly divorced - and took to droving and horse-breaking; hence the nickname. In the late 1890s he enlisted with the South Australian Mounted Rifles to fight in the Boer War in South Africa. Along with P.J. Handcock, Morant was court-martialled for executing several Boer prisoners and a German missionary. He was found guilty and executed by firing squad on February 27th 1902.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Trumper by Victor Daley

| No TrackBacks
"Trumper is an artist. Some day someone will paint his portrait; it will be hung in a National Portrait Gallery; he will he dressed in white, with his splendid neck bared to the wind, standing on short green grass against a blue sky; he will be waiting for the ball, the orchestra to strike up." - Mrs. C. B. Fry in an English periodical.

Ho Statesmen, Patriots, Bards make way!
   Your fame has sunk to zero:
For Victor Trumpet is to-day
   Our one Australian Hero.

High purpose glitters in his eye,
   He scorns the filthy dollar;
His splendid neck, says Mrs. Fry,
   Is innocent of collar.

He stands upon the short green grass,
   Superb, and seems to be now
A nobler young Leonidas
   At our Thermopylae now.

Is there not, haply, in the land
   Some native-born Murillo
To paint, in colors rich and grand.
   This Wielder of the Willow?

Nay, rather let a statue be
   Erected his renown to,
That future citizens might see
   The gods their sires bowed down to.

Happy the man who while alive
   Obtains his meed of glory!
His name for seasons will survive
   In fable, song and story.

Evoe Trumper! As for me
   It all ends with the moral
That Fame grows on the Willow Tree
   And no more on the Laurel.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 March 1904

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Note: the subject of this poem is, of course, Victor Trumper, the great Australian Test batsman.

A Grave by the Sea by George Essex Evans

| No TrackBacks
No white cloud sails the lonely sky,
Thro' the gaunt trees no breezes sigh,
   Thro' the lush grass no fall of feet;
No song of bird in all the land,
   But, floating faint and dreamily,
The distant dirge of waves that beat
   In discontent upon the sand.

Here, where all Nature seems aswoon,
   Time, languid as a summer stream,
Drifts down the soft sweet afternoon;
   And Death, discrowned of terror, brings
Surcease to souls that wake not soon,
   And casts above Life's fevered dream
Cool shadows of Immortal Wings.

Here, by the old graves overgrown,
A bare mound, without wreath or stone,
   Marks where he sleeps 'mid grasses long,
Who sought not things that others seek,
   Who fought in silence and alone,
Who in his weakness was so strong
   And in his strength so weak.

The shining years shall glide and go,
The human tides shall ebb and flow,
   And Love make sweet the days to be,
And Death make smooth the brow of pain,
   But no such heart again shall glow,
And no such friend shall come to me
   Thro' all the cycles that remain.

Some pass and perish with their breath;
He liveth still and quickeneth,
   As scent of roses on the wind
Recalls the bygone Summer's day;
   He leaves this side the seas of Death
The fragrance of a noble mind:
   He dies, but passes not away.

First published in The Queenslander, 2 March 1895

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Australian Poets #9 - John Shaw Neilson

| No TrackBacks

John Shaw Neilson (1872-1942)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

Books by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks
Oh bury me in books when I am dead,
   Fair quarto leaves of ivory and gold,
And silk octavos bound in brown and red,
   That tales of love and chivalry unfold.

Heap me in volumes of fine vellum wrought,
   Creamed with the close content of silent speech.
Wrap me in sapphire tapestries of thought
   From some old epic out of common reach.

I would my shroud were verse-embroidered too --
   Your verse for preference, in starry stitch,
And powdered o'er with rhymes that poets woo,
   Breathing dream-lyrics in moon-measures rich.

Night holds me with a horror of the grave
   That knows not poetry, nor song, nor you;
Nor leaves of love that down the ages wave
   Romance and fire in burnished cloths of blue.

Oh bury me in books, and I'll not mind
   The cold, slow worms that coil around my head;
Since my lone soul may turn the page and find
   The lines you wrote to me, when I am dead.

First published in The Bulletin, 1 March 1917

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2011 is the previous archive.

April 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en