The Forest King by Ella McFadyen

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'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.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 30, 2012 9:08 AM.

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