December 2011 Archives

My Epitaph by C.J. Dennis

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Oh, praise me now if you would please
My soul with soothing flatteries.
Praise with my living clay agrees.
         'Tis sweet, I vow.
Give me kind words while I can feel
The modest blushes gently steal,
What time my virtues you reveal.
         Oh, praise me now!

For, when the vital spark has fled,
No matter what kind words are said,
I'll simply go on being dead
         And take no heed.
Or if, perchance, beneath the clay,
I hear some kindly critic say,
"He was a boshter'in his day!"
         'Twere hard indeed.

'Twere bitter hard to be confined,
Gagged by grim Death, while fellows kind
Call my good qualities to mind,
         And softly sigh.
I vow I'd writhe within my bier,
And strive to croak at least, "Hear, hear!"
For I have ever prized that dear
         Right to reply.

And, when at last I meet my doom
And moulder in the chilly tomb,
Gaunt Death might play within the gloom --
         Who knows what pranks.
My very skeleton would squirm
To hear, on my behalf, some worm
Or some unlettered grave-yard germ
         Returning thanks.

Then, if you're keen on praising me,
I'd rather be alive to see
And hear and feel the flattery,
         And know 'tis true.
And when I rise to make reply
I fain would droop a modest eye
And by my halting, speech imply
         It is my due.

I do not want a monument.
Why should good money so be spent?
Nay, put it out at ten per cent.,
         And when you save
Enough to purchase goodly fare,
Then spread me out a banquet rare.
No gift's appreciated there,
         Within the grave.

Oh, praise me now while I am here;
In my attentive living ear
Pour adulation; never fear
         I mind the row.
I love to hear you harp upon
Those dulcet strings.  Play on, play on!
Do not delay until I'm gone.
         But praise me now!

First published in The Bulletin, 31 December 1914

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

See also.

The Winds of Life by Margaret Fleming (Rita MacLeod)

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Dew-dipped the rosebud rests
   In calm of night,
Till swayed with fragrant winds
   And bathed with light.

The dew of dawn dissolves
   With noon's hot rays;
Alone, beloved of winds,
   The flower sways.

Till fading fast, wind-tossed,
   Strewn leaves in flight,
She crumples up to dust,
   And sleeps in night.  

So souls in nothingness,
   Disturbed with life,
Awake to conscious thought,  
   Unbidden strife.

Remain a while with Time,
   Arrayed in bloom;
Then fade away to naught,
   Uncared, wind-strewn.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 30 December 1914

Author: Rita MacLeod (1891-??) was born in Invercargill, New Zealand and arrived in Australia in 1902.  She worked for a time as a journalist in Brisbane and it is believed she died in England.

Author reference site: Austlit

The Plains by L. H. Allen

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The plains are silver!
The sky is white, and the fruit-blossoms are white,
Shaking and shining in sun, an eddying haze.
The air hangs round them like unseen bees.
It rises from them laden and faint,
Beating its wings towards the mountains,
Settling on lips and nostrils.

The plains are gold!
The orange-trees waver in autumn haze.
The fruitage bursts through the green line gold,
Or in the milder light dims and swells
Like great topazes moon-enchanted.
In the wind they are flames;
The stillness veils them in quivering smoke;
In the dusk they are vaporous echoes.

The plains are blue!
Beneath dawn, amethystine,
A runnel of lucerne-flowers;
Or, in the night-stillness of winter,
A mirror of heaven-calm,
Making flat earth an infinity
Where love creates rarer than heavenly stars.

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 December 1928

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Love's Interpreter by Clarinda Parkes

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In silence I had loved her long:
   In silence for my words were weak,
   And any prayer that I might speak
Had only done my passion wrong.

Till, as it chanced upon a day,
   Under the spreading garden limes,
   I read to her the burning rhymes
Of Love's own poet past away.

And, lo! the might of my desire
   Made his high minstrelsy my own,
   And breathed in every word and tone
The lover's not the poet's fire.

His eloquence grew mine -- nay, more,
   Taught by his pure imagining,
   My love became an altered thing,   
Holier and deeper than before.      

Then, as I laid the volume by  
   And turned to meet her eyes with mine,   
   I caught the long unhoped-for shine
Of love's light dawning in their sky.

So won I that sweet prize of her;
   The voice of the immortal dead
   Had pleaded for me as I read,
And been my love's interpreter.

First published
in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 28 December 1895

Author: Clarinda Sarah Parkes (1839-1915) was the eldest child of Henry Parkes and his wife Clarinda. She started writing poetry in her teens and also completed 6 novels during her writing career.  She had some success with her writing during her lifetime but little is known of it now.  She died in Ashfield, New South Wales, in 1915.

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Old Road by Harold Johnston

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The road that leads to Sydney town --
   A pleasant road, and fragrant, too,
Where lovers wander up and down,
   And tell the old, old tale anew,
While wattle blooms are falling down
Along the road to Sydney town.

The country maid no longer hears
   The bellbird's cry or croon of dove;
For ever whispees in her ears
   The call of beauty and of love;
And seeking out her smartest gown
She takes the road to Sydney town.  

The bush lad dreams of mighty deeds --
   Beneath the shadow of the gum;
He follows where his fancy leads,
   And sees himself in days to come,
A knight all armed and riding down
The magic road to Sydney town.

From bush, from mine, from shearing shed,  
   They tramp along the well-worn track;   
The sun is blazing overhead.
   But what of that? They're coming back.   
And no one dreams of breaking down --   
The road leads home to Sydney town.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 December 1930

Author: Harold Crawford Johnston (1866-1945) was born in Gerringon, New South Wales and died in Brisbane, Queensland.  Beyond this, nothing is known about this author.

Author reference site: Austlit 

A Summer Midnight by Harry "Breaker" Morant

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Athwart the star-lit midnight sky
Luminous fleecy clouds drift by,
As the mysterious, pallid moon
Sinks in the waveless still lagoon.
Now that the queen of night is dead,
The starry commonwealth o'erhead
(Softer and fairer than gaudy day)
Sheds lustrous light from the Milky Way;
While the Dog-star gleams, and the Sisters Seven,
Float tremulously in the misty heaven.
Faintly, afar the horse-bells ring;
Myriads of wakened crickets sing;
And the spirit voices of the night
Sing snatches of fairy music bright,
Old-world melodies - lang syne sung -
Recalling days when the heart was young,
Whose wonderful cadences fall and rise,
As the wind in the casuarina sighs;
And the world seems 'gulfed, this summer night,
In a flood of delicious, dreamy light.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 December 1891 and again in the same magazine on 30 July 1930;
and later in
The Poetry of "Breaker" Morant: from The Bulletin 1891-903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Christmas Song by David McKee Wright

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Old star up in the tree,
   What is thls, what is this?
The orchard sits on the hill's knee
   And the high corn-stems kiss.
But you have something to say to me:
And how should a word be stranger
Than a star-shine and a thought divine
Of a King of Babes in the manger?

Old star, you have said it long,
   What is this, what is this?
The wind makes a low song
   For something it seems to miss.
Wind, what is it that blows you wrong?
Wise Men, their wisdom scorning,
Have come far at the shine of the star
To beat at the gates of the morning.

Old star, going high and high,
   What is this, what is this?
Angels are out on the steps of the sky
   Chanting the hymns of their bliss.
Out of the dead, dead years that lie
The truth of the faith comes winging;
After red tears and the long, long fears
There is wider room for the singing.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 December 1919

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

A Christmas Letter by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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'Tis Christmas, and the north wind blows;
   'Twas two years yesterday
Since from the Lusitania's bows
   I looked o'er Table Bay,
A tripper round the narrow world,
   A pilgrim of the main,
Expecting when her sails unfurled
   To start for home again.

And steaming thence three weeks or more
   I reached Victoria,
Upon her hospitable shore
   To make a few months' stay;
But month on month unnoticed fled,
   And ere the year had come
I chose the land I visited
   To be my future home.

'Tis Christmas, and the north wind blows;
   Our hearts are one to-day,
Though you are 'mid the English snows,
   I in Australia.
You, when you hear the northern blast,
   Pile coals upon your fires;
We strip until the storm is past,
   While every pore perspires.

I fancy I can picture you
   Upon this Christmas night
Just sitting as you used to do ---
   The laughter at its height;
And then a sudden silent pause
   Falling upon your glee,
And kind eyes glistening because
   You chanced to think of me.   

This morning, when I woke and knew
   Christmas had come again,
I almost fancied I could view
   Rime on the window pane,
And hear the ringing of the wheels
   Upon the frosty ground,
And see the drip that downward steals
   In icy fetters bound.

I daresay you've been on the lake,
   Or sliding on the snow,
And breathing on your hands to make
   The circulation flow,
Nestling your nose among the furs
   Of which your boa's made.
The Fahrenheit here registers
   A hundred in the shade.

It doesn't seem like Christmas here,
   With this unclouded sky,
This pure transparent atmosphere,
   And with the sun so high:
To see the rose upon the bush,
   The leaves upon the trees,
To hear the forest's summer hush,
   Or the low hum of bees.

But cold winds don't bring Christmas tide,
   Or budding roses June;
And when it's night upon your side
   We're basking in the noon.
Kind hearts make Christmas, June may bring
   Blue sky or clouds above,
The only universal spring
   Is that which comes with love.

And so it's Christmas in the South,
   As on the North Sea coasts;
Though we are starved with summer drouth,
   And you with winter frosts;
And we shall have our roast beef here,
   And think of you the while,
Who in the other hemisphere
   Cling to the mother-isle.

Feel sure that we shall drink to you,
   We who have wandered forth;
And many a million thoughts will go
   To-day from South to North.
Old heads will muse on churches old
   Where bells will ring to-day,
The very bells perchance that tolled
   Their fathers to the clay.

And now, good night. Maybe I'll dream
   That I am with you all,
Watching the ruddy embers gleam
   Over the panelled hall.
I care not if I dream or not;
   Though severed by the foam,
My heart is always in the spot
   That was my childhood's home.

First published in The Queenslander, 24 December 1881

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

To the Sun Flower by Emily Coungeau

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Thou orbed emblem of the sun,
   How deeply glow thy fires;
So thrilled with life thy magic zone,
   Aflame with dear desires.

Tell me! Oh spirit of the flowers,  
   One thing I fain would learn,
Why thou, as mortals, dream swift hours,
   Then unto dust return.

Thy life is briefer than our own,
   And lovely is thy core;
Wherefore, sweet flower, for thee alone,
   I weave this metaphor.

As planets of the solar sphere
   Move round a central sun,
The tapering golden leaves, so fair,  
   Surround thy cushioned throne.

I am, though brief my span may be,
   For him who doubts or grieves
A mentor of Eternity.
   Go; seek it in my leaves.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 23 December 1914;
and later in
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Hills are Blue by Christine Bonwick

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All the hills are blue to-day, cool and blue and bracing,
Tonic for your weary heart, balm for all your ills.
We who knew them long ago find our feet retracing
Winding paths of memory, all among the hills.
Where the blackwnods fringe the creek, there our feet are straying;
Where the fragrant sassafras flaunts its tender green,
There the little tumbling streams happy tunes are playing--
How we hear their melodies, o'er the years between!

All the hills are blue to-day, dear and blue and tender;
Help they hold for those who seek strength or sympathy.
Where the mountain breezes stir shaded leaves and slender
Breathe the messages of hope from each murm'ring tree.
Paths that twist and roads that wind yield at every turning
Glimpses of the bushland birds, snatches of their song;
Weary folk, and woe-begone, worn with years of yearning,
All the hills are blue to-day -- won't you come along?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December 1928

Author: Christine Bonwick (1893[?]-1984) trained as a nurse at Royal Melbourne Hospital in 1913, and later worked in in various Save the Children's Camps.  Beyond this nothing is known about this author.

Author reference site: Austlit

Clancy of the Overflow by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

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I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
   Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
   Just "on spec", addressed as follows: "Clancy, of The Overflow".

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
   (And I think the same was written in a thumbnail dipped in tar)
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
   "Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
   Gone a-droving "down the Cooper" where the western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
   For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
   In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
  And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
    Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
   Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all.

And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
   Of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
   Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
  As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
   For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.

And I somehow fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
   Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cashbook and the journal --
   But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of "The Overflow".

First published in The Bulletin, 21 December 1889, and again in the same magazine on 29 January 1930, 29 January 1980 and 26 December 1989;
and later in
A Golden Shanty: Australian Stories and Sketches in Prose and Verse, 1890;
The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson, 1895;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1924;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1943;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
Silence into Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
Australian Kaleidoscope edited by Barbara Ker Wilson, 1968;
The Collected Verse of A.B. Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1982;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
Singer of the Bush, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson: Complete Works 1885-1900 compiled by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1983;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes and Brian McFarlane, 1984;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Favorite Australian Poems, 1987;
Banjo Paterson's Poems of the Bush by A.B. Paterson, 1987;
The Bushwackers Australian Song Book edited by Jan Wositzky and Dobe Newton, 1988;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
The Banjo's Best-Loved Poems edited by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1989;
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 1990;
The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ken L. Goodwin and Alan Lawson, 1990;
A Treasury of Bush Verse edited by G.A. Wilkes, 1991;
A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson: Bush Ballads, Poems, Stories and Journalism edited by Clement Semmler, 1992;
Selected Poems: A. B. Paterson compiled by Les Murray, 1992;
The Collected Verse of Banjo Paterson edited by Clement Semmler, 1993;
Banjo Paterson: His Poetry and Prose compiled by Richard Hall, 1993;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterrs, 1993;
The Romance of the Stockman: The Lore, Legend and Literature of Australia's Outback Heroes, 1993;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse compiled by Beatrice Davis, 1996;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard 1998;
The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 2001;
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;
The Bush Poems of A.B. (Banjo) Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 2008;
Harbour City Poems: Sydney in Verse, 1788-2008 edited by Martin Langford, 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.

Australian Poets #32 - Arthur A. D. Bayldon

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Arthur Albert Dawson Bayldon
(1865-1958)

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Old Qld Poetry

See also.

The Lion's Whelps by George Essex Evans

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                     There is scarlet on his forehead,
                     There are scars across his face
'Tis the bloody dew of battle dripping down, dripping down,
                     But the war-heart of the Lion
                     Turns to iron in its place
When he halts to face disaster, when he turns to meet disgrace,
Stung and keen and mettled with the life-blood of his own
                     Let the hunters 'ware who flout him  
                     When he calls his whelps about him
When he sets the goal before him and he settles to the pace.

                     Tricked and wounded! Are we beaten
                     Though they hold our strength at play?
Ww have faced these things aforetimes, long ago, long ago.
                     From sunlit Sydney Harbour
                     And ten thousand, miles away,  
From the far Canadian forests to the Sounds of Milford Bay,
They have answered, they have answered, and we know the answer now.
                     From the Britains such as these
                     Strewn across the world-wide seas
Comes the rally and the bugle-note that makes us one to-day.

                     Beaten! Let them come against us.
                     We can meet them one and all.
We have faced the World aforetimes, not in vain, not in vain.
                     Twice ten thousand hearths be widowed
                     Twice ten thousand hearts may fall.  
But a million-voices answer: "We are ready for the call
And the sword we draw for Justice shall not see its sheath again,
                     Nor our cannon cease to thunder  
                     Till we break their strength asunder,
And the Lion's whelps are round him and the Old Flag over all."

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 20 December 1899;
and later in
The Queenslander, 23 December, 1899;
The North Queensand Register, 8 January 1900;
The Secret Key and Other Verses by George Essex Evans, 1906; and
The Central Queensland Herald, 23 January 1941.

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

See also.

Where the Dead Men Lie by Barcroft Boake

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Out on the wastes of the Never Never --
   That's where the dead men lie!
There where the heat-waves dance forever --
   That's where the dead men lie!
That's where the Earth's loved sons are keeping
Endless tryst: not the west wind sweeping
Feverish pinions can wake their sleeping --
   Out where the dead men lie!

Where brown Summer and Death have mated --
   That's where the dead men lie!
Loving with fiery lust unsated --
   That's where the dead men lie!
Out where the grinning skulls bleach whitely
Under the saltbush sparkling brightly;
Out where the wild dogs chorus nightly --
   That's where the dead men lie!

Deep in the yellow, flowing river --
   That's where the dead men lie!
Under the banks where the shadows quiver --
   That's where the dead men lie!
Where the platypus twists and doubles,
Leaving a train of tiny bubbles;
Rid at last of their earthly troubles --
   That's where the dead men lie!

East and backward pale faces turning --
   That's how the dead men lie!
Gaunt arms stretched with a voiceless yearning --
   That's how the dead men lie!
Oft in the fragrant hush of nooning
Hearing again their mother's crooning,
Wrapt for aye in a dreamful swooning -
   That's how the dead men lie!

Only the hand of Night can free them --
   That's when the dead men fly!
Only the frightened cattle see them --
   See the dead men go by!
Cloven hoofs beating out one measure,
Bidding the stockmen know no leisure --
That's when the dead men take their pleasure!
   That's when the dead men fly!

Ask, too, the never-sleeping drover:
   He sees the dead pass by;
Hearing them call to their friends -- the plover,
   Hearing the dead men cry;
Seeing their faces stealing, stealing,
Hearing their laughter pealing, pealing,
Watching their grey forms wheeling, wheeling
   Round where the cattle lie!

Strangled by thirst and fierce privation --
   That's how the dead men die!
Out on Moneygrub's farthest station --
   That's how the dead men die!
Hard-faced greybeards, youngsters callow;
Some mounds cared for, some left fallow;
Some deep down, yet others shallow.
   Some having but the sky.

Moneygrub, as he sips his claret,
   Looks with complacent eye
Down at his watch-chain, eighteen carat -
   There, in his club, hard by:
Recks not that every link is stamped with
Names of the men whose limbs are cramped with
Too long lying in grave-mould, cramped with
   Death where the dead men lie.

First published in The Bulletin, 19 December 1891 and again on 21 May, 1892; 29 January 1980; 27 December 1983; and 12 May 1992;
and later in
The Coolgardie Review, 3 August 1895;
Where the Dead Men Lie and Other Poems by Barcroft Boake, 1897;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
Aussie: The Australian Soldiers Magazine, April 1919;
The Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1924;
Freedom on the Wallaby: Poems of the Australian People edited by Marjorie Pizer, 1953;
A Book of Australian Verse edited by Judith Wright, 1956;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore edited by Bill Scott, 1976;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
Cross-Country: A Book of Australian Verse edited by John Barnes and Brian McFarlane, 1984;
A Treasury of Bush Verse by G. A. Wilkes, 1991;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
Where the Dead Men Lie: The Story of Barcroft Boake, Bush Poet of the Monaro: 1866-1892  by Hugh Capel, 2002;
An Australian Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson  edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
Barcroft Boake: Collected Works, Edited, with a Life edited by W. F. Refshauge, 2007;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007;
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008;
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009;
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 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.

Faith by Zora Cross

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May not the soul be fed with brighter food
Than that the brown earth yields? May not the mind,
Freed from old knowledge, some new vision find
In spheres that are without dull stone and wood?
Surely the spirit earns its livelihood   
Of images Divinity designed.
Surely the bread of dreams that keeps us blind
To fleshly, needs Death's seed of Sleep makes good.
The adolescence of the ego still
Encourages us to sing, though Time
Bids us instruct our conscience how to heaven
Eternity to the omniscient Will.
May we not leam, then, despite War's red crime,
Hell's but a mirage on the plain of Heaven?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 1943

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Old Qld Poetry

See also.

On the Cattle Camps by Edward S. Sorenson

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Fleet-footed wild scrub cattle
   Come down the spurs a-swing,
While clustering dead ferns rattle,
   And vines to long horns cling.
Our nags, with saddles creaking,
   Wheel round the ringing mob,  
Their heaving flanks a-reeking,    
   Their eager hearts a-throb.

No fence is there to hold them,
   They tread on broken ground,
Where brush and scrubs enfold them,
   With billabongs around;
And while the whips are swinging,  
   Among the trees they tramp,
To lusty voices ringing
   Across the grassy camp.

Ten thousand horns are clashing,
   And tossing to and fro,
A hundred colours flashing,
   As round and round they go;
And high above the lowing
   The rounding riders shout,
As through the timber glowing,
   They wheel the "breakers-out."

The old camp-nags go quietly,
   And yet with reefing heads,
Where horns and hides gleam whitely,
   Among the roans and reds;
And, knowing as their riders,
   They "fix" the wanted steer,
With shoulder-butts and "siders,"
   They drive the rebel clear.

They've drafted in the ranges,  
   They've cut out on the flats;
They've run the wild scrub strangers,
   And blocked the station rats;
They need no reins to guide them,  
   Where mustered cattle tramp,
As well as those who ride them
   They know the work on camp.

Then let the wild scrub cattle
   Come down the spurs a-swing,
Where honeysuckles rattle,
   And running stockwhips ring;
The old camp-nags will meet them --
   Old warriors staunch and true!
And on the camps will greet them,
   And put the beggars through.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 17 December 1902

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Warrigal by Henry Kendall

| No TrackBacks
Through forest holes the storm-wind rolls
   Vext of the sea-driven rain,
And up in the clift through many a rift
   The voices of torrents complain.
The sad marsh fowl and the lonely owl
   Are heard in the fog-wreaths grey
When the Warrigal wakes and listens and takes
   To the woods that shelter the prey!
         When the Warrigal wakes
         And listens and takes
   To the woods that shelter the prey!

In the gully-deeps the blind creek sleeps,
   And the silver showery moon
Glides over the hills, and floats and fills
   And dreams in the dark lagoon  
While, halting hard by the station yard,
   Aghast at the hut-flame nigh,
The Warrigal yells,and the flats and fells
   Are loud with his dismal cry!  
         The Warrigal yells,
         And the flats and fells
   Are loud with his dismal cry!   

On the topmost peak of mountains bleak
   The south wind sobs and strays,
Through moaning pine and turpentine
   And the rippling runnel ways;
And strong streams flow and great mists go
   Where the Warrigal starts to hear
The watchdog's bark break sharp in the dark
   And flees like a phantom of Fear!
         The watchdog's bark
         Break sharp in the dark
   And flees like a phantom of Fear!

The swift rains beat and the thunders fleet
   On the wings of the fiery gale,
And down in the glen of pool and fen,
   The wild gums whistle and wail,
As over the plains, and past the chains    
   Of waterholes glimmering deep,
The Warrigal flies from the Shepherd's cries  
   And the clamour of dogs and sheep!
         The Warrigal flies
         From the Shepherd's cries  
   And the clamour of dogs and sheep!

The Warrigal's lair is pent in bare
   Black rocks, at the gorge's month:
It is set in ways where summer strays
   With the sprites of flame and drouth;
But, when the heights are touched with lights
   Of hoar-frost, sleet, and shine,
His bed is made of the dead grass-blade
   And the leaves of the windy pine.
         His bed is made         
         Of the dead grass-blade  
   And the leaves of the windy pine.      

He roves through the lands of sultry sands,
   He hunts in the iron range,     
Untamed as surge of the far sea-verge    
   And fierce and fickle and strange.  
The white man's track and the haunts of tbe black  
   He shuns and shudders to see,     
For his joy he tastes, in lonely wastes,    
   Where his mates are torrent and tree!  
         For his joy he tastes,
         In lonely wastes,     
   Where his mates are torrent and tree!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 December 1867;
and later in
The Australasian, 13 June 1868;
Leaves from Australian Forests by Henry Kendall, 1869;
A Century of Australian Song edited by Douglas Sladen, 1888;
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1913;
Selections from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1957;
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966;
Silence into Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1988; and
Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence edited by Michael Ackland, 1993.

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

See also.

The Girl with the Black Hair by John Shaw Neilson

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Her lips were a red peril
   To set men quivering
And in her feet there lived the ache
   And the green lilt of Spring.

'Twas on a night of red blossoms,
   Oh, she was a wild wine!
The colour of all the hours
   Lie in this heart of mine.

I was impelled by the white moon
   And the deep eyes of the Spring,
And the voices of purple flutes
   Waltzing and wavering.

Of all the bloom most delicate
   Sipping the gold air
Was a round girl with round arms,
   The Girl with the Black Hair.

Her breath was the breath of roses,
   White roses clean and clear,
Her eyes were blue as the high heavens
   Where God is always near.

Her lips were a red peril
   To set men quivering
And in her feet there lived the ache
   And the green lilt of Spring.

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 December 1913;
and later in
Poems by John Shaw Neilson, 1964;
Australian Letters, 4 September 1964;
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981;
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991;
Selected Poems edited by Robert Gray, 1993; and
Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby, 2009.

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

See also.

From the Gulf by Will H. Ogilvie

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Store cattle from Nelanjie! The mob, goes feeding past,
With half-a-mile of sandhill 'twixt the leaders and the last;
The nags that move behind them are the good old Queensland stamp ---
Short backs and perfect shoulders that are price-less on a camp;
And these are men that ride them, broad-chested, tanned and tall,
The bravest hearts amongst us and the lightest hands of all.
Oh! let them wade in Wonga grass and taste the Wonga dew,
And let them spread, those thousand head --- for we've been droving too!

Store cattle from Nelanjie! By half-a-hundred towns,
By Northern ranges rough and red, by rolling open downs,
By stock-routes brown and burnt and bare, by flood-wrapped river-bends,
They've bunted them from gate to gate --- the drover has no friends;
But idly they may ride to-day beneath the scorching sun
And let the hungry bullocks try the grass on Wonga run;
No overseer dogs them here to "see the cattle through,"
But they may spread their thousand head --- for we've been droving too!

Store cattle from Nelanjie! They've a naked track to steer,
The stockyards at Wodonga are a long way down from here;
The creeks won't run till God knows when, and half the holes are dry,
The tanks are few and far between and water's dear to buy:
There's plenty at the Brolga Bore for all his stock and mine ---
We'll pass him with a brave God-speed across the Border Line,
And if he goes a five-mile stage and loiters slowly through,
We'll only think the more of him --- for we've been droving too!
 
Store cattle from Nelanjie! They're mute as milkers now,
But yonder grizzled drover, with the care-lines on his brow,
Could tell of merry musters on the big Nelanjie plains,
With blood upon the chestnut's flanks and foam upon the reins;
Could tell of nights upon the road when those same mild-eyed steers
Went ringing round the river bend and through the scrub like spears
And if his words are rude and rough, we know his words are true,
We know what wild Nelanjies are --- and we've been droving too!
 
Store cattle from Nelanjie! Around the fire at night
They've watched the pine-tree shadows lift before the dancing light;
They've lain awake to listen when the weird bush-voices speak,
And heard the lilting bells go by along the empty creek;
They've spun the yarns of hut and camp, the tales of play and work,
The wond'rous tales that gild the road from Normanton to Bourke;
They've told of fortune foul and fair, of women false and true,
And well we know the songs they've sung --- for we've been droving too!

Store cattle from Nelanjie! Their breath is on the breeze;
You hear them tread, a thousand head, in blue-grass to the knees;
The lead is on the netting-fence, the wigps are spreading wide,
The lame end laggard scarcely move- so slow the drovers ride.
But let them stay and feed to-day for sake of Auld Lang Syne;
They'll never get a chance like this below the Border Line;
And if they tread our frontage down, What's that to me or you
What's ours to fare, by God they'll share! for we've been droving too!

First published in The Bulletin, 14 December 1895;
and later in
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1924;
Selections from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1943;
Spoils of Time: Some Poems of the English Speaking Peoples edited by Rex Ingamells, 1948;
Fair Girls and Grey Horses: With Other Verses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
This Land: An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M. M. Flynn and J. Groom, 1968;
The Drovers edited by Keith Wiley, 1982;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
Will Ogilvie: Balladist of Border and Bush by George T. Ogilvie, 1994;
Breaker's Mate: Will Ogilvie in Australia edited by John Meredith, 1996;
ReCollecting Albury Writing: Poetry and Prose from Albury and District 1859 to 2000 edited by Jane Downing and Dirk H.R. Spennemann, 2000; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Travelling Barber by Edward Dyson

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Came one day to Willy-Nilly,
   On a broken-hearted crock,
With his soapsuds in a billy
   And his razors in a sock,
Harry Nott, the travelling barber
From Boonanga, 'Couta Harbour,
   And he said he'd shave the lot,
   Twenty shearers on the spot,
   For a quid and just the taste of
        Any liquor we had got.

Then big Bull M'Owen set him:
   "T'ave us clean within the hour,
Cash or quits I'm game to bet him
   That it isn't in his pow'r!"
Harry Nott unstrapped his lumber,
In a row he set the number,
   Touched his razor on a cone,
   Flung a mirror on the roan,
   Stropped the blade upon his horse's
         Tail, and tackled Tim Malone.

Frog M'Dougal spread the lather,
   And the barber at his heel
Leaped the Simpsons, son and father,
   With his free and flashing steel.
"Wool away here!" bellowed Harry.  
   "Tar, you swine!" cried Limping Larry.
   And then Nott improved his paces,
   Knocked the beards from off their faces,  
   And the trees were filled with whiskers
         All the way to Billy's Braces.

Nott had done; one minute saved him;
   But he'd overtaken Frog
In the rush and cleanly shaved him,
   Likewise Don M'Owen's dog.
Then he turned upon them proudly,
And he cursed his blinkers loudly,
   For the first three shearers sat
   In their places, fair and fat,
   Just the same three men, but beards
         They had, and long and thick at that.

Says M'Owen, "Who can doubt it?
   You don't know this fertile plain!
Why, you've been so long about it  
   That their beards have grown again!"
Then the barber, white with wonder,
Climbed his roan, and sighing, "Thunder!"
   Cantered off his bag of bones;
   But M'Owen never owns
   How they rang the changes on him
      With the fat and fair Malones.

First published
in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 13 December 1905

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

See also.

The Wayfarers by Louisa Lawson

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Give me a part of your burden, friend;
   Your load is more than your share;
I know by the way your shoulders bend
   'Tis more than you well can bear.

A toilsome road is the world's highway,
   With little to lift or loan,
Where shadows oft with the sunbeams play
   To music of mirth and moan.

So give me some of your load to keep;
   There is much that you can spare;
The way is long and the hills are steep;
   And pitfalls are everywhere.

Some deep and dark that your eye might miss
   That mine would be sure to see,
And snakes that spring with no warning hiss
   That you could reveal to me.

So give me some of your burden, pray;
   I'll carry it with my own;
We'll help to lighten each other's way;
   It's dreary walking alone.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 12 December 1906;
and later in
The Worker, 22 December 1910; and
Louisa Lawson: Collected Poems with Selected Critical Commentaries edited by L. M. Rutherford, M. E. Roughley and Nigel Spence, 1996.

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

See also.

The Great Australian Adjective by W. T. Godge

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The sunburnt ---- stockman stood
And, in a dismal ---- mood,
   Apostrophized his ---- cuddy;
"The ---- nag's no ---- good,
He couldn't earn his ---- food --
   A regular ---- brumby,
                     ----!"

He jumped across the ---- horse
And cantered off, of ---- course!
   The roads were bad and ---- muddy;
Said he, "Well, spare me ---- days
The ---- Government's ---- ways
   Are screamin' ---- funny,
                     ----!"

He rode up hill, down ---- dale,
The wind it blew a ---- gale,
   The creek was high and ---- floody.
Said he, "The ---- horse must swim,
The same for ---- me and him,
   Is something ---- sickenin',
                     ----!"

He plunged into the ---- creek,
The ---- horse was ---- weak,
   The stockman's face a ---- study!
And though the ---- horse was drowned
The ---- rider reached the ground
   Ejaculating, "----!"
                     "----!"

First published in The Bulletin, 11 December 1897;
and later in
Complete Book of Australian Folk Lore edited by Bill Scott, 1976;
The Penguin Book of Australian Humorous Verse edited by Bill Scott, 1984;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
Australian Bush Poems, 1991;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004; and
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

I Am Shut Out of Mine Own Heart by Christopher Brennan

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I am shut out of mine own heart
because my Love is far from me
nor in the wonder have I part
that fills its hidden empery:

the wildwood of adventurous thought
and lands of dawn my dream had won,
the riches out of Faerie brought
are buried with our bridal sun;

and I am in a narrow place
and all its little streets are cold
because the absence of her face
hath reft the sullen air of gold.

My home is in a broader day
-- sometimes I catch it glistening
thro' the dull gate, a flower'd play
and odour of undying spring;

the long days that I lived alone,
sweet madness of the springs I miss'd,
are shed beyond, and thro' them blown
clear laughter, and my lips are kiss'd

-- and here from mine own joy apart
I wait the turning of the key:
I am shut out of mine own heart
because my Love is far from me.

First published in The Bulletin, 10 December 1898, and again in the same magazine on 1 February 1950, and 29 January 1980;
and later in
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Bookfellow, 15 March 1915;
Poetry in Australia 1923;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
The Verse of Christopher Brennan edited by A. R. Chisholm and John Joseph Quinn, 1960;
Poems [1913] by Christopher Brennan,1972;
Selected Poems by Christopher Brennan, 1973;
Christopher Brennan edited by Terry Sturm, 1984;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
The Language of Love: An Anthology of Australian Love Letters, Poetry and Prose edited by Pamela Allardice, 1991;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

The Explorer Dying in the Wilderness by Henry Halloran

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Around me lie the scatter'd wrecks
Of my brave company,
Who journey'd forth into the midst   
Of this vast plain, to die.--
Fierce Sun! thou can'st not light again
The fires in each closed eye,--
Nor loose the black parched tongue of death,
Even unto God to cry.

Dwellers beside your cherished hearths!
Kind friends who greeted me,   
Even as a brother when I came,
The mourned one, o'er the sea; --
And helped me forth, (my bosom's thirst,)
This central waste to see --  
I cry, tho' death may stop my words,
God's blessings upon ye.

Oh! take my fame, for good or ill,
Nor let my name be lost;
I sought a household word to be,
Nor do I grudge the cost: --  
Some hearts, I deem may grieve for him,
Midst central sands now toss'd,
And blame the lingering steps that might
The dead man's path have crossed.

First published in The Empire, 9 December 1851

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Dreams by Victor J. Daley

| No TrackBacks
I have been dreaming all a summer day
Of rare and dainty poems I would write;
Love-lyrics delicate as lilac-scent,
Soft idylls wov'n of wind, and flow'r, and stream,
And songs and sonnets carven in fine gold.

The day is fading, and the dusk is cold;
Out of the skies has gone the opal gleam,
Out of my heart has passed the high intent
Into the shadow of the failing night --
Must all my dreams in darkness pass away?

I have been dreaming all a summer day
Shall I go dreaming so until Life's light
Fades in Death's dusk, and all my days are spent?
Ah, what am I the dreamer but a dream!
The day is fading, and the dusk is cold.

My songs and sonnets carven in fine gold
Have faded from me with the last day-beam
That purple lustre to the sea-line lent,
And flushed the clouds with rose and chrysolite;
So days and dreams in darkness pass away.

I have been dreaming all a summer day
Of songs and sonnets carven in fine gold;
But all my dreams in darkness pass away;
The day is fading, and the dusk is cold.

First published
in The Bulletin, 8 December 1883, and again in the same magazine on 9 July 1898, 1 February 1950 and 29 January 1980;
and later in
A Golden Shanty: Australian Stories and Sketches in Prose and Verse, 1890;
At Dawn and Dusk by Victor Daley, 1902;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Silence in Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
Early Verse of the Canberra Region: A Collection of Poetry, Verse and Doggerel from Newspaper, Other Publications and Private Sources edited by Lyall Gillespie, 1994;
Sunlines: An Anthology of Poetry to Celebrate Australia's Harmony in Diversity edited by Anne Fairbairn, 2002; and
The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009.

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

See also.

My Native Land by Henry Parkes

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The moonlight of a milder clime
Is round me poured o'er scenes sublime:
But I would fly from all earth's light
And grandeur, to behold tonight
               My native land!

Tomorrow's sun will beauteous rise
In Australasia's summer skies:
But more than beautiful to me
Would winter's wildest morning be,
               In that dear land!

And green woods wave which ne'er are sere
In this December summer here:
But I would turn from Eden's bloom,
To hail, in winter's waste and gloom,
               My native land!

It may be here that Britons find
Scenes brighter than they leave behind:
But oh! the countercharm for home
Is found not yet, where'er I roam,
               O'er sea or land!

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 7 December 1841;
and later in
The Geelong Advertiser, 10 January 1842;
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842;
The South Australian Magazine, January and February 1842;
The Boomerang, 1 February 1890;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

Wild Raspberries and Wattle Gum by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Wild raspberries and wattle gum, fit plunder for a child.
   I see the slow creek running through the swamp oaks, twos and threes,
The threaded tangle of the vines spread wandering and wild,
   And the ladies of the leaf world, the silver wattle trees.  

It's a long way from the "Twelve-mile," a long, long way from home.
   I wonder if the wattle still the scattered homestead girds?
I wonder are there children there, when Christmas seasons come,
   To hunt the timber paddocks for the treasury of the birds?

Raspberries and wattle gum. The old days are over;
   But when the long Decembers come, like someone in a dream,
I see the wattles thick with seed, the cocksfoot and the clover,
   And the vines in fruit and flower by the still brown stream.

In the long, long evenings, while the old year passes,
   Do they hear the old bush murmur like a river on its bars?
Do they hear the crickets chirping in the thin dry glasses,
   And the black swans honking homewards up among the stars?

Do the lilies bloom at Christmas still, to deck the little church?
   I do not know, I only know that if the chance should come,
I would leave the dusty city and its Christmas in the lurch  
   To go hunting for wild raspberries and golden wattle gum.

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Never by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
Is there never a spot so low, so low,
In the great earth centres where we might go
   And be alone for an hour?
Is there never a cloud so high, so high,
Never a cloud in the smiling sky
   To moisten a thirsty flower?

Is there never a secret, silent grove,
Just for a place to meet and love
   One hour of summer weather;
Just for a heart to fold a heart,
Just for a little --- not apart,
   But life and soul together?

Is there never relenting in God's big heart?
Is the fiat "For ever apart, apart,"
   And never the lips replying;
Only the anguish whitely mute,
And the life of a sullen soulless brute
   And the unsatisfied dying?

First published
in The Queenslander, 5 December 1896

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Yule Fever by C. J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
I must go down to the shops again, to the crowded shops go I
And all I have is a long list of the gifts that I must buy,
And a few bob in the old kick and a mere spot of credit;
For he'll trust me, so the boss said, but I hate the way he said it.

I must go down to the shops again, for the call of Christmastide
Is a stern call and a hard call that may not be denied.
And all I ask is a fair choice at reasonable prices
And a hard heart for bland blokes with blandishing devices.

I must go down to the shops again.  There's gifts for Mum and Dad
And Jim's gift and Joe's gift and toy for Peter's lad.
Then all I want are gloves for Clare?  And June?  I'll send her roses,
And -- who's next?  The list says -- I've lost it!  Holy Moses!

But I must go down to the shops again, to the shops and the milling crowd
On a hot day and a fierce day when the skies know ne'er a cloud;
And all I ask is a fair spin 'mid the masses overheating
And the loud bawl of the bored babe, and the toy drums beating.

I must go down to the shops again, for I would be counted still
With the kind coves of the free hand in this season of goodwill;
And all I ask is a stout heart to carry on undaunted
While we scour town for the salt-pot that we know Aunt Annie wanted.

I must go down to the shops again, for they'll ply me, sure as fate
With the pink tie and the puce sock, and I must reciprocate.
But all I ask is a long seat when the weary trek is finished
And enough left for the Yule feast ere the bank-roll be diminished.

First published in The Herald, 4 December 1935;
and later in
Random Verse by C.J. Dennis, 1952.

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

See also.

December by A. J. Rolfe

| No TrackBacks
   Though the warrior's sun has set
   Its light shall linger round us yet,
   Bright, radiant, blest.

               LONGFELLOW.

The year's last milestone on the journey home!
   Ah! as we ponder o'er the toilworn road,
A road by winding paths made wearisome,
   Have we done aught to light another's load,
To cheer some heart in sorrow, or to calm
   Some storm-tossed soul upon the sea of doubt,
To soothe some aching heart with healing balm,
   To hold aloft Hope's pennon streaming out?
Then we can gaze along our path with joy,
   Knowing that bleeding footmarks, once impressed,
Have not been vainly trodden; this shall buoy
   Our feeble footsteps on to perfect rest.
And when at last our rugged race is run
Our Master's loving voice will say, "Well done."

First published in The Queenslander, 3 December 1892
and later in:
A Sheaf of Sonnets by A. J. Rolfe, 1892

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

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Lines Suggested by the Appearance of a Comet by Charles Harpur

| No TrackBacks
Thy purpose, heavenly Stranger, who may know
But He who linked thee to the starry Whole?
We see thou journeyest, -- and no more; for of
The birth of Motion, save as the first step
Of God's creative power, Mankind even yet
May but conjecture, as they did of old,
The Shepherd Sages of the mystic East.   
Yet may we dream of thee in thy career,
As of a wandering symphony from amidst,
The planetary Voices of the World;   
Singing together, in their sun-led choirs,
The divine song of an eternal order.

Thus may we dream of thee -- and I, methinks,
With an especial privilege; for I,
(Unweetingly indeed) of all who watched
Thy coming, saw thee first in my own Land:
Then having wandered forth alone, as wont,
To steep my heart in the rich sunset -- lo,
I saw, half doubtingly, its fading hues
Leave thee sole wonder of the twylight sky.

But now, since thou hast travelled high in Heaven,
Thousands of wondering Spirits, all are out
Duly each night, with upturned looks, to drink
The mystery of thy beauty.

               In thy dust
Bright visitation, even thus, thou sawst
The young, the lovely, and the wise of Earth,   
A buried Generation, thronging forth
In wonder, to behold thee pass, and then
Know thee no more ; and when the flaming steps
Of thy unspeakable speed shall carry thee
Beyond our vision, all the beautiful eyes
Now opening up at thee, -- eyes made by Love
As tender as the turtle's, or that speak
The fervent soul and the majestic mind,
Shall be fast closed in death, and give for aye
Their lustre to the grave, ere thou again
Shall drive thy fiery chariot round the Sun!
But orbs as beautiful and loving -- yea,
More radiant in their wisdom, from a more
Enlarged communion with the soul of Truth,
Shall gaze at thee instead, heavenly Stranger,
When thou return'st again! -- Ah, what a dream!
Ah, what a shadow is the life of Man!

First published in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 2 December 1846;
and later in
The Bushrangers, a Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems by Charles Harpur, 1853; and
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984.

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

See also.

Nemesis by Arthur H. Adams

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All things must fade. There is for cities tall
The same to-morrow as for daffodils:
Time's wind, that casts the seed, the petal spills.
Grim London's ruined arches yet shall fall
Back to the arms of Earth. A quiet pall
The mother draws o'er those she loves --- and kills;
And though brief nations vaunt their upstart wills,
The nemesis of grass shall cover all.

So -- from a caravan to Mecca bound
Getting no more than one incurious glance ---
Tremendous Babylon, thrice-girt with walls,
Sick of her thousand years of arrogance,
With a few tamarisks upon a mound
Her epitaph upon the desert scrawls.

First published in The Lone Hand, 1 December 1910;
and later in
The Collected Verses of Arthur H. Adams, 1913; and
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll, and Frank Wilmot, 1927.

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

See also.

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