Where the Pelican Builds by Mary Hannay Foott

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The horses were ready, the rails were down,
   But the riders lingered still --
      One had a parting word to say,
   And one had his pipe to fill.
Then they mounted, one with a granted prayer,
   And one with a grief unguessed.
      "We are going," they said, as they rode away --
   "Where the pelican builds her nest!"

They had told us of pastures wide and green,
   To be sought past the sunset's glow;
      Of rifts in the ranges by opal lit;
   And gold 'neath the river's flow.
And thirst and hunger were banished words
   When they spoke of that unknown West;
      No drought they dreaded, no flood they feared,
   Where the pelican builds her nest!

The creek at the ford was but fetlock deep
   When we watched them crossing there;
      The rains have replenished it thrice since then,
   And thrice has the rock lain bare.
But the waters of Hope have flowed and fled,
   And never from blue hill's breast
      Come back -- by the sun and the sands devoured --
   Where the pelican builds her nest.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 March 1881, and again in the same magazine on 16 May 1896;
and later in
Where the Pelican Builds and Other Poems by Mary Hannay Foott, 1885;
The Bookfellow, 29 April 1899;
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1913;
A Book of Queensland Verse edited by J. J. Stable, 1924;
The Register, 31 March 1925;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1943;
Australian Bush Ballads and Songs edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
Spoils of Time: Some Poems of the English Speaking Peoples edited by Rex Ingamells, 1948;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Silence into Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
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 Poet's Discovery: Nineteenth Century Australia in Verse edited by Richard Douglas Jordan and Peter Pierce, 1990;
The Macmillan Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ken L. Goodwin and Alan Lawson, 1990;
The Penguin Book of Australian Ballads edited by Elizabeth Webby and Philip Butterss, 1993;
The Oxford Book of Australian Women's Verse edited by Susan Lever, 1995;
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998;
Hell, Highwater and Hard Cases edited by Bruce Simpson, 1999;\
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004;
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008;
The Penguin Book 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, Old Qld Poetry

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 12, 2012 5:58 AM.

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