The Red-Gum Country by Kathleen Dalziel

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I wish I were back in the red-gum country,
I'm weary of cliffs and of sand and sea,
   And the tang of sea wind over the dunes,
   In the thin, dry grasses piping its tunes,
And of opal shallow and ruffling reach and rush of the spring-tides running free.

I'm sick in my heart for the timbered hollows;
For shimmering distance of gold and blue;
   For the grey old hills, and the roads of red,
   Where the Wannon sings on its sandy bed;
And I'd like to ride o'er the Gap again through summer night when the moon is new.

All day in the hills, in the sand-hills yellow,
Birds wheel from the sea, and the grey scrub blows,
   And the tides creep in to the fringing shores,
   And the tides go out by their secret doors;
And the floor of morning's a sparkling bowl, the arch of evening a dying rose.

But yet is my heart for the old things sighing:
For murmuring eves and a gleaming grey:
   For the leafy columns and lifting spires
   That are climbing, piercing the sunset fires;
For a night bird's call in the gathered dusk, and glittered slopes of the starry way.

This shore to my heart is alien ever;
My heart that is wedded to quiet hills,
   That is wearied long of the misery
   And the loud unrest of the ancient sea:
That is one with gold of the dusty miles where minted treasure of summer spills.

I wish I were back in the red-gum country.
The scent of the morn and the smell of loam!
   When the autumn yellows where summer ends,
   If an exile heart might away to its friends;
If an exile weary so long, so long, one April evening were going home!

There still, as of old, are the bush birds calling:
And still is earth beautiful after rain...
   And still in the slow, grey midnight hours,
   When the curved waves crash into starry showers.
Does my heart go back to the leafy lands...and the red-gum country is mine again.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 January 1928

Author reference site: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 25, 2014 8:54 AM.

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