Emus by Mary E. Fullerton

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My annals have it so:
A thing my mother saw
Near eighty years ago
With happiness and awe.

Along a level hill --
A clearing in wild space;
And night's last tardy chill
Yet damp on morning's face.

Sight never to forget:
Solemn against the sky
In stately silhouette
Ten emus stalking by.

One after one they went
In line. and without haste:
On their unknown intent,
Ten emus grandly paced.

She, used to hedged-in fields,
Watched them go filing past
Into the great bush wilds
Silent and vast.

Sudden that hour she knew
That this far place was good,
This mighty land and new,
For the soul's hardihood;

For hearts that love the strange
That carry wonder:
The bush the hills the range,
And the dark flats under.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 August 1944;
and later in
Australian Poetry, 1946 edited by T. Inglis Moore,1947;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry edited by Les Murray, 1986;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
The Turning Wave: Poems and Songs of Irish Australia edited by Colleen Burke and Vincent Woods, 2001;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

Author: Mary Elizabeth Fullerton (1868-1946) was born in Glenmaggie, Victoria, and was mainly home and self-educated.  By the 1890s she was living in Melbourne and working as a journalist.  She was an active supporter of the suffrage movement, the Victorian Socialist Party and the Women's Political Association.  In 1922 she moved to England where she lived until her death in 1946.

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

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 9, 2011 7:03 AM.

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