October 2011 Archives

The Digger's Song by Barcroft Boake

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Scrape the bottom of the hole: gather up the stuff!
   Fossick in the crannies, lest you leave a grain behind!
Just another shovelful and that'll be enough-
   Now we'll take it to the bank and see what we can find...
      Give the dish a twirl around!
      Let the water swirl around!
Gently let it circulate -- there's music in the swish
      And the tinkle of the gravel,
      As the pebbles quickly travel
Around in merry circles on the bottom of the dish.

Ah, if man could wash his life -- if he only could!
   Panning off the evil deeds, keeping but the good:
What a mighty lot of diggers' dishes would be sold!
   Though I fear the heap of tailings would be greater than the gold ...
      Give the dish a twirl around!
      Let the water swirl around!
Man's the sport of circumstance however he may wish.
      Fortune! are you there now?
      Answer to my prayer now-
Drop a half-ounce nugget in the bottom of the dish.

Gently let the water lap!  Keep the corners dry!
   That's about the place the gold will generally stay.
What was the bright particle that just then caught my eye?
   I fear me by the look of things 'twas only yellow clay...
      Just another twirl around!
      Let the water swirl around!
That's the way we rob the river of its golden fish...
      What's that? ... Can't we snare a one?
      Don't say that there's ne'er a one!...
Bah! there's not a colour in the bottom of the dish.

First published in The Bulletin, 31 October, 1891
and later in
Where the Dead Men Lie and Other Poems by Barcroft Boake, 1897;
Silence into Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse compiled by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Les Murray, 1986;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
An Australian Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002;
Barcroft Boake: Collected Works, Edited, with a Life edited by W. F. Refshauge, 2007; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

The Lad Who Started Out by John Shaw Neilson

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October and the shining air put wondrous thoughts in him;
And he could fight and climb and ride, and he could shoot and swim;
The baby was about him yet, but a mystic fever ran   
In the little lad who started out one day to be a man.

Tempting and fair, two furlongs off, there rose the forest green,
Where the subtle bees had hid their home; but the river ran between.
Out of a gaudy dandelion a whispering pirate flew,    
And the fever spoke to the dear lad, and told him what to do.

Ay, 'twas a madness of the heart! but of the kind that goes
With the kingly men and conquerors, wherever red blood shows.  
A thousand fathers stormed in him and drove him in his dream:
Quickly he cast his clothes aside, and walked into the stream.    

The babe's blue was on his eye, and the yellow on his hair,
Proudly he held the good broad chin that all the heroes bear.
But, oh! too high and wide and strong the snow-fed river ran
For the little lad who started out one day to be a man.

Ah, madly comes the taste of him in coats the children wear,
And the red caps of the toddlers, and ruddy legs and bare,
The pirates whispering in the gold say grievous things of him.
And the leaves along the sunshine laugh, because he could not swim.

There is a woman, sweet and kind, a woman, calm and grey,
And her eyes have love for little lads, in all their boisterous play.
She says "So was his merry heart, so was his pretty chin;
My sorrow must run out and out, for I dare not keep it in."

But when the snow-fed waters come, and the yellow's in the air,
She looks not long on the blue sky, for his his eyes are there.
Oh, the yellow had not left his head when all her tears began
For the little lad who started out one day to be a man.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 1926;
and later in
Hell and After: Four Early English-Language Poets edited by Les Murray, 2005.

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

See also.

Grey-Eye: A Bleating by Will Lawson

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(Overheard in Rose Bay Tram.)

Grey-eye fritters love away
   To hapless ones who woo her;
Grey-eye smiles at what they say,
   Content that they pursue her.
Grey eyes smile -- that is all:
Yet could Love wish a sweeter pall?

Grey-eye smiles when each has said
   Whats ense forbade him tell her;
Grey-eye smiles when love is dead,
   And pique and hate repel her.
Grey eyes smiles -- and yet grow old
While the same old tale is told!

Grey-eye, will you come and play
   On shining sands with me-ee?
Grey-eye, smile not when I say
   What I so long to be-ee!
Grey-eye in the moonlight stroll
Near the languid waters' roll...
         Will yer?  Ah -- do!

First published in The Bulletin, 29 October 1898

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

My Mate Bill by Ironbark (G. Herbert Gibson)

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That's his saddle on the tie-beam, an' them's his spurs up there
On the wall-plate over yonder, you kin see's they ain't a pair.
The "daddy" of all the stockmen as ever come must'rin here --
Killed in the flamin' mallee, yardin' a scrub-bred steer!

They say as he's gone to Heaven, an' shook off his worldly cares,
But I can't sight Bill in a halo set up on three blinded hairs.
In Heaven! what next, I wonder, for strike me pink an' blue,
I savey what in thunder they'll find for Bill to do.

He'd never make one o' them angels with faces as white as chalk,
All wool to the toes, like hoggets, an' wings like a eagle 'awk;
He couldn't 'arp for apples, his voice 'as tones as jarred,
An' he'd no more ear than a bald-faced bull, or calves in a brandin'-yard.

He could sit on a buckin' brumbie like a nob in an easy cheer,
An' chop his name with a green-hide fall on the flank of flyin' steer,
He could show the saints in glory the way that a fall should drop,
But, sit on a throne? -- not William -- unless they could make it "prop."

If the Heav'nly hosts got "boxed" now, as mobs most always will,
Why, who'd cut 'em out like William, or draft on the camp like Bill?
An 'orseman 'ud find it awkward, at first, with a push that flew,
But, blame my cats, if I knows what else they'll find for Bill to do.

He mightn't freeze to the seraphs, or chum with the cherubim,
But if ever them seraph-johnnies get "pokin' it," like, at him,
Well if there's hide in Heaven, an' silk for to make a lash,
He'll yard the lot in the Jasper Lake in a blinded lightnin'-flash!

It's hard if there ain't no cattle, but p'raps they'll let him sleep,
An' wake him up at the Judgment for to draft then goats an' sheep.
It's playin' it low on William, but p'rhaps he'll buckle-to,
Just to show them high-toned seraphs what a mallee-man kin do.

If they saddles a big-boned angel -- with a turn o speed, of course --
As can spiel like a four-year brumbie, an prep like an old camp-horse,
If they puts Bill up with a snaffle, an' a four or five-inch spur,
An' eighteen foot o' green-hide for to chop the blinded fur,
He'll draft them blamed angoras in a way, it's safe to swear,
As'll make them toney seraphs sit back on their thrones an' stare.

First published
in The Bulletin, 28 October 1893 and in the same magazine on 23-30 December 1986;
and later in
The Sun (Kalgoorlie), 20 May 1900;
The Southern Cross Times, 1 December 1900;
Old Bush Songs: Composed and Sung in the Bushranging, Digging and Overlanding Days edited by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson, 1905;
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore edited by Bill Scott, 1976;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987; and
On the Track with Bill Bowyang: With Australian Bush Recitations edited by Dawn Anderson, 1991-1992.

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Spring Rejuvenation by Zora Cross

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O meadows, flower again! O wild birds, sing!
So I may tell you how bright ye be, how sweet!
O sea, splash up your spray at my lone feet   
So I may sing and some small comfort bring
To him who cannot bridge imagining,  
Who cannot see, who cannot hear, wind-fleet,      
The chargers of the morning once more beat     
Mad music from their very hooves for spring.
O let me tell how now the sap is up,
And every living thing, with promise stirred,   
Trembles to exquisite adventures new,
As the fresh gold of the first buttercup      
Till, heart of me, the very earth's a bird
Beating glad wings tumultuous in the blue.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 October 1928

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Something New by Ethel Turner

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There's something new at our house; I'm s'prised you didn't know it.
It makes papa awful proud, although he hates to show it.
The thing is not so very big, but money couldn't buy it;  
If any fellow thinks it could, I'd like to see him try it.

It's half a dozen things at once -- a dove, a love, a flower;
Mamma calls it a hundred names, and new ones every hour;  
It is a little music-box with tunes for every minute;  
You haven't got one at your house, and so you are not in it.

It puckers up its wee, wee mouth, as if it meant to whistle;
A gold mine weighed against it then were lighter than a thistle;
Papa said so the other night; I thought it sounded splendid,
And said it to myself until I fell asleep and ended.

Of course you've guessed it by this time, our gift that came from heaven --
Mamma declared the darling thing was by the angels given;
But then some folks are very slow, and some are stupid, maybe.
I ought to say, right straight and plain, come home and see our baby.

First published in Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 October 1895

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Fellowship by Emily Bulcock

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Drink from my cup of life, O burdened brother,
   Tho' sorrow's dregs be mine, yet at the rim
There's sweet enough for sharing with another.
   While thine holds only bitter to the brim,
And while I yield the sparkling sweets to thee,
Less bitter are the last dark dregs for me.

Drink from my full, rich cup, thirsty wayfarer,
   Whose cup is empty both of joy and grief.
Come, share my feast, and life, the brave cupbearer,
   Will bring a draught to give thy thirst relief.
But know, while sharing that mixed cup with me,
Some bitter in its fellowship must be.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 October 1930

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

High Country by Ella McFadyen

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Ever the crag and heather
   Were carpet to our feet;
How should I love the lowland airs,
   Or the clamour of the street?

Ever our ears had music
   Of the engirdling seas --
The old race of my father's house
   In the misty Hebrides.

Grant then the scarred hill's forehead
   Against a sweep of sky,
The flow'r-starred waste of lifted heath,
   And one bird wheeling high.

(Grey boulders of Kuring-gai,
   Bluff heads of Broken Bay),
The wind's tread and the sea's blue rim,
   The free, long, golden day.

And no song save the silence,
   Too rapt for praise or tears,
To soothe the clamant voice that calls
   Across a thousand years.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 October 1931

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Singer by George Essex Evans

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She sang of Hope, of happy days,
   Of glorious spring and summer's prime;
Softer than old-time minstrels' lays
   Uprose that melody sublime.

She sang of Faith, of firm resolve,
   Of strong unwavering constancy;
To trust and live till death should solve
   The problem of life's mystery.

She sang of Death -- that spectre grim --
   Of pain, and age, and faltering gait;
Of eyes once bright, now faint and dim;
   Of hearths and homes made desolate.

She sang of Love; and as she sang
   Her colour came and went again;
No words can tell how clearly rang
   The cadence of that sweet refrain.

She sang no more; for on that night
   There came a shadow and a gloom
Which hid the singer from our sight,
   And hung around a darkened room.

And now she sings where angels sing
   A nobler song in spheres above;
Where Death no more can enter in,
   And Hope and Faith are lost in Love.

But from the echoes of the past
   Her voice comes ringing back again,
To tell the hearts who knew her last
   That Hope and Faith and Love remain.

First published in The Queenslander, 23 October 1886

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

See also.

Footfalls by Henry Kendall

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The embers were blinking and clinking away --
   The casement half open was thrown;
There was nothing but cloud on the skirts of the day;
   And I sat in the threshold alone!

And said to the river, which flowed by my door
   With its beautiful face to the hill,
"I have waited and waited, all wearied and sore,
   But my love is a wanderer still!"

And said to the wind, as it paused in its flight
   To look through the shivering pane,
"There are memories moaning and homeless to night,
   That can never be tranquil again!"

And said to the woods, as their burdens were borne
   With a flutter and sigh to the caves,
"They are wrinkled and wasted, and tattered and torn,
   And we too have our withering leaves!"

Did I hear a low echo of footfalls about;
   Whilst watching those forest-trees stark!
Or was it a dream that I hurried without,
   To clutch at, and grapple the dark?  

In the Shadow I stood for a moment and spake --
   "Bright thing, that was loved in the past,
"Oh ! am I asleep - or abroad and awake?
   And are you so near me at last?  

"Oh! roamer from lands where the vanished years go,
   Oh! waif from those mystical zones,
Come here where I long for you broken and low
   On the mosses and watery stones!

"Come out of your silence, and tell me if life
   Is so fair in that world as they say;
Was it worth all this yearning, and weeping, and strife,
   When you left it behind you to-day?  

"Will it end all this watching, and doubting, and dread?
   Do these sorrows die out with our breath?
Will they pass from our souls, like a nightmare," I said,
   "While we glide through the mazes of death?"

"Come out of that darkness, and teach me the lore
   You have learnt since I looked on your face;
By the summers that blossomed and faded of yore --
   By the lights which have fled to that place!

"You answer me not, when I know that you could --
When I know that you could, and you should;
   Though the storms are abroad on the wave;
Though the rain droppeth down with a wail to the wood,
   And my heart is as cold as your grave!"

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 1861;
and later in
Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle, 11 January 1862;
The Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, 27 May 1862;
Poems and Songs by Henry Kendall, 1862; and
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966.

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

See also.

South of Gabo by E. J. Brady

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The young gales hatch below the Snares;
   As fledglings wild, uncouth,
A fierce Antarctic dam prepares
   Their flight of fear and ruth.

From icy nests on crags forlorn,
   And bergs and glaciers bold,
They flutter forth, for aye to mourn
   Their birthplace lorn and cold.

Full-pinioned, at the Tasman Sea,
   They leave along the crests,
In shrieking, loud, witch revelry,
   White feathers from their breasts.

They scream around the lonely isles
   Like sad-voiced restless things
That sweep perforce the darkened miles
   With strong, far-spreading wings.

From Wilson's up to cloud-capped Howe
   Their giant playground lies,
When on each spray-drenched harbor brow
   The "Stand-off" signal flies.

Then South of Gabo watch and ware
   The shipmen as they go;
For o'er the hummocks, whitely bare,
   The cutting sand-drifts blow;

And cruel rock-knives, hidden, wait
   With edges sharp as steel,
Along a coast of Evil Fate,
   Each doomed shore-driven keel.

Here lie the dead ships one by one;
   Out here the surges croon
The Federal to her rest-place gone,
   The sunken Ly-ee-moon.

Long kelp and seaweed, through the curl
   Of combers all agleam,
The floating hair of some drowned girl
   In waving tresses seem.

Here, graved beneath the golden sands
   And iridescent shell,
Lost sailors out of distant lands,
   Unsought, are sleeping well.

But South of Gabo, when those strong
   And wayward winds are done,
'Tis all a deep, harmonious song
   Of Sea and Land and Sun.

The little cutters spread their wings,
   From Eden to Cape Schanck.
The coaster's rusty framework rings
   The hymn of rod and crank.

The ketches, leaving in their wake
   An odor of benzine,
With quick explosions noisy take
   Their way across the green.

With wattle-bark and fish and maize,
   From five to twenty tons,
The midget fleet goes down the bays,
   And seaward, daring, runs.

With seasoned crews, of twos and threes,
   To handle wheel and sheet,
Steal up and down the changing seas,
   The fathers of our fleet.

Hard-fisted, lean Australians these
   Who know the fickle bars,
The soundings and the mysteries
   Of clouds and tides and stars.

When South of Gabo roars the brood
   Of all the gales of Hell,
They --- long before --- for shelter stood
   And anchored safe and well.

But here and there along the coast,
   Sea-worn and salt with foam,
Old wreckage gives the brood to boast
   Of ships that came not home.

Oh, South of Gabo --- where the Heel
   Of All Australia stands,
Their hearts are like the tested steel,
   And iron are their hands.

And South of Gabo --- where no ease
   Of Capricorn they ken,
Is bred by rougher shores and seas,
   A stronger race of men.

From South of Gabo yet may track
   By sea-trail sternly forth,
The men who'll hurl Invasion back,
   Defeated, from the North.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 October 1909;
and later in
Bells and Hobbles by E.J. Brady, 1911

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

See also.

A Voice from the Town by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

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I thought, in the days of the droving,
   Of steps I might hope to retrace,
To be done with the bush and the roving
   And settle once more in my place.
With a heart that was well nigh to breaking,
   In the long, lonely rides on the plain,
I thought of the pleasure of taking
   The hand of a lady again.

I am back into civilisation,
   Once more in the stir and the strife,
But the old joys have lost their sensation --
   The light has gone out of my life;
The men of my time they have married,
   Made fortunes or gone to the wall;
Too long from the scene I have tarried,
   And, somehow, I'm out of it all.

For I go to the balls and the races
   A lonely companionless elf,
And the ladies bestow all their graces
   On others less grey than myself;
While the talk goes around I'm a dumb one
   'Midst youngsters that chatter and prate,
And they call me "the Man who was Someone
   Way back in the year Sixty-eight."

And I look, sour and old, at the dancers
   That swing to the strains of the band,
And the ladies all give me the Lancers,
   No waltzes -- I quite understand.
For matrons intent upon matching
   Their daughters with infinite push,
Would scarce think him worthy the catching,
   The broken-down man from the bush.

New partners have come and new faces,
   And I, of the bygone brigade,
Sharply feel that oblivion my place is --
   I must lie with the rest in the shade.
And the youngsters, fresh-featured and pleasant,
   They live as we lived -- fairly fast;
But I doubt if the men of the present
   Are as good as the men of the past.

Of excitement and praise they are chary,
   There is nothing much good upon earth;
Their watchword is NIL ADMIRARI,
   They are bored from the days of their birth.
Where the life that we led was a revel
   They "wince and relent and refrain" --
I could show them the road -- to the devil,
   Were I only a youngster again.

I could show them the road where the stumps are
   The pleasures that end in remorse,
And the game where the Devil's three trumps are,
   The woman, the card, and the horse.
Shall the blind lead the blind -- shall the sower
   Of wind reap the storm as of yore?
Though they get to their goal somewhat slower,
   They march where we hurried before.

For the world never learns -- just as we did,
   They gallantly go to their fate,
Unheeded all warnings, unheeded
   The maxims of elders sedate.
As the husbandman, patiently toiling,
   Draws a harvest each year from the soil,
So the fools grow afresh for the spoiling,
   And a new crop of thieves for the spoil.

But a truce to this dull moralising,
   Let them drink while the drops are of gold,
I have tasted the dregs -- 'twere surprising
   Were the new wine to me like the old;
And I weary for lack of employment
   In idleness day after day,
For the key to the door of enjoyment
   Is Youth -- and I've thrown it away.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 October 1894
and later in
The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson, 1895;
The Collected Verse of A.B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1982;
Singer of the Bush, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson: Complete Works 1885-1900 compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1983; and
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1990.

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

See also.

Trees Against a Distant Sky by Phyllis Gurney Wright

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I have a garden where delphiniums grow
   In rows of slender blue, and at their feet
Like pools of liquid colour pansies show
   Their wondering faces, velvety and sweet.

Not once have I stood where my zinnias glow,
   Nor sought the shadows when the sun was high,
But deep within some wild thing bids me go
   Where gum-trees wave against a distant sky.

Where gum-trees wave against the sky, and where
   In delicate profusion spreading ferns
Throw dappled shade on moss and maidenhair,
   With artistry a man's hand never learns.

A man's hand places one thing here, not there,
   And Nature laughs and says not there, but here.
My garden shows an artificial care,
   Has calculated each thing far, or near.

But when life's farthest mile-stone I have passed,
   And in some quiet, curtained room I lie,
Then shall I ask to see, of all things last
   The distant gum-trees wave against the sky.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 1929

Author: nothing is known about the author of this poem

Author reference site: Austlit

Australian Poets #29 - Will Lawson

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will lawson.jpg

William Lawson (1876-1957)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Dream of McHaggis by W.T. Goodge

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McHaggis was a person wise;
   An import merchant who
Embraced his opportunities,
   As most importers do.
A champion he of foreign trade,
   Like others of his school,
Who thought Australian only made
   For growing wheat and wool.

The harvesters which he'd import
   At thirty pounds apiece
Were of the new elastic sort
   Whose values soon increase!
For, when he got them safe ashore,
   Surprising as it sounds,
He'd lose by selling them, he swore,
   At less than sixty pounds!

McHaggis had a dream one night,
   A very horrid dream,
And one that filled his soul with fright
   And made him long to scream.
He dreamt a statesman ruled the land,
   A man of graver kind,
A statesman of high courage and
   Napoleonic mind.

That statesman asked the Parliament
   To say Mac, at the most,
Must sell his goods at ten per cent.
   Above the import cost;
Or else the goods in question would
  At once be confiscate,
And that the cute McHaggis should
   Deal fairly with the State!

McHaggis woke! The jarring chord
   He could not straight perceive;
And then he murmured: "Praise the Lord,
   I still have power to thieve!"

     *     *     *     *     *
Oh, gentle reader, do not scoff
   At this wild theme I've found,
For there are any number of
   McHaggises around!  

First published in The Bulletin, 18 October 1906

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

The Dying Wife by Mabel Forrest

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I did not want that you should tire of me,
   That I should each day see the shadow grow,
   That all I used to be I still might know,
Feeling I was not as of yore to thee.

I did not want to see your eyes meet mine
   And then pass quickly, caring not to rest
   One moment on me, just to catch the best
Of Love's replying, that would answer thine.

I did not want to live to sea you fall
   Into indifference of my smile or frown;
   I did not want pale Pity bending down
In place of Love, that once was over all.

'Twere not enough of comfort, knowing this,
   No other was before me in your heart,
   No other life could thrust our lives apart,
No other lips would quiver to your kiss.

And because all you strove for is your own,
   The worth must leave the prize for which you strove,
   "'Tis only foolishness"; what once was Love,   
It was not worth the winning, now 'tis won,

Yet unwise I to blame, unwise to cry
   To-day a secret that the world has known.
   Forgive me, dear; when you are left alone
Think not of what I said -- not bitterly.

But ah! prophetic heart! and so I die,
   Not much regretting, while you are unchanged;  
   'Twere harder to have lived with Love estranged,
To feel that custom held you, and not I.

And I shall go while yet your eager hand
   Is stretched to hold me, longs to keep me there,
   Loves still to smooth with trembling touch my hair,
And all my feebleness can understand.

Ah! weep not ! Do you think that I could bear
   Never to hear one note of unasked praise,
   Never to feel, as in the dear dead days,
That I was something greater by your care?

No, let me go. Man-like, you cannot see
   Beyond, as I can see, the passion pale;
   See how I strive to tell, and how you fail
To understand, what once was life to thee!

What profit then to think "I had my day;
   He lay there gladly, even at my feet"?
   The bitter in that knowledge kills the sweet,
Feeling how very much has passed away.

How long abides the truth of heart to heart?
   Good-bye, dear. This is not the hardest thing;
   Fresh hope to you unfettered years will bring,
And you will love me, now, until we part!

First published in The Queenslander, 17 October 1896

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Bush Night by Furnley Maurice

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On either hand
The gums like bowed monks stand;
The night's deep blue
Shines like a staunch faith through.

When over this shaken blue
   Comes the moon's encrusted light,
Whatever I want to do
   Seems right.

First published in The Bulletin, 16 October 1929;
and later in
The Gully and Other Verses by Furnley Maurice, and
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Camp Within the West by Roderic Quinn

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O did you see a troop go by    
Way-weary and oppressed,    
Dead kisses on the drooping lip    
And a dead heart in the breast?    
Yea, I have seen them one by one
Way-weary and oppressed,   
And when I asked them, "Whither speed?"
They answered, "To the West!"

And were they pale as pale could be ---   
Death-pale with haunted eyes,
And did you see the hot white dust   
Range round their feet and rise?   
O, they were pale as pale could be,   
And pale as an embered leaf;   
The hot white dust had risen, but
They laid it with their grief.
Did no one say the way is long,   
And crave a little rest?   
O no, they said, "The night is nigh,   
Our camp is in the West!"

And did pain pierce their feet, as though   
The way with thorns were set,   
And were they visited by strange   
Dark angels of regret?   
Oh yes, and some were mute as death,
Though shot by many a dart,   
With them the salt of inward tears   
Went stinging through the heart. 
And how are these wayfarers called,   
And whither do they wend?
The Weary-Hearted --- and their road   
At sunset hath an end.
Shed tears for them ... Nay, nay, no tears
They yearn for endless rest;   
Perhaps large stars will burn above
Their camp within the West.
First published in The Bulletin, 15 October 1898 and in the same magazine on 29 December 1900 and 29 January 1930;
and later in
The Lone Hand, 1 April 1908;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
A Girdle of Song: By Poets of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Eire, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa edited by Edith M. Fry, 1944; and
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964.

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

See also.

A Drug in the Market by Garnet Walch

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I stood in the street in the noontide, precisely at midday time,
For the loud-mouthed bells of the G.P.O. had that moment ceased to chime
(I trust to the public dial, since the lever I used to wear,
The one cousin Amy gave me, my uncle has --- to repair).

Well, I stood in the street in the noontide, a breakfastless, lunchless wight,
No prospect of dinner before me, no hope of a bed for the night;
And I railed in good Anglo-Saxon at the luck which had brought me out
To seek that Australian fortune I'd dreamed so often about.

Thus I stood in the street in the noontide, heart, stomach,and pocket void,
A seedy but well-dressed loafer, respectably unemployed;
And I heard what was meant for music, and the rhythmical tramp of feet,
And many a blazoned banner I saw far down the street.

And up the street in the noontide, with the painfully solemn air
Which your Briton in full enjoyment is proverbially known to wear,
There trooped in the glory of broadcloth some hundreds of well-fed men,
With a score of aforesaid banners, and bands --- well, I counted ten.

Up, up that street in the noontide, like ants on their native hill,
These sorrowful revellers swarmed along at a pace that could hardly kill;
And the banners swayed in the sunshine as their bearers staggered beneath,
And the whole ten bands played different tunes, till I thought I should shed, my teeth.

Then I said to my next-hand neighbour, a citizen hale and stout,
"Pray pardon a new chum's wonder, but what is this all about?
Whose obsequies do we assist at; whom, whom do we follow round,
And oh? why are these mixed harmonics, these Gordian knots of sound?"

Unto which I received as answer, "A funeral! that be -- well?
It's the Height-Hour Demonstration, as any but Fools could tell,
It's the workmen of Melbourne city, they're a marching 'and in 'and,
All joining for self-protection, in one united band--."

Then the band that is so united, though severed by ten bands more,
Passes out of my sight and hearing as it turns by the White Hart door;
And my scornful neighbour in going, of his own free will, exclaims,
"They're off to the S'cieties' Gardens, t' enjoy their sports and games."

But I stand at the corner-kerbing, as loafers are wont to do,
And chew the cud of reflection, which is all I have to chew;
And I use some more Anglo-Saxon, of the strongest kind that's made,
The burden being translated, "Why wasn't I taught a trade?"

For these cornumanous parties, these eight-hour working bees,
Make honey (for "h" read "m" there), and sip its sweets at ease;
And with them the ancient adage acquires this reading new,
That "Jack's as good as his master, and a great deal better too!"

Ah yes! they are truly blessed, these octohoral gents,
Though their tipple in hardly Moet, and their ballrooms are but tents;
They can pay their way if they're careful, and, free from trouble and debt,
Can pity worse-off betters, fast trammelled by clique and set.

'Tis sweeter to spend a shilling that can purchase one homely smile
Than to buy up the sneers of the many by paying for spurious style,
As is done by those tinselled tilters who so often salute the ground
From astride of their counterfeit chargers in society's merry-go-round.

Pour moi --- self-imported, unordered, my chances must needs be small ---
I'm too heavily advaloremed to find a market at all.
Education and English polish are very unsaleable stuff --
The men that are wanted in Melbourne must be sent out here in the rough.

Perhaps if I gained experience of the sort that's colonial-made.
I might worship the charms of Protection, and learn to abhor Free Trade;
But, ad interim, comes starvation, and I feel I am hardly fit
To study political problems, while in want of a threepenny bit---.

As thus I was standing a-musing, on aught but amusing themes,
The chimes called the faithful to luncheon, and rudely dispelled my dreams;
And my irrepressible stomach reasserted its right to yearn,
So I started off at a tangent, for my thoughts took a practical turn.

I followed the Austral workman through the "golden afternoon,"
To the scene of his innocent revels, where his bands played out of tune;
And I promised a Celtic contractor to curry him bricks in a hod,
For a note a week and my tracker, and a half-a-crown down --- thank God!

First published in Australian Town and Country Journal, 14 October 1882;
and later in
A Little Tin Plate by Garnet Walch, 1881;
A Century of Australian Song edited by Douglas W. Sladen, 1888;
The Poet's Discovery: Nineteenth Century Australia in Verse edited by Richard Douglas Jordon and Peter Pierce.

Author: Garnet Walch (1843-1913) was born in Broadmarsh, Tasmania, in 1843.  After the death of his father in 1852, Walch travelled to England to complete his education there, and in Germany.  He returned to Australia in his late teens and finally settled in Sydney.  He wrote for a number of newspapers and was appointed editor of the Cumberland Mercury in 1867. In the early 1870s he began writing drama scripts for the stage and eventually moved to Melbourne in 1872.  Until his retirement in 1897 Walch was mainly known for his theatrical work, either writing original works or adaptations of novels by other writers.  He died in Surrey Hills in Melbourne in 1913.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Andy's Gone With Cattle by Henry Lawson

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Our Andy's gone to battle now
   'Gainst Drought, the red marauder;
Our Andy's gone with cattle now
   Across the Queensland border.

He's left us in dejection now;
   Our hearts with him are roving.
It's dull on this selection now --
   Since Andy went a-droving.

Who now shall wear the cheerful face
   In times when things are slackest?
And who shall whistle round the place
   When Fortune frowns her blackest?

Oh, who shall cheek the squatter now
   When he comes round us snarling?
His tongue is growing hotter now
   Since Andy cross'd the Darling.

The gates are out of order now,
   Each wind the riders rattle;
For far far across the border now
   Our Andy's gone with cattle.

Poor Aunty's looking thin and white;
   And Uncle's cross with worry;
And poor old "Blucher" howls all night
   Since Andy left Macquarie.

Oh, may the showers in torrents fall,
   And all the dams run over;
And may the grass grow green and tall
  In pathways of the drover!

And may good angels send the rain
   On desert stretches sandy;
And when the summer comes again
   God grant 'twill bring us Andy.

First published in Australian Town And Country Journal, 13 October 1888, and again in the same newspaper on 1 December 1888, 13 July 1889, and 18 November 1903;
and later in
The Bulletin, 22 February 1896;
In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1900;
Songs from Lawson by Henry Lawson, 1957;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Poems of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1973;
Australia Fair: Poems and Paintings edited by Douglas Stewart, 1974;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
Henry Lawson: An Illustrated Treasury compiled by Glenys Smith, 1985;
The Bushwackers Australian Song Book edited by Jan Wositzky and Dobe Newton, 1988;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
A Treasury of Bush Verse by G. A. Wilkes, 1991;
Australian Bush Poems, 1991;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss,  1993;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1996; and
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

Harbingers by Kathleen Dalziel

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Hushed in the quiet evening, and the earth lies listening,
Hearing the first faint urge that ushers forth the southern spring.

Softer and sweeter grow the cloudy airs at west's green gate,
And through the light a lovely promise stirs "She'll not be late."

In the high boughs, above the budding clover, out in the cold,
I heard a thrush courageous trying over his notes of gold.

And the wind-bent company of wattle trees fling out abroad
Beneath the fugitive stars the fragrant keys of memory's hoard.  

There is a poem unwritten, a song unsung, and a prayer unsaid,
And music all unheard, sweet bells unswing above and overhead.

Hushed in the quiet eve, the low winds sough and the light boughs sway,
And the waiting earth whispers: "She is not now so very far away."

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 12 October 1929

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Moonlight by Alice Ham

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"Oh! Luna, you whose pallid face
   Bends from the walls of Heaven serenely blue;
What sorrows have you witnessed as our race
   Has lifted claspèd hands or tear-wet eyes to you?"

"Hush! I have answer sweeter than your quest:--  
   I am a thought of God; in ancient night
My fires burned ont, for such was Love's behest.
   Life died in me that you might have my light!"

First published in The Queenslander, 11 October 1890

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Winnowing by Will M. Fleming

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The new-crowned Queen looked out across the seas,
Her tresses fanned by springtime scented breeze,
Her shell-pink feet upon her golden sands,
A rainbow-tinted hour-glass in her hands.

A whisper creeping midst the listening throng,
Like some false measure breathing through a song,
Catches her ear and tarnishes her pride,
"The breath of doubt! My people will divide.

"Those who hate England with such bitter hate
As blurs all judgment; those who fear their fate;
Those who would creep as menials through life
Rather than win as men their way through strife.

"Who, petulant, beside the highways lie
And watch the busy stream of life go by;
To whose glazed eyes a dragon fly anear
Is greater than an eagle high and clear.

"Those, for such be, I call not. These I call:
Who for my honour would lay down their all,
Who see their duty, in whose hearts there lives
Something of thanks for all that England gives.

"Who, now, will keep my shores inviolate
And stay the murderer ere it be too late?
Life, treasure, all I claim, swiftly decide.
Who hesitates? My people will divide."

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October 1916

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Doherty's Corner by Marie E. J. Pitt

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There's no bush today at Doherty's Corner,
   Only strange green hills and the glint of a far bay;
Time has come like a thief and stolen the wonder
   And magic of Yesterday.

There are no fairies now at Doherty's Corner,
   Where dusky spider-orchids and wild white daisies grew;
Time that stilled the heart of the singing forest
   Has stolen her fairies too.

Henderson's hill is green at Doherty's Corner,
   But no fairy trips in the dawn or the dusk thereon,
Perhaps they died when the old black log and the bracken
   And the box bushes were gone.

They only lived, maybe, in a child's dreaming,
   For children walk in a twilit world of their own,
And the grown folk were ever too wise to listen
   To pipes by the fairies blown.

They used to say it was wind and the bees thrumming
   Through billows of bean blossom as white as driven foam;
But I knew it was not the wind or the brown bees humming
   Heavily hiving home;

For I had heard such music there by the river
   When never a reed-head rustled and every sense was a-leap --
Under the darkened hillside .... the little people
   Singing the world to sleep!

For I had heard such piping there in the low light,
   The queer half-light before the light of the moon,
All the pipes of Faëry playing together
   Down by the old lagoon.

O Green Hills, O hills with your alien faces,
   Fresh as August flowers on the grass of an old grave,
Your witch gold has gone with the fairy pipers'
   Wood-song and elfin stave!

You are sad, O ye hills, with your faces lifted,
   Lit with a young delight to the ache of the far skies!
Yea, you are sad as the faith of little children
   And the sorrow of old eyes.

There's no bush to-day at Doherty's Corner,
   No pipers will come with pipes skirling again
To dance for me on Henderson's hill in the moonlight,
   Or cry in the fairy rain.

It's a kind green land at Doherty's Corner,
   And new, fair children frolic its hills upon;
But once .... once in the years that are half forgotten ....
   Once it was Avalon.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 October 1924

Author: Marie Elizabeth Josephine Pitt (nee McKeown) (1869-1948) was born in Gippsland, Victoria, and grew up in a farming community near Bairnsdale. She married William Pitt, a miner, in 1893 and lived in Tasmania and country Victoria before settling in Melbourne.  Her husband died in 1912 and she then supported her three children by clerical work and writing for newspapers.  She lived with Bernard O'Dowd later in her life, and died in Kew, Victoria, in 1948.

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

See also.

Alienation by Emily Coungeau

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What gulf so deep, what arid desert plain,
Or dreary vastitude of ocean main,
So deep as the divide of hearts once stirred
To sweet response which only winds had heard?
The dead who live but love us now no more,
Gone are the echoes of the tones of yore;
The faces of our sighs and tears and dreams
Are cold as gleaming ice on frozen streams.
The days that were may ne'er return again,
Though each perchance has felt the aching pain;
Yet pride forbade thy wounded heart to let
Me plead; but, oh! thou never can'st forget.
'Tis Destiny's decree, and 'twere not meet
That when I see thy cold eyes I greet
Thee more -- thy burning heart 'neath snow   
Can never flame again with tender glow.   

And yet how strange that it should thus befall,
Since Love is dead, that fain we would recall
Each note that trembled on the golden lyre
Ere it lay silent on the funeral pyre.
So be it: Destiny for all sad mortals leaves
Some little grains of comfort from life's sheaves;
So, though my love be lost to me for aye,
The flowers of memory ne'er will fade away.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 8 October 1913

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Song of the Slum-Woman by Nina Murdoch

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The baby and the rubbish-tin are huddled side by side,
I'm gettin' through the washin', and the yard is not too wide;
'N' when you come to think of it, it doesn't seem quite square,
For the baby 'n' the rubbish-tin to sit together there.

Of course there's room enough for 'im to play upon the street
(Next door but one a kid got crush beneath an 'orse's feet);
'E sits quite good 'n' quiet, 'n' 'e never starts to whine
Till 'is eyes get sort of achy with the flappin' on the line.

There is 'Ospitals for Women, 'n' there's Infants 'Omes as well,
'N' the Walker Convalescent you can rest in for a spell.
It'd be a deal sight cheaper than the nurse, 'n' bed, 'n' ward
If the Council 'd provide us with a decent-sized backyard.

For there's Billy down with fever, 'n' there's Janie got sore eyes,
'N' Hector, though 'e's turned fifteen, 'e isn't any size.
Yet they fill us up with Charity in 'Ospitals 'n all!
Won't anybody tell 'em they're against a bloomin' wall?

If they's start from the beginnin' like, with rentals on the square,
'N' pull these rotten houses down, 'n' 'elp us get fresh air,
If they'd see we got conveniences -- not much, just what we need --
Why they'd have both feet on sickness, 'fore it 'ad the chance to breed!
But the baby and the rubbish-tin are huddled side by side,
I'm gettin' through the washin' and the yard is not too wide.
There's the Parliament 'n' Premier 'n' the grand Lord Mayor, too --
It kind o' sets you wond'rin' what they all intend to do!

First published in The Bulletin, 7 October 1915

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Dan Drew by C. J. Dennis

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I saw Dan Drew ride out last night;
And his steed in the moon was milky white.
   He rode like the wind on that Blackwood colt -
   A devil to shy and a brute to bolt.
A child like that!  Is the father mad
To risk the life of a tender lad?
   Has old John Drew gone raving wild
   To trust that colt with his only child?

"Dan Drew rode out at his father's call.
'Saddle the colt, and ride!'  'Twas all
   He said.  And Dan stayed not for breath;
   For a neighbor lay sick unto death;
And Dan Drew comes of the old Drew breed
That never has turned from a man in need,
   That never has shrunk from a risk - or a fight.
   That's why young Dan rode out last night."

"I saw Dan Drew ride out last night,
And his steed in the moon shone silver white.
   Galloping, galloping down the track;
   But his gait was a laggard's riding back.
Yet his eye was bright and his head was high:
'Twas a strange, soft light in that shining eye.
   Why does he ride, and where does he go,
   Out so eager and back so slow!"

"Dan Drew rides out at the call of love.
To the track below, to the stars above
   He gives small heed.  For, to greet her man,
   A girl by a slip-rail waits for Dan.
And they tell that her father says him nay.
Small odds, if a Drew should want his way.
   For a Drew can love as a Drew can fight.
   That's why Dan Drew rode out last night.

"I saw Dan Drew ride out last night,
And his steed in the moon was ghostly white.
   And ghostly white was the rider's face
   As he took the track at a frantic pace.
Aye, his face was drawn like a man's in pain,
For hill or river he drew not rein.
   Why did he ride like a man in fright,
   Galloping, galloping, into the night."

"Dan Drew rode out in hope and fear;
For Death and Joy were very near.
   Up in her chamber his young wife lay
   While he went galloping down the way ...
But Joy walks with him this smiling morn;
To another Drew is a man-child born
   To live, to ride, to love and to fight.
   That's why Dan Drew rode out last night."

"I saw Dan Drew ride out today,
His steed, in the morn's mist, old and grey;
   And grey Dan's hair, I marked as he went,
   And his head was bowed, and his back was bent.
But the light was there in his fine blue eye.
Lord!  Does the Drew breed never die?
   Yet why should he ride?  He is rich, they say.
   Why did old Dan ride out today?"

"Dan Drew rode out at the call of a friend,
Old and ailing, but staunch to the end.
   The Drews may age, but they never can change.
   A friend in trouble across the range -
Then quick to the saddle sprang old Dan Drew,
And the old grey horse, he surely knew
   As he bore him tenderly down the way.
   That's how old Dan rode out today."

"I saw Dan Drew go out today,
Slowly, solemnly down the way,
   Slowly, quietly down the track;
   And the steeds in his carriage were both coal black.
And black plumes tossed in the mountain breeze
That swept the forest; so that the trees
   Bowed at his passing.  'Twas rightly so,
   Yet why should Dan, of all men, go?

Dan Drew rode out, for his task was done,
Well was it ended, as well begun,
   Fine is the name that he leaves behind.
   And he leaves a son with the clean, straight mind
That has sweetened the forest since long years back
When the first Drew tackled the mountain track.
   Oh, men be many, but great hearts few;
   And the world's the better for good Dan Drew."

First published in The Weekly Times Annual, 6 October 1928;
and later in
The Bible of the Bush, 1869-1994: 125 Years of the Weekly Times edited by Hugh Jones, 1994.

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

An Ex-Digger's Growl by Edward Dyson

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This life is gay enough at times,
   But still it has its heavy spells,
The weary curse of slinging rhymes
   When wages, not the will, impels -
The "horrid grind" at "pointed pars.,"
   The articles with headache crammed,
The column sketch, hot off the bars,
   That "must be funny" or be damned.

My flaccid muscles seem to tweak
   To feel the windlass pull and strain,
To shake the cradle by the creek,
  And puddle at the "tom" again.
Ah! pen for pick is no poor swap
   When o'er the slides the waters flow,
A pile of half-ounce stuff on top,
   And fifty feet on wash below.

'Twas lightly left, 'tis lately mourned,
   That life in Tanner's eight-by-ten,
When coats with yellow clay adorned
   Were good enough for gentlemen,
And Sunday's best was Monday's wear,
   When Bennet gave us verse and book -
Poor Phil! a crude philospher,
   But, bless his heart, a clever cook.

A high old time we had, we three -
   Our darkest clouds with sunshine laced -
The pipeclay soft and dray at knee,
   A foot of washdirt, easy "faced,"
And one to say us aye or nay
   Did we resolved to slave or smoke -
The pan was ready with the pay
   E'en though the toil was half a joke.

'Twas good, when "spell-oh" had been said,
   To watch the white smoke curl and cling
Against the gravel roof o'erhead,
   The candles dimly flickering
And circled with a pallid glow -
   To sprawl upon the broken reef,
And pensively to pull and blow
   The fragrant incense from the leaf.

And where the torpid Wondee's tide,
   Untainted by the Stafford's sloughs,
Pellucid in its pristine pride,
  Stole sleeplessly beneath the boughs,
It was delightful toil to lay
  The dish within the flood, I ween,
And puddle off the pug and clay,
  And pan the golden prospect clean.

In hours of indolence and dream
   I swirl the old tin dish again,
And Wondee's lambent waters seem
   To lave my brow and lap my brain:
And, from the ravished hillside, come
   Faint clamours on the fitful breeze
And mingle with the crooning hum
   Of insects in the drowsy trees.

The barrels rattle on their stand,
   And in the shafts the nail-kegs swing
The short, sharp strokes of practised hands
   Are making picks and anvil ring.
The slothful echoes dally so,
   They blend with splitter's measured chop,
The cheery cry, "Look up, below!"
   The muffled call of "Heave on top!"

No piles were made on Pinafore,
   Here Nature's hoards were hard to find,
And though we skimmed the golden store,
   We left the richest stuff behind -
Contentment, freedom, careless ease,
   And friendship which - a long-felt want -
We never meet in towns like these,
   'Twas not the kind that cities haunt.

The day is done, regrets are vain,
   I cannot eat my cake once more,
The crumbs of comfort that remain
   I won't despise for feastings o'er;
The life I loved best, boy and man,
   Was digging-days by flood and field,
The galdsome graft with pick and pan,
   The pay a problem till the yield.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 October 1889

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

See also.

A Flight of Wild Ducks by Charles Harpur

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Far up the river, hark! 'tis the sharp boom,
Deadened by distance, of some Fowler's gun;
And as into the silence of the scene
The noise spreads flattening to like stillness, lo,
Far westward, laterally lengthening up
Against the open firmament, a long
Dark line comes stretching -- a vast Flight of Ducks!
Following the windings of the valley, on,
Enarging rapidly, it comes -- until
The river, reaching through a group of hills,
Leads it, a short while, out of view -- and then,
Suddenly wheeling with its course, 'tis here!
Sweeping and swarming round the nearest point.
And first now, a swift airy rush is heard
Momently nearing -- and then, all at once,
There passes one keen cutting, gustly tumult
Of strenuous pinions, with a streaming mass
Of instantaneous skiey streaks, -- each streak
Evolving in particular, and yet
Each tangling into each! Thus seen o'er head
Even while we speak -- ere we have spoken, lo,
The living cloud is onward many a rood,
Tracking, as 'twere, in the smooth lymph below
The multifarous shadow of itself!
Far coming -- present -- and far gone at once!
The senses vainly struggle to retain
As one impression, so manifold an image:
For now again a dark line on the verge
Of the horizon, steeping still, it sinks
At once into the landscape, where, yet seen
Though dimly, with a long and scattering sweep
It fetches eastward, and in column so
Dapples along the steep face of the ridge
There banking the turned river. Then it drops
Below the trees on this side -- but to rise
Once more with a quick circling gleam, as touched
By the slant sunshine there, and disappear
As instantaneously, so setting down
Upon the reedy bosom of the stream.

First published in The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts and General Literature, 4 October 1845;
and later in
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984;
The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Les Murray, 1986
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
The Penguin Book of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009; and
The Puncher & Wattmann Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Leonard, 2009.

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

See also.

To Time by Henry Halloran

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Shower down upon this head, oh, Time!   
If such must be thy will,
The snows of age, but let youth's prime
Dwell in my quick heart still;
Sever life's ties, if that must be
The lot of all below,
But let their memory, green and free,
Prevail o'er wastes of snow.

Oh, Mother! sainted name, to whom
My earliest love is due,
My heart o'erleaps the narrow tomb,
And childlike hastes to you:--
Oh, Father! high-souled scholar, where
Doth thy wronged spirit rove?
Throughout starr'd realms to thee
I'd bear My reverence and love.  

Brothers and sisters, playmates fond,
Though scattered now or lost:
My heart still holds you dear, beyond
All worldly aim or cost:
Friends of my youth! tho' later ties
My hopes and thoughts possess,
And rule me, through my children's eyes,--
I ne'er shall love you less.

Age cannot blot, change cannot wrong
The hallow'd claims of old,--  
And trial only makes more strong
Those swathes of virgin gold:--
Then speed thee on, -- but in thy ruth,
Oh, Time! midst age's snow,
Leave the sweet momories of youth,
To cheer me as I go.

First published in The Empire, 3 October 1851

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

"The Little More...The Little Less... by Mary Corringham

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"The Little More..."

Powerless we are when love will come;
   Powerless, when love will go.
The tender voice, how soon grown dumb!
   The racing pulse, how slow!

'Twere better then, while love is strong--
   At the high heat of bliss--
To seize the passions that belong
   To each impetuous kiss;

And, undivided in our will,
   Join hands, and lips, and eyes;
Even though morning holds no thrill
   Of wakening surprise. . . .

Life is a road that I have trod;
   Is a known, charted sea.
What I have had, not even God
   Can take away from me.

"The Little Less..."

You are more distant from me than that star!
   I scarce believe that we have ever met --
   So sweet, so brief, with no time to regret --
And now you trace your orbit aeons afar.
So soon grown inaccessible you are,
   As if you were a planet that had set
   Beyond my outer universe; and yet
What leagues of space to dreams were ever bar?

There was a moment when you drew as near
   As does the sun to ocean at nightfall,
On some still evening when no clouds appear.
   And nothing stirs the peace but a birdcall ....
Yea! Close as sun and ocean have we been --
Why should I weep if worlds now roll between?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 October 1937

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

October by A. J. Rolfe

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"All things shall rise again with sweeter blossoming."

After the night the beauteous light of dawn
   Shines on the waking world with smiling face,
The wintry night has changed to Spring's fair morn,
   The bursting buds and blossoms bloom apace.   
Nature, revived, rejoices in her birth,
   Clothing the hills and vales with freshest green,
And spreads her bounteous hand with gladsome mirth
   To deck the fields with flowers of fairest sheen.
All things must die to live: for every seed
   That falleth to the ground, except it die,
Abides alone; and in earth's bosom hid
   Springs up from death to life and liberty.
So from the earth, like morning larks on wing,
   Our souls shall rise to everlasting Spring.

First published in The Queenslander, 1 October 1892;
and later in:
A Sheaf of Sonnets by A. J. Rolfe, 1892

Note: this poem in the tenth in a sequence of poems that the author wrote about each month of the year.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

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