Land I Love! by Louise Mack

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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

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 16, 2011 8:30 AM.

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