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 Faƫry 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

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 9, 2011 8:22 AM.

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