Mates by Mary Hannay Foott

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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

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 24, 2011 8:42 AM.

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