The Austral "Light!" by Harry "Breaker" Morant

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We were standing by the fireside at the pub. one wintry night,
Drinking grog and "pitching fairies" while the lengthening hours took flight,
And a stranger there was present, one who seemed quite city-bred --
There was little showed about him to denote him "mulga fed."

For he wore a four-inch collar, tucked-up pants, and boots of tan --
You might take him for a new-chum or a Sydney-city man --
But in spite of cuff and collar, Lord! he gave himself away
When he cut and rubbed a pipe-full, and had filled his colored clay!

For he never asked for matches -- - although in that boozing band
There was more than one man standing with a match-box in his hand;
And I knew him for a bushman 'spite his tailor-made attire
As I saw him stoop and fossick for a fire-stick from the fire.

And that mode of weed ignition to my memory brought back
The long nights when nags were hobbled on a far North-Western track:
Recalled camp fires in the timber, when the stars shone big and bright,
And we learnt the matchless virtues of a glowing gidgee light.

And I thought of piny sand-ridges! --- and somehow I could swear
That this tailor-made young johnnie had at one time been "out there"!
And as he blew the white ash from the tapering, glowing coal --
Faith! my heart went out towards him for a kindred country soul!

First published in The Bulletin, 19 June 1897, and again in the same magazine on 23-30 December 1980;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant: His 'Ventures and Verses by Breaker Morant, 1902
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 19, 2011 9:09 AM.

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