The River's Up at Bourke by Gilrooney (R.J. Cassidy)

| No TrackBacks
The Darling at Bourke is 16ft. above summer level, and still rising.---News item from Outback.

The squatters down its winding course
   Will watch the rising flood,
And Optimism's tingling force
   Is surging through their blood.
For should the stream its volume lack
   To bear the golden bales,
The wool that counts for all Outback
   Will miss the London sales!

The woodmen and the watermen,
   And all the old brigade,
Will seek the Trickle once again --
   The Trickle that is Trade!
The lonely swagmen in the bends
   The whalers' tracks will shirk,
And claim the skippers as their friends,
   For Bourke is always --- Bourke!

The message of a thousand miles
  Is in that yellow mud,
Symbolical of Nature's smiles
   (The Fortune of the Flood!).
The crazy little river craft
   Will waken from their sleep,
And, like Titanic imps of Graft,
   Go threshing down the deep!

Once more the eagle, high above
   Against the vault of blue,
Will see the sailor-men make love
   To Jenny Jamberoo!
And Hebe of the River's Arms
   (Who long since smiled for me)
Will show once more her olden charms ---
   Red lips and lingerie!

For Jack he is a sailor, though
   The heaving deep he sails
Is where the Northern Waters flow
   Through Sunset New South Wales!
The same old voices call to him,
   The name old passions leap
As where the flattened fishes swim
   A hundred fathoms deep!

For I have waited for the Rise
   And idled in the bars
Of Bourke --- and heard the bo'sun's lies
   Beneath the Desert Stars!
And I have waited for the wire
   From sleepy Walgett town:
"The Barwon and the McIntyre
   In flood are coming down."

The coach goes rocking through the dust --
   Its old romance is dead
(Its driver never paints "a bust"
   A thousand miles ahead!);
For all the waters of the North
   Shall take the cargoes South,
And, like lorn lovers, hasten forth
   To kiss the Harbor's mouth!

I wish that I could tread the decks
   And hear the captain swear
At eerie hypothetic wrecks,
   That ancient mariner!
I feel inclined to leave my den
   And sail in quest of work --
For all the sirens call me when
   The River's Up at Bourke!

First published in The Bulletin, 4 November 1909

Author: Robert John Cassidy (1880-1948) was born in Coolac in New South Wales, and was, for a time, editor of the Broken Hill newspaper Sport.  He wrote one novel and published the bulk of his poetry in The Bulletin. He died in 1948. 

Author reference site: Austlit

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 4, 2011 7:01 AM.

Fitzgerald's Creek, The Valley, Blue Mountains by Douglas B. W. Sladen was the previous entry in this blog.

Galloping Horses by C. J. Dennis is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en