Woonoona: The Last of His Tribe by Henry Kendall

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He crouches, and buries his face on his knees,
   And hides in the dark of his hair;
For he cannot look up to the storm-smitten trees,  
   Or think of the loneliness there ---
      Of the loss and the loneliness there!

The wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass,
   And turn to their covers for fear,
But he sits in the ashes, and lets them pass
   Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear!
      With the nullah, the sling, and the spear!

Uluela, behold him! the thunder that breaks
   On the tops of the rocks, with the rain,
And the wind, which drives up with the salt of the lakes,  
   Have made him a hunter again --
      A hunter and fisher again!

For his eyes have been full with a smouldering thought,
   But he dreams of the hunts of yore;
And the foes that he sought, and the fights which he fought
   With these who will battle no more ---
      Who will go to the battle no more!

It is well that the water, which trembles and fills,
   Goes moaning and moaning along;
For an Echo rolls out from the sides of the hills;
   And he starts at a wonderful Song ---
      At the sounds of a wonderful Song!  

And he sees, through the rents of the scattering fogs,
   The corrobboree warlike and grim;
And the lubra, who sat by the fire, on the logs,
   To watch, like a mourner, for him!
      Like a mother and mourner, for him!

Will he go, in his sleep, from these desolate lands,
   Like a chief, to the rest of his race,
With the honey-voiced Woman, who beckons, and stands,
   And stares, like a Dream, in his face!
      Like a marvellous Dream, in his face!       

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 September 1864;
and later in
Leaves from Australian Forests by Henry Kendall, 1869;
Poems of Henry Clarence Kendall by Henry Kendall, 1903;
The Golden Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1909;
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1913;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
The Bulletin (Christmas edition), 11 December 1957;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1957;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966;
This Land : An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M.M. Flynn and J. Groom, 1968;
Silence into Song: An Anthology of Australian Verse compiled by Clifford O'Brien, 1968;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry edited by Rodney Hall, 1981;
Poetry Speaks edited by Leone Peguero, 1982;
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;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Mark O'Connor, 1988;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
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;
Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence edited by Michael Ackland, 1993;
An Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ch'oe Chin-yong and Cynthia Van Den Driesen, 1995;
The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English edited by John Thieme, 1996;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
Sunlines : An Anthology of Poetry to Celebrate Australia's Harmony in Diversity edited by Anne Fairbairn, 2002;
Our Country : Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael cook, 2004; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 30, 2012 1:59 PM.

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