The River Road by Ella McFadyen

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With the cut hill rising over,
   And the gully drop below,
Where the surly, burly drover
   Or the trudging swagmen go,
Or the teamster with his load,
      And the bell-birds high are calling,
      And the echoes falling, falling
   Down the winding River Road.

Or perhaps some country maiden,
   In her finery arrayed,
Or the bullocks, heavy-laden,
   Pausing briefly in the shade,
Ere he driver plies the goad,
      And the morning air is bringing
      Tidings of an axe-blade ringing
   Down the dusty River Road.

Here at noon a picnic party
   Spread their hamper on the grass,
With a greeting free and hearty
   For the travellers as they pass,
In the ready country mode;
      And the hills grow blue and hazy,
      And the hot air still and lazy,
   By the rutted River Road.

Then the evening shades caressing,
   Slowly down the hill-side creep,
Breathing sorely as a blessing,
   To the gully dark and deep,
Place of shadowy abode;
      Then the children come, returning.
      From some bush-built shrine of learning,
   Singing down the River Road.

Sinks the sun, red lances falling
   'Twixt the silhouetted trees,
And the plaintive plovers, calling,
   Blend their evening minstrelsies;
Rest, my pilgrims, shed your load,
      What is life beyond a passing?
      A dispensing, an amassing?
   And our path the River Road.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 27 June 1906

Author reference site: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 27, 2011 8:08 AM.

The Whaler's Pig by E. J. Brady was the previous entry in this blog.

Shearing Shed Echoes by Henry O'Donnell is the next entry in this blog.

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