December 2012 Archives

On a Babe by Douglas B. W. Sladen

| No TrackBacks
What is the secret of this bud
Of pink and simple babyhood
That thrusts its head above the soil
Into this world of joy and toil?

We presage little of the shoot
That rises from the hidden root
But that leaf and stalk will follow
With the coming of the swallow.

And what its aftergrowth will be --
Whether flower or stately tree --
Only the Power that made it knows;
We can but watch it as it grows,

And, noting each unfolded leaf
The bud detaches from its sheaf,
Call back those of trees and flowers
Which we knew in other hours,

Saying that sweet carnation
Had such a budding as this one,
And yon fair lily in its youth
Just such a soft upspringing growth;  

Or that the pine so tall and strong
Grow in this wise when it was young ;
And the oak that rules the wildwood
Was as this one in its childhood.

What will this bud be--sweet or strong
As the years hasten it along?
Will it be delicate and fair,
Or rear its branches in the air?

Will it be rifled of its bloom
To decorate a gilded room?  
Or with brood trunk scorning danger
Front the rising tempest's anger?

I would that this small bud you see
Just as this moss-rose bud should be --
As sweet to scent, as full of dew,
As beautiful in shape and hue;

And as the lily free from stain,
And fresh as hedgerows after rain;
As the daisy ever-blooming,  
Radiant and unpresuming.

I would that this small bud you see
Should grow into a linden-tree;
Should put forth tender leaves in spring,
And after burst out blossoming;

Should lend in summer heat a shade
Beneath its leafy colonnade,
And each year send out fresh branches  
In green fragrant avalanches:

Or, if its fibre stouter be,
That it turn out a brave oak-tree,
Late in the leaf, in increase slow,
But match for all the winds that blow;   
Standing in green old age alone          
When all its mates are dead and gone;
Type of constancy and greatness,
Grander for its very lateness.

First published in The Queenslander, 31 December 1881

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Forest King by Ella McFadyen

| No TrackBacks
'Mid figs broad based and hoary,
   Struck deep in good, red earth,
In lawyer-latticed twilight
   The Forest King had birth.

In majesty he lorded
   The guilty depths below,
The little, trembling wattle,
   The wind-warped bungalow.

The barefoot and the orchid,
   That clambered in his arms;
The raspberry vine, red-jewelled,
   Among the sun shot palms.

The wild birds filled his branches
   With carillons of spring;
The grey trunked forest elders
   Were brothers of the King.

He held his wild dominion
   Through undisputed years;
Still in his prime of glory
   He knew the pioneers.

He saw the slab-built cabin,
   A lone star through the night,
And heard the axeblade ringing
   Before the dawn was white.

He saw the ring-barked giants,
   The broad-girth forest sires,
A white-limbed, ghostly army
   Stand waiting for the fires.

He saw the smoke blurred clearing
   In chill white winter nights,
Where in dead ranks his brothers
   Burned red like beacon lights.

he saw his fastness taken,
   His rugged kingdom tamed;
Along the dusty highway
   The red lantana flamed.

He saw the fertile gully
   Filled with heavy grain;
The warm, red, loamy hillside
   Head high with rustling cane.

Now round the fern-filled hollow,
   And along the long, red road,
By two and two the oxen
   Strain hard against their load.

The red dust stirs and settles,
   The long teams sway and swing;
With chains drawn taut and straining,
   They bear the Forest King!

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 30 December 1908;
and later in
Outland Born and Other Verses by Ella McFadyen, 1911.

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Sonnet: The New Year by D. Glasson

| No TrackBacks
It rides upon the air, insistent, clear,
   The grave carillion's melancholy chime,  
That knells the passing of another year.  
   Another milestone on the road of Time
Has slipped into the silent Past, ere we
   Had well descried it loom from out the night
That shrouds the highway of the dim To Be,
   And, like a wraith has vanished from our sight.
But, hark! a note triumphant, unafraid,
   Steals through the singing of the throbbing bells,
Like golden sunlight, filtering through shade,
   Of hope reborn and faith its message tells,
And lo! before us, like a clean, white scroll,
   Unwinds the broad, straight roadway to our goal!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 December 1928

Author: Nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference site: Austlit

Bullocky Bill and His Old Red Team by Edward Dyson

| No TrackBacks
From a river siding, the railway town, 
Or the dull new port there three days down, 
Forward and back on the up-hill track, 
With a creak of the jinker, a ringing crack, 
Slow as a funeral, sure as steam, 
Bullocky Bill and his old red team. 

Ploughing around by the ti-tree scrub, 
Four wheels down to the creeping hub, 
Swaying they go, with their heads all low, 
Bally, and Splodger, and Spot, and Jo. 
Men in the ranges much esteem 
Bullocky Bill and his old red team. 

Worming about where the tall trees spring, 
Surging ahead when the clay bogs cling; 
A rattle of lash and of language rash 
On the narrow edge of immortal smash. 
He'd thread a bead or walk a beam, 
Bullocky Bill with his old red team. 

Climbing a ridge where the red stars ride; 
Straddling down on the other side, 
With a whistle and grind, and a scramble blind, 
And a thundering gum-tree slung behind. 
But they always get there, hill or stream, 
Bullocky Bill and his old red team. 

Engines or stamps for the mines about, 
Tools for the men who are leading out; 
Tucker, and boose, and the latest news 
Back where the bunyip stirs the ooze. 
Pioneers with the best we deem 
Bullocky Bill and his old red team.

First published in The Bulletin, 28 December 1895, and again in the same magazine on 22 April 1931, and 27 December 1983;
and later in
Rhymes From the Mines and Other Lines by Edward Dyson, 1896; and
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002.

Christmas by Robert Adams

| No TrackBacks
In the good old times of England,
   The merrie times of yore,
Our fathers kept the Christmas feast
   A dozen days or more:  
A spacious hall and ashler work 
   Was hung with evergreen,
The mistletoe from the old oak bough,
   And the holly there were seen. 

A table in the midst was spread,
   A table long and wide --
And ancient knight and lady fair 
   Were seated side by side;  
The door upon its hinges swung
   For tenant and for lord,
And sparkling eyes and ruddy cheeks 
   Were ranged around the board.

The feast was in profusion spread,
   Enough for all to eat,
Hot frumenty at breakfast
   Of milk and husked meat.
Roast beef and goose and pudding
   Made up the dinner cheer;   
And everybody finished off
   With tankards of good beer.

And in the tall old chimney place
   (The glowing hearth between),
The young folks cracking nuts and jokes
   On seats of stone are seen -- 
And thus relates the chronicle :
   "The sons and daughters fair  
Made up their matches all at home,
   Nor went away to pair."

The trees bent low with glittering snows
   The frost is on the brake,
The winds held carnival show
   In many a forest lane.
But while stern winter raged without
   'Twas summer in the hail,
Where met our glorious ancestors
   To keep the festival.

A health then to the good old times
   Of tenant, page, and squire,
Of massive hall, and groaning board,
   And blazing Christmas fire --
Where youthful hearts had naught of care,
   And hoary age grew green,
And gallant knights and ladies fair
   On all the land were seen.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 27 December 1879

Author reference site: Austlit 

See also.

Earth by Hugh McCrae

| No TrackBacks
Green grows my grave in the grass,
   Somewhere....? Oh, let it be
Here in the land that I love,
   My heart's own Italy.

The bee will hum to the bud,
   And the bud will whisper to me
Of the dawn and the dew and the flood
   And the season's mystery.

The song of the brook through the stones,
   The song of the thrush through the tree,
Will mingle and marry and hush
   With the music of moonlight and sea.

And mad with their musical chant
   I know that my heaven will be
To go through the wild olden wood
   Of earth-sweet memory.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 December 1912;
and later in
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Tree by Dorothea Dowling

| No TrackBacks
The ritual of Christmas does not change.
Each year there's much the same routine,
When last year's lid is lifted from the box
Revealing tawdry tinsel, red and green,
To decorate the tree again this year;
The tarnished silver star to crown its peak,
With new adornments added to the old
Selected from the chain store through the week. 
For in the mystery of the candlelight
We feel these symbols shine as pure gold -- 
With every heart a child's at Christmas-time
Responding to this season, young and old.

Would that this childish spirit could survive
To light the burdens of the year to be,
As simple people wish  each other joy
Around the candles of their Christmas tree.

First published in The Australian Women's Weekly, 25 December 1963

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

What's Coming Up in 2013

| No TrackBacks
For a while earlier this year I had thought that this poetry reprint blog would end its run this year.  It's been a fair amount of work and my vague plans for 2013 didn't fit with the current structure. I had come to realise that I had been neglecting my long-term work on the writings of C.J. Dennis and had decided to concentrate solely on his work.

And then, of course, I had the idea that maybe I could combine the two: this blog and C.J. Dennis.

So 2013 will be a full year of Dennis: each day I will be publishing a new poem by the poet on the anniversary of the day on which it was first published.  There shouldn't be a problem with this as Dennis published so much poetry during his working life that I have multiple items to choose from each day, though I do have to admit I was worried about one day in early January when I could only find one piece.

Most of the poems I publish next year will not have been seen since their original publication which I think is a bit sad.  Hopefully you'll find something you can enjoy here next year, and, just maybe, gain a bit of an appreciation of the range of Dennis's material.  If either of those occurs I'll be happy.

Have a good festive season. 

Christmas in Exile by Mary Corringham

| No TrackBacks
Christmas, the queen of summer, nears the strand.   
The countryside is gold from end to end   
With bush and bells, that a sweet message send  
To every corner of this southern land.   

The skies are lit as with a glowing brand;   
River and sea in tints of azure blend;     
Until it seems the gods themselves unbend,   
And grant their blessings with a lavish hand.  
But I have seen the clustered berries grow 
Scarlet against the holly's glossy sheen;   
Have scattered crumbs upon a drift of snow, 
And fed stray robins on the gorse-clad green. 
Though Home is grey with cloud and winter sleet,       
I would her country ways lay at my feet.    

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 December 1927

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

God's Own by Louisa Lawson

| No TrackBacks
Beside a cupboard bare of food
   A trembling woman feebly stood,
With languid eyes in wasted face
   She looked around her cheerless place;
But "God is good," she softly said,
   As hopefully she raised her head.

The soft wind frolicked with the gress;
   The young leaves shone like burnished brass;
The flowers that grew around her door
   Cast their sweet petals on the floor,
The sparrows twittered overhead:
   "Yes, God is good," she slowly said.

"But oh! my poor heart, can it be
   That He has ceased to care for me?
Sometimes I think it must be so,
   For I have had such pain and woe,
And I not more than they," she said,
   "The sparrows -- and -- He gives them bread.

"Too weak to work, too old, too old!
   And now my poor things met be sold;
The cradle and the little chair,
   The toy box, ah! that God would spare!
I thought if I had faith He would;
   But I am starving now for food."

A whistle, loud and sharp and shrill,
   Set her weak pulses all thrill;
"Please sign it here, the postman said,
   "'Tis from the west, and registered."
"My boy," she cried, "I thought him dead.
   Aye! God is good," the woman said.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 23 December 1908;
and later in
Louisa Lawson: Collected Poems with Selected Critical Commentaries edited by L.M. Rutherford, M.E. Roughley and Nigel Spence, 1996.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyAustralian Poetry Library

See also.

Old, -- or New? by Alice Ham

| No TrackBacks
'Come into the garden, Amy, for the rooms are warm to-night, 
   And under the moonlit mangoes draw close your chair to mine.
Twenty years since we came here, with you our hearts' delight!   
   Now, your father talks of leaving our home at Wattledine. 

'Christmas is coming, dear, and my thoughts go back again 
   To all that has come and gone in this sweet bush home of ours: 
Sun and shower make the rainbow, and life is joy and pain; 
   But how could we have the fruit if God always left us the flowers?     

'Perhaps I am not ambitious, but I love the homestead so, 
   Nestled down in its grassy paddocks, with its leafy orchards green, 
And the palms and fairy orchids in the belt of scrub below; 
   With the red and white Bauhinia, and the great gray gums between. 

'A mansion in Brisbane! and fashion! Do you want it, Amy dear? 
   You are happy -- ah, yes! -- as the birds and the blossoms are gay; 
And life is wholesome and breezy, and heaven seems more near 
   Up here in the bloomy mountains, as I've been thinking to-day. 

'It was here, too, that my sister Edith became a bride, 
   Fair and good; you remember your father gave her away, 
And you were her little bridesmaid, and shook your curls with pride; 
   She waved good-bye thro' those wattles--it seems but yesterday! 

'Then the place is sacred, too, for the sake of little Will; 
   I see his smile at the slip-rail, I hear his horse's feet; 
Ah, then, how little I thought they would bring him back white and still! 
   "Don't cry, little mother--good-bye!" Yes, life is bitter-sweet, 

'And grief gives to even simple and most familiar things 
   Something holy, that broods on the places he loved so much: 
The bird's-nest ferns that he brought me, his parrots with restless wings, 
   The room that he slept in, the gun that warmed to his boyish touch. 

'As the wind is part of the music, so my home is part of me: 
   And I know that your father, Amy, sometimes feels the same. 
Tho' he talks of selling the station, perhaps it may not be, 
   For "home" means more than "affluence," and love is better than fame!'

First published in The Queenslander, 22 December 1888;
and later in
Coward or Her? Being a Collection of Poetical Works by Alice Ham, 1928.

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Teams by Henry Lawson

| No TrackBacks
A cloud of dust on the long white road;
   And the teams go creeping on,
Inch by inch with the weary load;
And by the power of the green-hide goad
   The distant goal is won.

With eyes half-shut from the blinding dust,
   And necks to the yokes bent low,
The beasts are pulling as bullocks must,
Till the shining rims of the tire-rings rust; 
   While the spokes are turning slow.

With face half hid 'neath a wide brimm'd hat
   That shades from the heat's white waves,
And shoulder'd whip with its green-hide plat, 
The driver plods with a gait like that
   Of his weary, patient slaves.

He wipes his brow, for the day is hot,
   And spits to the left with spite ;
He shouts at "Balley," and flicks at "Scot,"   
And raises dust from the back of "Spot,"  
   And spits to the dusty right.

He'll sometimes pause as a thing of form
   In front of a lonely door,
And ask for a drink, and remark "'Tis warm," 
Or say "There's signs of a thunder-storm;"
   But he seldom utters more.

But, ah! there are other scenes than these;
   And, passing his lonely home,
For weeks together the bushman sees
The teams bogg'd down o'er the axletrees,
   Or ploughing the sodden loam.

And then when the roads are at their, worst,
   The bushman's children hear
The cruel blows of the whips revers'd
While bullocks pull as their hearts would burst,  
   And bellow with pain and fear.

And thus with little of joy or rest
   Are the long, long journeys done;
And thus -- 'tis a cruel war at the best 
Is distance fought in the lonely west,
   And the dusty battles won.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 21 December 1889;
and later in
In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1900;
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1913;
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1924;
New Song in an Old Land edited by Rex Ingamells, 1943;
The Boomerang Book of Australian Poetry edited by Enid Moodie Heddle, 1956;
Songs from Lawson by Henry Lawson, 1957;
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
Bards in the Wilderness edited by Adrian Mitchell and Brian Elliott, 1970;
Poems of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1973;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984;
Henry Lawson: An Illustrated Treasury compiled by Glenys Smith, 1985;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
The Book of Australian Ballads, 1989;
A Treasury of Bush Verse by G. A. Wilkes, 1991;
Australian Bush Poems, 1991;
Classic Australian Verse edited by Maggie Pinkney, 2001;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002; and
Anthology of Bullock Poetry compiled by Janice Downes, 2006.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

The Bullocky's Xmas Carol by W.T. Goodge

| No TrackBacks
"It's a merry (bally) Christmas 
For a bullocky, by Jove; 
Gee, back, Strawberry! way there, Diamond! 
   'Nough to sicken any cove! 
Got a surplus, this 'ere Gov'ment! 
   If they had to drive these loads 
They would spend their bally surplus 
   On these (bally) country roads!" 

"Mind that (bally) saplin' Baldy! 
Strike me pink, but this is sweet!   
They must think the only roadway 
   Is in (bally) George's Street! 
It's a merry (bally) Christmas 
   But it ain't no (bally) joke; 
With the roadways left in this way 
   For a bally country bloke."

First published in The Queanbeyan Age, 20 December 1907

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Poetry Library

See also.

Gorse in Bloom by Mary Hannay Foott

| No TrackBacks
A steep red road in a tropic town, 
   Shut, end and end, by the timbered range; 
A peep of palms with their orchid crown; 
   And the perfume of scrub plants, rich and strange. 

No gleam of ocean; no glimpse of plain; 
   No far horizon of lessening blue; 
Nor breeze from the downs; nor breath from the main;   
   Nor the first star's place when the moon is new. 

Small garden spaces, all square and square, 
   By the gravelly footpath's scanty room; 
And the roar of the quartz-mill everywhere; 
   And here--the Highland gorse in bloom! 

The faint far odour, that came of old 
   With the scent of heather and fir and the sea! 
The green dark spines and the blooms of gold! 
   How sweet, how fair is it all to me! 

In the North 'tis fragrant when flowers are dead; 
   In the North 'tis faithful when swallows go; 
On the Arctic blast its gold is shed -- 
   The last-left blossoms that brave the snow. 

One spray for my own ere I pass again, 
   Whither dreams I dreamed have no place nor room-- 
The dreams that a moment came back amain 
   At the sudden sight of the gorse in bloom.

First published in The Queenslander, 19 December 1891;
and later in
The Bookfellow, 29 April 1899.

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

See also.

Hunter's Beach, Balmoral by Clarinda Parkes

| No TrackBacks
Green wood and silver sea, and, these between, 
The sands that are their golden bordering, 
Make up, no doubt, as sweetly fair a scene 
As ever poet took in hand to sing.
But, for this while, I feel inclined to quarrel
With those who chose to call the spot Balmoral.

Our town is greatly favored by the fate
Which placed these lovely bays so near at hand; 
And I, with thousands more, appreciate
The varied beauties of their shore and strand,
And most the fretted rocks, like branching coral, 
Which deck the water-frontage of Balmoral.

Yet 'tis not sweet Loch Muick, this bitter sea; 
And though the tree-clad hills wave fair and far, 
Where are the braes above the twining Dee?
Where loud Glasalit, and towering Lochnagar? 
About as like as cabbage is to sorrel
Is its Australian namesake to Balmoral.

Here I am forced to overstate the case,   
Imputing undeserved excess of blame.
I only wish to say I think the place 
Might have received a more appropriate name;
But rhyme compels to call the deed immoral
Which gave to it the title of Balmoral.

But let us shun dissension. If you please,
Let me suggest that as the scene before you
(This Macaronic rhyme was Calverley's)
Is surely "nulla non donanda lauru," 
Let Scotland and Australia share the laurel,
By leaf and leaf, 'twixt this and that Balmoral.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 18 December 1897

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Man from Ironbark by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson

| No TrackBacks
It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,
He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down.
He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to drop,
Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber's shop.
"'Ere! shave my beard and whiskers off, I'll be a man of mark,
I'll go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark."

The barber man was small and flash, as barbers mostly are,
He wore a strike-your-fancy sash, he smoked a huge cigar;
He was a humorist of note and keen at repartee,
He laid the odds and kept a "tote", whatever that may be,
And when he saw our friend arrive, he whispered, "Here's a lark!
Just watch me catch him all alive, this man from Ironbark."

There were some gilded youths that sat along the barber's wall.
Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all;
To them the barber passed the wink, his dexter eyelid shut,
"I'll make this bloomin' yokel think his bloomin' throat is cut."
And as he soaped and rubbed it in he made a rude remark:
"I s'pose the flats is pretty green up there in Ironbark."

A grunt was all reply he got; he shaved the bushman's chin,
Then made the water boiling hot and dipped the razor in.
He raised his hand, his brow grew black, he paused awhile to gloat,
Then slashed the red-hot razor-back across his victim's throat:
Upon the newly-shaven skin it made a livid mark -
No doubt it fairly took him in - the man from Ironbark.

He fetched a wild up-country yell might wake the dead to hear,
And though his throat, he knew full well, was cut from ear to ear,
He struggled gamely to his feet, and faced the murd'rous foe:
"You've done for me! you dog, I'm beat! one hit before I go!
I only wish I had a knife, you blessed murdering shark!
But you'll remember all your life the man from Ironbark."

He lifted up his hairy paw, with one tremendous clout
He landed on the barber's jaw, and knocked the barber out.
He set to work with nail and tooth, he made the place a wreck;
He grabbed the nearest gilded youth, and tried to break his neck.
And all the while his throat he held to save his vital spark,
And "Murder! Bloody murder!" yelled the man from Ironbark.

A peeler man who heard the din came in to see the show;
He tried to run the bushman in, but he refused to go.
And when at last the barber spoke, and said "'Twas all in fun--
'Twas just a little harmless joke, a trifle overdone."
"A joke!" he cried, "By George, that's fine; a lively sort of lark;
I'd like to catch that murdering swine some night in Ironbark."

And now while round the shearing floor the list'ning shearers gape,
He tells the story o'er and o'er, and brags of his escape.
"Them barber chaps what keeps a tote, By George, I've had enough,
One tried to cut my bloomin' throat, but thank the Lord it's tough."
And whether he's believed or no, there's one thing to remark,
That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 December 1892, and again in the same magazine on 23 December 1980, 22 December 1981, and 23 December 1986;
and later in
The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses by A.B. Paterson, 1895;
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;
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; 
The Penguin Book of Australian Humorous Verse edited by Bill Scott, 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;
The Bushwackers Australian Song Book edited by Jan Wositzky and Dobe Newton, 1988;
The Banjo's Best-Loved Poems edited by Rosamund Campbell and Philippa Harvie, 1989;
A Collection of Australian Bush Verse, 1989;
A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson by A.B. Paterson, 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 Butterss, 1993;
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; and
The Penguin Book of Australian Poetry edited by John Kinsella, 2009.

The Rain on the Grave by P. Luftig (Peter Airey)

| No TrackBacks
'Neath the torrid sun of the Western plain 
   There lieth a dear one dead; 
O! blue were his eyes and fair the curls 
   That clustered round his head.

There were none to smooth his pillow down, 
   To close his eyelids dear; 
No sound of woman's weeping fell, 
   There fell no burning tear. 

But far, where the little homestead lies, 
   An old man's hair is gray; 
His heart is faint with a deadly fear 
   For the son so far away. 

And the mother wails her absent one, 
   As Rachel did of old-- 
'No more I'll see his eyes of blue,   
   Or dress his locks of gold'; 

While a winsome maiden bows her head 
   As the big brown eyes run o'er -- 
'And though my love lies low in death, 
   I will love him evermore.' 

And the tears that fast and faster fall 
   The kind heaven lifts on high, 
And forms of the drops a cloudlet pale 
   That floats to the Western sky; 

And the tears fall soft from the cloudlet down 
   Afar on the dear one's head; 
That he lie not alone on the Western plain, 
   Unwept--among the dead.

First published in The Queenslander, 16 December 1893

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Pale Neighbour by John Shaw Neilson

| No TrackBacks
Over the road she lives not far,
   My neighbour pale and thin:
"Sweet is the world!" she cries, "how sweet
   To keep on living in!"

Her heart it is a right red heart
   That cannot stoop to pine;
Her hand-clasp is a happiness,
   Her welcome is a wine.

Love, she will have it, is a lilt
   From some lost comedy
Played long ago when the white stars
   Lightened the greenery.

Ever she talks of earth and air
   and sunlit junketing:
Gaily she says, "I know I shall
   Be dancing in the Spring!"

Almost I fear her low, low voice
   As one may fear the moon,
As one may fear too faint a sound
   In an old uncanny tune.

... Over the road 'twill not be long --
   Clearly I see it all
Ere ever the red days come up
   Or the pale grasses fall.

There will be black upon us, and
   Within our eyes a dew:
We shall be walking neighbourly
   As neighbours -- two and two.

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 December 1913;
and later in
The Lone Hand, 16 September 1919;
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson by John Shaw Neilson, 1934; and
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981.

The Old Ngahauranga Road by Will Lawson

| No TrackBacks
Now, let the leaders ease their load --
   Their foaming flanks are white --
For on the old Ngahauranga Road
   The brakes will hiss and bite,
As down the easy grade a-swlng,
   The big coach hums along.
Come, throw aside all care, and sing
   A rousing coaching song.
The slackened trace-chains jangle clear,
   The swingle-bars join in,
And from each piece of honest gear
   There rings a merry din.
The heavy brakes have gripped the road,
   The tyres are gleaming bright,
And down the old Ngahauranga Road 
   The world goes well to-night.

Above the Gorge's rugged walls
   Shine star and star and star,
And, rich and pure, sweet music falls --
   "Under the Deodar.*'
It mingles with the whirr of wheels,
   Is lost and found again,
And every man among us feels
   It's good to be just men --
To feel the leaping pulses beat
   A-swaying round a curve,
While eyes glow soft and lips are sweet,
   And nerves are solid "nerve."
Who cares if his small row is hoed?
   Who cares if cake be dough?
When down the old Ngahauranga Road
   We let the big bays go.

Their eager hoofs ring hard and clear --
   They're pulling all they can.
A man to hold the brake and steer,
   Must be -- well, just a man.
And on these high-box seats, I trow,
   Are girls whose hearts beat strong,
As, lurching o'er a gulf below, 
   We sing our careless song.
The moon peeps shyly round a peak
   That points against the sky,
Warning the night wind not to speak
   Till our white lamps rush by. 
With tossing heads, in scorn of goad,
   In all their strength and grace,
Adown the old Ngahauranga Road
   Our four great coachers race.

Now double-bank the heavy brakes,
   To slow her round this bluff;
A bridges planking throbs and shakes,
   The driver's voice sounds gruff, 
As steadily, his leaders' chests
   Skirting the outer rail,
He swings them -- so! -- with reefing crests,
   And gives them rein to sail,
With every strong hoof beating hard,
   Along a level "straight,"
Where every yard is just a yard,
   And no horse feels the weight. 
Brave eyes flash bright in Love's own code,
   That only lovers know,
When down the old Ngahauranga Road,
   He lets his big bays go.

The leaders' stride is lengthening,
   The wheelers follow suit; 
The driver sways inboard to swing
   The brake-bar from his boot,
Ahead of us there gleams the sea --
   The grades are easy now,
The wheels cry out in ecstasy.
   And spin, and race, and plough;
The tall trees tell us, whispering low,
   How, with hot brakes a-scream,
Cobb's coaches raced here long ago,
   Before the days of steam --
Five Yankee lamps like jewels glowed,
   And five staunch horses tore
Along the old Ngahauranga Road,
   In those brave days of yore.

The big bays' hoofs  are ringing clear --
   They're pulling all they know,
A man can just hang on and steer, 
   And let the beggars go,
No fretting thong is on their hides,
   No rough hand on the rein;
They'll pull and pull, with foaming sides,
   And pull and pull again.
Song mingles with the roll of wheels,
   Ascending to the stars,
The high coach pitches, sways, and reels,
   With clashing swingle-bars.
Who cares for debts unpaid, and owed --
   If wool be high or low?
We're on the old Ngahauranga Road.
   Ho! Let the beauties go!

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 14 December 1904;
and later in
The Bulletin, 26 April 1906.

Author's Note: Pronounced "Now-rang-ah."

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography 

See also.

Burns by Charles Harpur

| No TrackBacks
My own wild Burns! these rude-wrought Rhymes of thine
In golden worth are like the unshapely coin
Of some new Realm, yet pure as from the mine; 
And art may well be spared with such alloy 
As dims the bullion to improve the die.

I love the truths of Art, but more indeed
The simplest truths of Nature; -- and I read, 
To find her visibly enthroned on all
His Muse hath builded like a fiery wall
Round national Faith, and patriotic Pride,
And Love and Valor, both at Beauty's side.
Yea, more his outward rudeness doth impress 
Upon me still, his innate strengthiness: 
Even as imperfect features oft enhance
The intrinsic power of some fine Countenance. 

How various too, the spirit of his Lyre -- 
How many-hued his soul's poetic fire!
Oft in one Song such quantities we find
Mingled, as most are several in their kind;
Humour, and Scorn, and Pathos, with a reach 
Above all effort -- each exalting each!
Yea, Terror wedding its own sense of evil, 
To mother Pity -- even for the Devil.

But best he moves to tears, or wakes such sighs 
As fan the vital fire in Beauty's lustrous eyes!
Hark! where the " winding Nith" -- the Axton -- Clyde -- 
Rave downward, or in gleaming quiet glide, 
How Passion's very soul keeps burning by 
In his wild Verse, from every dingle nigh!
Or by the "Connie Doon," or "gurgling Air,"
What heart-sweet memories, like perfumes, there 
Re-breathe of bloomy Joys untimely shed,
And Love that followed the beloved Dead
To Heaven! -- and then, while Pity weepeth, O, 
Who would exchange the luxury of her woe,
For all the pleasures that the heartless know? 

Then, should we need relief, -- another page 
Shall blow the trumpet of his warlike rage! 
And vilest of the villain Herd is he,
Who to his battle-dirge can listener be, 
Nor feel that he could die for Liberty!
Or who, whilst volleys forth the charging lay, 
Re-voicing Bannockburne's all-glorious day, 
From his exalted Manhood then not spurns
Whate'er is traitorous -- with a shout for Burns! 

And now, in thought, I track with steps of fear 
The noble Peasant in his wild career.
The haven of his Youth is left, -- the sea
Of Life is loudening all around, -- and She,
Who 'mid its perilous breakers might have stood 
Twixt him and Evil, influencing for Good, --
His first sweet Love -- She is not! -- Heaven looks bright 
Still, and the Hills laugh round him for delight; 
But ah! beneath the Sun he finds no more 
The Eden where his Genius dwelt before! 
And does he wander by his native Air?
A spirit of gladness hath gone up, even there! 
The more he mixes with his Kind in mirth,
The more he feels the homelessness of Earth;
Till Life's lost charm seems beckoning him afar 
In the white beauty of each lovely star. 
She is not; -- only sweeter is the tone
Of his wild Lyre for the wild loss thus known.

But storying thus with love his native Streams 
Thus, by the charm of his poetic dreams,
Breathing suggestions that exalt and thrill 
Into the spirit of each warrior Hill -- 
Yea, beaming Scotia's universal face
With mental beauty and affectionate grace. 
Yet, did he die the victim of Excess?
Alas! even Poesie, by her mute distress,
Admits the blot -- nor could she save her Son! 
Her star-bright Rob, her love-anointed One! 

Whilst yet the Bard, by Fortune unsubdued, 
Had only, like a wild bird of the Wood,
Sung his own simple joys -- then happy, being good; --
Ere he had sounded the World's heart, and spurned 
The soulless tone its hollowness returned,-- 
His habitude how temperate then we find, 
From a self-pleasing tunefulness of mind. 

But afterwards, that such a Being, so 
Alive to joy and sensitive to woe;  
With all in sympathy of rich and rare 
Flushing his soul, as in the evening air
A western cloud grows gifted to the sense
With all the Sun's unspeakable affluence; --
Endowed by Genius as with wings of flame,  
To mount against the burning eye of Fame,
Yet "bounded in a nutshell" -- or but wooed 
By Fortune from his barren solitude,
Just to be stared at by her minions vain-- 
A sort of mental monster, newly ta'en!
That such a Being should resort at length 
To whatsoever might repair the strength 
Of ruined Joy, a moment; or inspire  
The heart of dying Hope, though with fallacious fire! 
Was, I believe, howe'er the truth appal, 
Almost inevitably natural.

Ah, Scotia! it behoved thee then, to guard 
The worldly welfare of thy Peasant Bard!
But no, thou wouldst not -- and thy gifted Son 
So placed, again the like career should run! 
Again be naked left to Fortune's slurs,
A hound-like Spirit in a Land of curs. 

But ah! if such may always be the fate 
Of Genius native to a low estate,
For Mercy's sake-nay, for the sake of Burns,
Whose spirit, methinks, tow'rds each poor Brother yearns. 
Away the mask of kindred let us fling,
At once, and brand it as an outcast thing; 
Above communion with the rude by Mind 
Exalted, and yet shunned by the refined.
Yea, let this warning in its face be hurled, 
As the collective verdict of the World:
   Enrich the Age with beauty if you will, 
   But you must do so at your peril still;
   The sole reward's a life-long lack of bread. 
   And lastly, a most desolate death-bed.
   And then, some century after, when the loss 
   And agony of Genius, on the cross
   Of Passion, shall have sunk into a tale
   Wherewith to spice the tavern-lounger's ale;
   Then shall your lowly Grave, long grass o'ergrown 
   Become a national Sentiment -- in Stone.
   Yes, then, a costly Monument shall grace
   And guard it in the Land -- a sacred Place.

O, must not Scorn have reeled with laughter -- yes, 
Even until shocked at her own bitterness, 
To see by Scotland such a work up piled 
In honor of its so neglected Child?
But there it stands -- a Type (at least to me) 
Of intellectual hypocrisy.
Sad Memory, beholding, from it turns,
And murmurs -- What! a Monument to Burns. 
No: 'tis a sordid scoff perpetual made; 
A final insult to his injured Shade.
The thankless Country that denied him bread,
Now gives this Stone -- for he is safely dead!

First published in The Weekly Register of Politics, Facts and General Literature, 13 December 1845;
and later in
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 30 September 1846;
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: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyAustralian Poetry Library

See also.

Our Corrugated Iron Tank by James Hackston (Hal Gye)

| No TrackBacks
Our tank stood on a crazy stand,
Bare to the burning sun,
White hot as glares the desert sand,
And dismal to the eye.
Its lid was like a rakish hat,
The tap bent all awry,
And with a drip so constant that
It almost dripped when dry.

It was a most convenient tank
Wherein most things could fall;
Where snakes came from the bush and drank,
And rabbits used to call,
The mice committed suicide,
The gum leaves sank to rest,
And in it possums dropped and died
And hornets made their nest.

But stark within my memory
I see it once again
When we all looked at it anxiously --
Days when we hoped for rain;
I hear the hollow sounds it made,
Like some prophetic drum,
As I tapped rung on rung, afraid
Of dreadful days to come,

When mother in despair would pray
As low the water sank:
Four rungs, three rungs, two rungs, and, aye,
How miserly we drank;
And there was none for face and hands,
Waste was a wicked thing,
There in the baked and parching lands,
With hope our only spring.

Next came the fatal "One rung left!"
(How cruel words can be!)
As we all stood for joys bereft,
Dumb in out misery:
And then I tapped the tank in pain --
Those knells of drought and doom:
Our tank at last gone dry again,
Our home cast down in gloom;

But, oh, the joy that filled our hearts
When came the bounteous rain
And the drain-pipe sang in fits and starts
And we filled the tank again!
We felt as if we'd riches won,
That life again was sweet;
And overjoyed then, everyone,
We even washed our feet!

First published in The Bulletin, 12 December 1956;
and later in
Favourite Australian Poems edited by Ian Mudie, 1963; and
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987.

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Bullocky Bill's Experience by Allan F. Wilson

| No TrackBacks
I was a careless countryman,
   Just fresh from out the scrub,
Until I was induced to join
   The new athletic club,
Which I reckon quite suffices
   To explain the reason why
I wears a plaster on my cheek,
   A beefsteak on my eye.

The first time I attended
   I was standing at the bar,
And watching what the "fancy" term
   An "amicable spar."
When someone jogged my elbow,
   And a bull-necked kind of chap
Proposed that he and I should have
   A friendly little "scrap."

I'd no kind friend to warn me,
   So incautiously consented.
I never yet did aught that I
   So fervently repented.
I hear him say, "Put up your 'ands!"
   And then I knew no more,
But when I came to life I was
   A-weltering in my gore.

How often have I wished that I
   Had left that club alone.
My head feels like a pumpkin,
   I've an ache in every bone.
My nose is broke, my teeth are loose,
   And I can scarcely see.
I pass: I'm off this game -- no more
   Athletic clubs for me.

No, nevermore I'll pass that door --
   That is, if I survive;
To-morrow I withdraw my name
   If I am still alive.
In this here role of chopping-block
   I fail to see the fun.
I've had my share, henceforth I swear
   Athletic clubs I'll shun.

Oh, if a kindly Providence
   Would gratify my whim,
I'd love to yoke the bull-necked chap,
   And drop the thing on him.
I'd pay him back with interest
   For what he's done to me;
I'd teach him what bull-punchin' means,
   I'm game to guarantee.

If I but had him in the team,
    His neck beneath the yoke,
He'd find old Bill can still infuse
   Some strength into his stroke.
And when his tender cuticle
   Began to chip and fly,
He'd p'raps repent the monument when
   he popped me in the eye.

Ah, well, who knows? Some day, perhaps
   (Heaven send it may come true),
He'll come a-moochin' round the bush
   In search of work to do.
And if it should be my good luck
   To drop across him there,
I'll bet a merry quid I'd find
   Some way of getting square.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 11 December 1906

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

When Stock Go By by Harry "Breaker" Morant

| No TrackBacks
Ah me!  How clearly they come back -
Those golden days of long ago,
When down the droughty Bogan track
Tom came with stock from Ivanhoe.

The cattle passed our homestead gate,
Beside our well I watched them pass,
While Dad was in a fearful state
About his water and his grass.

Tom rode a bonny dark haired nag;
He wore a battered cabbage-tree;
And as I filled our water-bag,
He came and asked a drink from me.

Tom said that drink was just like wine;
He said my eyes were soft and brown;
He said there were no eyes like mine
From Dandaloo to Sydney Town.

I watched him with a trembling lip,
Yet little thought I then that he
Who asked a drink from me that trip,
Would next trip ask my Dad for me!

Tom's droving days long since are done;
The wet tear oft has dimmed his eye;
For days when I was wood and won
Come back to me - when stock go by.

First published in The Bulletin, 10 December 1903, and again in the same magazine on 1 February, 1950, and 22 December 1973;
and later in
This Land: An Anthology of Australian Poetry for Young People edited by M.M. Flynn and J. Groom; and
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980.
Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

When Dad Drives Home from Town by Edward S. Sorenson

| No TrackBacks
When Dad goes into town he takes 
   The old selection dray,
And carefully attends the brakes, 
   While dawdling all the way;
But when he's interviewed the shops,
   And liquor'd at "The Crown" --
You bet there's no such thing as stops
   As Dad drives home from town.

A careful man he starts away,
   All watchfulness and joy;
"Now, mind your pinny, Sis," he'll say;
   "Don't soil your coat, me boy;"
"Take care there, Tom, you don't fall out;"
   And "Minnie, do sit down!"
But all who will may roll about
   When Dad drives home from town.

And roll we do, by gum, we do;
   And bump from side to side;
We yell and howl -- and so would you
   If fated thus to ride;
'Tis over logs and foul of stumps,
   And knocking saplings down,
For waddles ply and Spanker jumps
   When Dad drives home from town.

The kangaroos beat right and left,
The 'possums rush for trees,
As Dad stands up like one bereft,
With coat tails in the breeze;
While Spanker's shod hoofs clout and ring,
   And youngsters grasp and frown;
Dad's hurry's quite astonishing
   When driving home from town.

The tail-board was the first to go,
   And with it went the toys;
Then one by one the girls dropped low,
   And after them the boys;
While 'cross the creek he dashed, and then
  "Hold tight," he cried, "or drown!"
'Tis really interesting when
   The "Guv'nor" drives from town.

We're holding tight-to mother earth,
   A-sprawl in twos and throes,
While clocking cart wheels drown our mirth,
   Till swallowed in the trees.
Then, gathering spoil from log and rut, 
   With swags addressed "J. Brown," 
We "pad the hoof" to Bargo Hut,
   While Dad drives home from town.

A slush-lamp at the window burns,
   To guide the travellers back;
It dies and glows as Spanker turns
   The windings of the track;
And mother hastens towards the sound
   To throw the slipralls down --
She knows what whirls the wheels around
   When Dad comes home from town.

With empty cart, and minus hat,
   He draws the reins a-foam; 
In Indian file across the fiat
   The "kids" come toddling home -- 
With packages and bags a-back,
   With mother's boots and gown,
And other things that blaze the track
   When Dad drives home from town.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 9 December 1903

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

When London Calls by Victor J. Daley

| No TrackBacks
They leave us -- artists, singers, all --
   When London calls aloud,
Commanding to her Festival
   The gifted crowd.

She sits beside the ship-choked Thames,
   Sad, weary, cruel, grand;
Her crown imperial gleams with gems
   From many a land.

From overseas, and far away,
   Come crowded ships and ships --
Grim-faced she gazes on them; yes,
   With scornful lips.

The garden of the earth is wide;
   Its rarest blooms she picks
To deck her board, this haggard-eyed

Sad, sad is she, and yearns for mirth:
   With voice of golden guile
She lures men from the ends of earth
   To make her smile.

The student of wild human ways
   In wild new lands; the sage
With new great thoughts; the bard whose lays
   Bring youth to age;

The painter young whose pictures shine
   With colours magical,
The singer with the voice divine --
   She lures them all.

But all their new is old to her
   Who bore the Anakim;
She gives them gold or Charon's fare
   As suits her whim.

Crowned Ogress -- old, and sad, and wise --
   She sits with painted face
And hard, imperious, cruel eyes
   In her high place.

To him who for her pleasure lives,
   And makes her wish his goal,
A rich Tarpeian gift she gives --
   That slays his soul.

The story-teller from the Isles
   Upon the Empire's rim,
With smiles she welcomes - and her smiles
   Are death to him.

For Her, whose pleasure is her law,
   In vain the shy heart bleeds --
The Genius with the Iron Jaw
   Alone succeeds.

And when the Poet's lays grow bland,
   And urbanised, and prim --
She stretches forth a jewelled hand
   And strangles him.

She sits beside the ship-choked Thames,
   With Sphinx-like lips apart --
Mistress of many diadetus --
   Death in her heart.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 December 1900;
and later in
Wine and Roses by Victor J. Daley, 1911;
The Lone Hand, January 1912;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
The Penguin Book of Australian Satirical Verse edited by Phillip Neilsen, 1986;
The Sting in the Wattle: Australian Satirical Verse edited by Phillip Neilsen, 1993;
London Was Full of Rooms edited by Tully Barnett, Rick Hosking, S.C. Harrex, Nena Bierbaum, and Graham Tulloch, 1998; and
Southerly, Vol. 71 No. 1 2011.

December by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks
Unceremoniously heeling Spring,
Over the creek and up the mountainside,
Soft, snowy flocks of flannel flowers outstride 
Grevillea and heath. Shrill crickets sing 
Summer's blithe diapason, and birds wing
The sky in full-fledged confidence of pride.
While gaunt gum trees, bud by bud multiplied, 
Cream into tumultuous blossoming.

Gallant December takes the bush by storm, 
Darting hot-foot between the underbrush
In ti-tree white. Pink-tipped, the air foretells, 
Far off, how swiftly other blossoms form. . . 
Suddenly hills and glens and ridges blush
Crimson with Christmas bush and Christmas bells.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 December 1937

Orara by Henry Kendall

| No TrackBacks
The strong sob of the chafing stream
   That seaward fights its way
Down crags of glitter, dells of gleam,
   Is in the hills to-day.

But far and faint, a grey-winged form
   Hangs where the wild lights wane --
The phantom of a bygone storm,
   A ghost of wind and rain.

The soft white feet of afternoon
   Are on the shining meads,
The breeze is as a pleasant tune
   Amongst the happy reeds.

The fierce, disastrous, flying fire,
   That made the great caves ring,
And scarred the slope, and broke the spire,
   Is a forgotten thing.

The air is full of mellow sounds,
   The wet hill-heads are bright,
And down the fall of fragrant grounds,
   The deep ways flame with light.

A rose-red space of stream I see,
   Past banks of tender fern;
A radiant brook, unknown to me
   Beyond its upper turn.

The singing, silver life I hear,
   Whose home is in the green,
Far-folded woods of fountains clear,
   Where I have never been.

Ah, brook above the upper bend,
   I often long to stand
Where you in soft, cool shades descend
   From the untrodden land!

Ah, folded woods, that hide the grace
   Of moss and torrents strong,
I often wish to know the face
   Of that which sings your song!

But I may linger, long, and look
   Till night is over all:
My eyes will never see the brook,
   Or sweet, strange waterfall.

The world is round me with its heat,
   And toil, and cares that tire;
I cannot with my feeble feet
   Climb after my desire.

But, on the lap of lands unseen,
   Within a secret zone,
There shine diviner gold and green
   Than man has ever known.

And where the silver waters sing
   Down hushed and holy dells,
The flower of a celestial Spring --
   A tenfold splendour, dwells.

Yea, in my dream of fall and brook
   By far sweet forests furled,
I see that light for which I look
   In vain through all the world --

The glory of a larger sky
   On slopes of hills sublime,
That speak with God and morning, high
   Above the ways of Time!

Ah! haply in this sphere of change
   Where shadows spoil the beam,
It would not do to climb that range
   And test my radiant Dream.

The slightest glimpse of yonder place,
   Untrodden and alone,
Might wholly kill that nameless grace,
   The charm of the unknown.

And therefore, though I look and long,
   Perhaps the lot is bright
Which keeps the river of the song
   A beauty out of sight.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 6 December 1879;
and later in
Songs from the Mountains by Henry Kendall, 1880;
The Oxford Book of Australian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R.H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1957;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966;
Bards in the Wilderness edited by Brian Elliott and Adrian Mitchell, 1970;
The Collins Book of Australian Poetry compiled by Rodney Hall, 1981;
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1988;
Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence edited by Michael Ackland, 1993; and
Australian Verse: An Oxford Anthology edited by John Leonard, 1998.

Mary Jane by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
["On glancing at any morning paper, and comparing the list of 'Persons Wanted' with that of 'Situations Wanted,' one realises how very much greater the demand is than the supply. Especially is this observed with regard to the much discussed domestic servant." - News item.] 

Prithee, hearken to our ditty, 
We are objects for your pity, 
We have scoured the blessed city, 
   We have searched with might and main, 
We are worn and weak and weary, 
And our eyes upon the dreary 
Search grow watery and bleary -- 
   Oh, where are you, Mary Jane! 

Underneath the "Persons Wanted," 
Baits and privileges we've vaunted, 
And the "Registries" we've haunted, 
   Yea, we've haunted them in vain; 
You can have alternate Fridays, 
All the holidays and high days, 
We will borrow, beg, and buy days, 
   Just to give you, Mary Jane. 

Followers within the kitchen 
You can have -- big cops, an' sich, an' 
Anyone you feel like hitchin' 
   To your regal, courtly train; 
All the missus's best bonnets 
You can have, and finger-sonnets 
On our Lipp, or thump upon its 
   Patient keyboard, Mary Jane! 

Oh, the kitchen range is dirty, 
And the "boss" is growing "shirty," 
And there's fully five-and-thirty 
   Smudges on the window pane; 
Plates unwashed and dinners burning, 
While our suit you're coldly spurning, 
Prithee, sweet one, heed our yearning, 
   Oh, where are you, Mary Jane! 

First published in The Gadfly, 5 December 1906

Protest of the Elders by S. Elliott Napier

| No TrackBacks
Oh, Father Time, we ask politely -- 
But still we think we ask it rightly -- 
If you will tell us what's the reason 
Why you, in your sere wintry season,
So wantonly and indiscreetly
Reverse the regular rules completely? 
Why must you so defy all Nature,
You curious, old, "cumstary crature," 
And as we all are older getting
A quicker pace be always setting?
When we were young and wanted hurry 
We couldn't put you in a flurry;
The more the rage for haste then caught us 
The more you'd emulate the tortoise,  
And, disregarding protests wholly,
Would ever crawl and crawl more slowly.
But now, when age would welcome leisure, 
In break-neck speed you take a pleasure. 
An hour's not born before it's dying,
You've taught the years the art of flying;
And, faith! they've proved the aptest scholars 
And race like Yankees after dollars.
You know you really "shouldn't orter;"
Our days are short-why make them shorter? 
Don't drive your worn-out hack so quickly; 
He's broken-kneed and breathing thickly.
And is, indeed -- his plumes grown scanty -- 
No Pegasus, but Rosinante;
And yet, the way you try his paces, 
He might be entered for the races!
And you yourself, you sly old sinner!
You neither younger grow nor thinner;
You must be told, it you don't know it, 
You're getting old and ought to show it. 
We wonder at you, father-certes! 
You're not a Roland or Laertes
To fill the stage in reckless fashion 
With victims of a youthful passion, 
But, like the latter's prosy father,
Are soft and stout and senile rather.
So, therefore, as you should, "go aisy," 
And, as you climb the years, be lazy. 
It's very well at one and twenty, 
But you are old-festina lente!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 December 1926

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Child Song - Sunset Bay by David McKee Wright

| No TrackBacks
Little wavelets, curly-wet, sipping at our toes,
This is pretty Sunset Bay, as everybody knows,
White foot, brown foot, little fishes' tails --
Oh, there's lots of laughing water where the big ship sails!

Little wavelets, curly-wet, do you go to school?
Do you like the sands to shear all your pinky wool?
Red light, gold light, little nibbled moon --
All the world's a cherry tart and no one has a spoon.

Little wavelets, curly-wet, turn and run away,
Thank you for a merry splash, come another day!
Brown head, gold head, little fishes' fins --
Oh, the sky is catching bed-time upon small star pins!

First published in The Bulletin, 3 December 1914;
and later in
Selections from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

To the Daughter of Australia by Henry Halloran

| No TrackBacks
Bright are thine eyes, star-scorning,
   Fair daughter of the South, 
The roseate hues of morning
   Are on thy cheek and mouth,
And thoughts of Paradise repose 
About thy bosom's snows.

A dream of beauty wandering o'er
   Some poet's raptured brain,
Thy form of grace might well restore,
   Never to part again :-
A form which sculptors might behold, 
Then scorn their art as cold.

Daughter! profusely dower'd,--
   Rise high o'er Beauty's dower,
And, tho' midst roses bower'd,  
   Assume thy righteous power; 
Shape with triumphant hand 
The glories of thy land.  

For, in thy power of Beauty,  
   Thou has a vast control,--
To guard the path of Duty,  
   And to exalt the soul,-- 
To bid our youth aspire,
And glow with patriot fire.

Old Greece, old Rome, and Britain,
   Have annals which relate,--
Brave men have truly written,--
What glorifies a State; 
Be it thy pride to raise
Our youth to Glory's ways.

The sordid heart can never 
   A patriot breast inflame;  
Fear stays each high endeavour,
And slopes the path to shame :-- 
Injustice -- leprous taint--
Makes the heart foul and faint.  

Let not the mean of spirit
   Approach thy virgin hand, 
Altho' he may inherit  
The riches of the land,-- 
Nor let thy bright eyes smile 
On cruelty or guile.  

Nor beeves nor treasures hoarded,
   Should shield from woman's scorn 
The base, the false, the sordid,--
   Altho' of princes born;
Yet should her smile make glad, 
The high-souled peasant lad.

Teach thy young smiling brother,
   True -- chivalrous to be,--
And, when thou art a mother,
   Teach those around thy knee,
How great their country's claim, 
How high a patriot's fame.

First published in The Empire, 2 December 1851

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Through Wild Beast Wood by Dulcie Deamer

| No TrackBacks
The path lies upward. . . Sometimes there seems none.
   And then one stands like a sleep-walker stayed
By the stark leavings of murder done --
   A rigid thing in unseen blood arrayed. 

And an amazement ghastlier than fear
   Descends. . . What now? These trees, tall as the sky,
Blacker than darkness, are so still, so near,
   That, in this circle, will and movement die.

Wind with a scent of wolves goes sidelong past;
   And that's the rotten-sweetness of hid death. 
Comfort me with Thy rod and staff at last,
   Oh, Spirit! Or is that decay Thy breath?

Where is the path that leads from Wild Beast Wood?
   My sword is broken, and my guide is night. 
How shall the lustful panther be withstood?
   Mortality speaks softly left and right.

Death has me utterly. Oh. Dragon-dark.
   Seize -- make an end! Despair has closed my eyes.
And still no touch or whisper. . . . Ah -- but, hark!
   What dew of voices dropping from the skies. 

With "Gloria in excelsls"? -- and the trees,
   Each an archangel robed in midnight blue, 
And wolf and panther fawning at the knees  
   Of her who holds up Life for death to view!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 December 1934

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2012 is the previous archive.

January 2013 is the next archive.

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


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en