Old, -- or New? by Alice Ham

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'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.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 22, 2012 8:15 AM.

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