Recently in Childhood and Children Category

A Child's Song by Zora Cross

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Somebody died in our house last night
While the little moon looked through the curtains white.
Somebody died that I loved so well
I am almost too frightened and sad to tell.

I dug the grave in the yard myself,
With the spade that I keep on the nursery shelf.
Nobody knew I was out of bed,
So they don't even guess that there's someone dead.

Only my toys and my dollies know,
For they hear me sob in the darkness so;
"No more to-morrows with six-times-three,
Now it's seven-times-one that is here with me."

First published in The Bulletin, 22 December 1921

Child Dreams by Zora Cross

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Where are the dreams of our lost infancy 
That lit with colour every grey, old day? 
Where the romance that filled our morning way 
And made a castle of a fallen tree?
Shall treasure ships go out no more to sea 
Whose masts lie rank in some forgotten bay? 
Shall no red pirates man the deck of play? 
Nor green-eyed goblins down the forest flee? 

Ah! child, that dreamed in lands of make-believe, 
Building fern bridges for the fairies' feet, 
Hiding in caves from some pale phantom fear, 
Remembering still, I laugh. How can I grieve? 
My childhood's faith in all things still is sweet; 
I build its castles yet since Love is here.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 15 December 1920;
and later in 
The Register, 19 February 1921.

Wait-a-While by Zora Cross

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Enchanted morning took my hand,
   We walked an airy mile
Through buttercup and daisyland
   Two dreams to wait-a-while.

The paths were all of shining gold,  
   And by a mossy pool,
A podgy froggie aeons old
   Was ringing time to school.

The schoolhouse was a sugarloaf,
   The cane a chocolate stick,
Each scholar, wisehead, dunce, and oaf,
   Assembled tick by tick.

And when the teacher called the roll
   Each answered, "By and by."
At Wait-a-while the school was droll,
   You never heard a sigh.

The lessons made you laugh to learn.
   Two sunbeams make a smile
Was the worst sum; for tables turn
   In school at Wait-a-While. 

If anything was hard to do,
   Like turn and turn about,
The pupils turned the teacher blue,
   By shouting, "School is out." 

When last I picked a buttercup 
Of dreams at Wait-a-while, 
The holidays were shutting up
The school with half-a-smile.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November 1934

The Children's Bogey Hole by Mabel Forrest

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Ringed round with whispering rushes,
   And many a giant bole,
Of drooping grey-leaved gum trees tall, 
Where magpies lilt and scrub doves call
   Lies the children's bogey hole. 

A circle silvered over,
   It gleams beneath the moon,
Reflecting here a glimm'ring star, 
Or arch of sky so deep and far,
   A dreaming, still lagoon.

Ghost-like, the slender kangaroos
   Slip down to drink their fill; 
A tawny dingo slinks across
Damp beds of golden-hearted moss,
   Below the scrub-flanked hill.

Along the banks the couch grass grows,
   Close fibred like a mat;
And thro' the water's gentle wash
   There comes the sudden jerky splash 
Made by a water rat.

When roses blush about the east,
   And clouds of light unroll,
With laugh and shout from out their home 
The sturdy station children come
   To rush the bogey hole.

Wild waves rise on the mimic sea,
   And in the water grass
A shining black snake swims far down
Among the tree roots gnarled and brown,
   To let the children pass.

Ringed round with whispering rushes,
   And many a giant bole
Of drooping gum trees gaunt and grey, 
Where mirth and frolic hold their sway,
   Lies the children's bogey hole.  

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 15 November 1905

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Little Girl and the Thrush by Myra Morris

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Walking down the windy valley,
   Where the flowers were flung like spray
In the glimmering myrtle valley,
   Soon I tossed my hat away --
Laughed down places dark and shady,
   Clambered through the underbrush,
Till a voice came sweet, reproving,
Where the myrtle boughs were moving,
   "Be a lady,"
   Sang the thrush.

There was none to see or hear me --
   Off I pushed my cramping shoes --
Danced down leafy pathways near me
   Toward the valley's distant blues;
Danced down vistas damp and shady,
   Bare feet in the grasses lush,  
Where the earth was starred with yellow,
Still that voice came mocking, mellow,
   "Be a lady,"
   Sang the thrush.

First published in The Australasian, 15 October 1932

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

A Little Girl's Mummy, Nicholson Museum by Zora Cross

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Then sorrowfully she pressed her small, hot head  
Close to her mother's heart, weary of play.   
They put her reed shoes quietly away,  
And watched her toss upon her fever bed.  
Lone stayed the red clay beads she longed to  thread,  
The swing her father made untouched that day.
Oh, the blue Nile as grief itself was grey
When terribly they whispered, "She is dead."
Poor mother, weeping for your little one, 
Long, long -- so long ago! Osiris true  
With prayers propitiating, so that she
Raised up again might be, here 'neath this sun
Be sure we view your child with reverence due
Where she, still trusting, waits . . . how sorrowfully!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 1930

The Vanished Children by Zora Cross

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The children came from the dark and said:
   "Mother, have you forgotten us?
   Do you remember us? 'Twas thus
We did ere we were dead."

As the sand slips under the air,
   As the air skims over the sea,
   Memory came back to me,
And I was grown aware
   Of the white girls and the brown boys
   Playing with lonely toys,
   Who kissed me a thousand years ago
   In a dream I used to know

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 25 August 1925

Baby by Zora Cross

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I thought God passed like mist before the world
   And there was no more sun;
And a babe crowed and its pink fist uncurled,
   And laughed, it seemed, for fun.

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 11 August 1925

The Fairy Ring by Myra Morris

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      "Oh to find a fairy ring!"
      That is what I loved to sing! 

Here up on the broken ground,
   Past the pine-wood's purple gaps, 
Whitening all the grass around,
   Peep the pearly mushroom-caps! 

Twenty-seven pink and sweet,  
   In a ring you couldn't miss, 
Round about my careful feet!  
   I have come for this, for this! 

Who was dancing in the night,
   Where the boles black-shrouded stood? 
Who tripped out from dark to light, 
   Winding from the murky wood?

      ("Let me find a fairy ring!" 
      I had always loved to sing!) 

In this magic ring at last,
   Surely I shall, waiting, see  
Wonders from a childhood past, 
   Dancing, dancing out to me! 

Magpies chortle from the hill!
   Downward bent is every blade! 
But the golden air is still,
   And my heart beats sore afraid!

Magic is no longer here!
   All the tripping feet are gone! 
There is naught of faery near--
   I have lost it striding on!    

      Never, never more I'll sing,   
      "Oh to find a fairy ring!"

First published in The Australasian, 14 July 1923

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Little Girls' Eyes by Zora Cross

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Oh, little girls' eyes are lovely things,
They make me think of butterflies' wings, 
Of pansies brown and violets blue,
And periwinkles winking azure, too.

Oh, little girls' eyes are sweet and fair 
As rainbows scattered all over the air. 
I think they blossomed in paradise --
Those periwinkles, pansies, violets wise.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 1926

"Paw" by C.J. Dennis

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Ai've just obteened a pension for mai Paw.
And you should hev seen the people that were theah.
   Re-ally, it was surpraising!
   Maind, Ai am not criticaising,
But it was embarrassing, Ai do decleah.
Ai met the Snobson-Smythes and Toady-Browns, and many moah
Belonging to ouah set; and wondahed what they came theah foah.

And, of course, Ai didn't say a word of Paw.
Ai rather think they've nevah heard of Paw.
   But Ai thought it well to mention
   That Ai came to get the pension
For an aged person who had worked for Maw.
The Snobson-Smythes said, "Fancy! That is just why we came dahn."
But Ai've heard they hev a mothah hidden somewheah out of tahn.

Ai do deserve some gratitude from Paw.
To think what Ai've gone thro' foah him to-day!
   Mixing with the lowah classes --
   And Ai never saw such masses
Of disreputable creatuahs, Ai must say.
Imposters, Ai've no doubt, if most of them were but unmasked.
And then, the most humiliating questions Ai was asked!

Yes, he forced me to admit it was foah Paw.
Asked me, brutally, if it was foah mai Paw.
   Some low-bred official fellow,
   Who conversed in quaite a bellow,
And he patronised me laike a high Bashaw.
And his questions, rudely personal, Ai hardly could enduah.
The Government should teach its people mannahs, Ai am suah!

Ai'm glad we've got the pension foah Pooah Paw.
His maintenance has been - O, such a strain.
   Ouah establishment's extensive
   And exceedingly expensive,
As mai husband has remawked taime and again.
It's quaite a miracle how Ai contrive to dress at all.
He cut me dahn to twenty guineas for last Mayoral Ball!

And it's such a boah to hev to think of Paw --
To hev a secret skeleton laike Paw.
   Paw, you know, was once a diggah,
   And he cuts no social figgah.
And his mannahs! O, they touch us on the raw.
Of course, we're very fond of him, and all thet sort of thing;
But we couldn't hev him - could we? -- when theah's naice folk visiting.

It's cost us pawnds and pawnds to care foah Paw.
And then, it is so hard to keep him dawk.
   Why, no later then last Mond'y,
   Ai was out with Lady Grundy,
When we ran raight into him outsaide the Pawk.
Goodness knows!  Ai managed, somehow, to elude him with a nod,
And Ai said he was a tradesman; but she must hev thought it odd.

You can't picture the ubiquity of Paw,
And he's really very obstinate, is Paw.
   Why, he held to the contention
   That this most convenient pension
Was a thing he hadn't any raight to draw!
He said we'd kept him eighteen months, and ought to keep him yet.
But mai husband soon convinced him that he couldn't count on thet.

He was a pioneah, you know, mai Paw.
But of mai early laife Ai never tell.
   Paw worked, as Ai hev stated;
   And he had us educated;
And, later on, Ai married rather well.
And then, you know, deah Paw became -- er -- well, embarrassing.
For he is so unconventional and -- all thet sort of thing.

But the Government has taken ovah Paw.
We are happy now we've aisolated Paw.
   And a bettah era's dawning,
   For mai husband said this mawning
Thet the money saved would buy a motah-caw.
Paw was so good to us when we were young, that, you'll allow,
It's really taime the Government did something foah him now.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 July 1909;
and later in
Backblock Ballads and Later Verses by C.J. Dennis, 1918; and
Selected Works of C.J. Dennis, 1988.

The League of Youth by C.J. Dennis

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Speaking recently on the recently formed League of Youth, the Director of Education (Mr. McRae) said the old type of boy made a hobby of collecting birds' eggs.  Today boys are being taught to preserve and conserve our native flora and fauna.

There was never a hint, when I was a boy,
That the joy of the wilds might bring man joy;
Never a thought that a wild thing slain
Might wake in the slayer pain for pain.
We were savages all, with the hunter's thrill
In the lure of the chase and the lust of the kill;
And the bud on the bough, and the bird in the nest
Were beautiful things to be possessed.
But a worthier thing comes now to the earth,
Since pity in minds of the young has birth.
'Tis the glorious gift, that wisdom brings,
Of knowing and loving all lovely things:
Of loving and sharing with all the boon
Of the glad free things that may teach us soon
The gift of living, as glad and free,
As bird and blossom in Arcady.
"Oh, youth is heedless," the elders say,
"Youth is callous and cruel in play,"
Say they, forgetting that all youth heeds
Comes down through lauding of elders' deeds.
But the law of savage -- of fang and claw
Gives was in the end to a worthier law;
And man, emerging from ways uncouth,
Sees visions anew in the League of Youth.

First published in The Herald, 24 July 1933

Saturday Afternoon by C.J. Dennis

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Whenever I dream of hope for a land,
   Or the promise of joys to be,
It is not the leaders in command,
Or the visions of wealth or buildings grand,
   Or its elders I ask to see
But the eyes of its youth as they pass ashine
   On the quest of its weekly boon,
When the heart grows light and the day be fine
   On a Saturday afternoon.
Never was world so workaday.  Never was work so drear,
   If a land's young laugh its fears away
   Once in a while, no skies may stay
Shrouded for long by fear.
For the heart of youth shall be the gauge
   And youth's voice call the tune,
Confounding ever the wisest sage
   On a Saturday afternoon.
Sing hey for the end, for the crowd of the week,
   When, bidding a truce to care
The young go forth new life to seek,
And brave young body and glowing cheek
   Tell a land's whole story there.
A glad tale told in the shining eyes
   And the patter of laughing shoon,
With life at the full when hope runs high
   On a Saturday afternoon.

First published in The Herald, 3 June 1933

The Demon Milk by C.J. Dennis

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Dr. Dale, the City health officer, told a meeting of women that milk makes children naughtier.

"Yer honor, please!" the prisoner said,
   "It isn't wot you think.
To look on wine when it is red
   Or alco'olic drink
Is not among me little ways.
I been teetotal all me days.

It ain't the wine, it ain't the beer,
   It ain't the gin-an'-two
That bows me 'ead in sorrer 'ere.
   'Tain't no fermented brew
That druv me on to sin an' strife.
Hark: 'Ere's the story of me life.

When I was just a little kid
   I was a model child.
Wot I was tole to do I did,
   Reel innercint an' mild.
But, bein' wise, an' unlike some,
At one year old I 'owled for rum.

Me nurse, wot was a strict t.t.
   Aimed my young soul to bilk,
An' every day she flooded me
   Wiv quarts an' quarts of milk.
Oh, 'ow the stuff coursed thro' each vein
An' set on fire me tiny brain.

At five, as well may be believed,
   I was a little tough;
For by that then I 'ad conceived
   A cravin' for the stuff.
I swiped it from each neighbor's door,
An' roamed the district seekin' more.

The cravin', sir, it got me down,
   When I grew to a man;
I raided dairies thro' the town,
   Pinched bottle, billy-can,
An' never could resist no'ow
The fascination of a cow.

It ain't the rum, it ain't the beer --
    Oh, 'ow I wish it was! --
That brings me ignominy 'ere.
    'Ave pity, sir, becos
It was the demon milk, I vows,
That made me pinch that 'erd of cows."

First published in The Herald, 24 May 1929;
and later in 
Random Verse edited by Margaret Herron, 1952; and
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985.

The Sentimental Bloke Becomes a Father by C.J. Dennis

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My son! ... Them words, jist like a blessed song,
Is singin' in me 'eart the 'ole day long;
     Over an' over; while I'm scared I'll wake
     Out of a dream, to find it all a fake.
My son! Two little words, that, yesterdee,
Wus jist two simple, senseless words to me;
     An' now -- no man, not since the world begun,
     Made any better pray'r than that.... My son!
My son an' bloomin' 'eir ... Ours! ... 'Ers an' mine!
The finest kid in -- Aw, the sun don't shine --
     Ther' ain't no joy fer me beneath the blue
     Unless I'm gazin' lovin' at them two.
A little while ago it was jist "me" --
A lonely, longin' streak o' misery.
     An' then 'twas "'er an' me" -- Doreen, my wife!
     An' now it's "'im an' us" an' -- sich is life.
But 'struth! 'E is king-pin! The 'ead serang!
I mustn't tramp about, or talk no slang;
     I mustn't pinch 'is nose, or make a face,
     I mustn't -- Strike! 'E seems to own the place!
Cunning? Yeh'd think, to look into 'is eyes,
'E knoo the game clean thro'; 'e seems that wise.
     Wiv 'er 'an nurse 'e is the leadin' man,
     An' poor ole dad's amongst the "also ran."
"Goog, goo," 'e sez, and curls 'is cunnin' toes.
Yeh'd be su'prised the 'eaps o' things 'e knows.
     I'll swear 'e tumbles I'm 'is father, too;
     The way 'e squints at me, an' sez "Goog, goo."
Why! 'smornin' 'ere 'is lordship gits a grip
Fair on me finger -- give it quite a nip!
     An' when I tugs, 'e won't let go 'is hold!
     'Angs on like that! An' 'im not three weeks old!
"Goog, goo," 'e sez. I'll swear yeh never did
In all yer natcheril, see sich a kid.
     The cunnin' ways 'e's got; the knowin' stare --
     Ther' ain't a youngster like 'im anywhere!
An', when 'e gits a little pain inside,
'Is dead straight griffin ain't to be denied.
     I'm sent to talk sweet nuffin's to the fowls;
     While nurse turns 'and-springs ev'ry time 'e 'owls.
But say, I tell yeh straight ... I been thro 'ell!
The things I thort I wouldn't dare to tell
     Lest, in the tellin' I might feel again
     One little part of all that fear an' pain.
It come so sudden that I lorst me block.
First, it was, 'Ell-fer-leather to the doc.,
     'Oo took it all so calm 'e made me curse --
     An' then I sprints like mad to get the nurse.
By gum; that woman! But she beat me flat!
A man's jist putty in a game like that.
     She owned me 'appy 'ome almost before
     She fairly got 'er nose inside me door.
Sweatin' I was! but cold wiv fear inside --
An' then, to think a man could be denied
     'Is wife an' 'ome an' told to fade away
     By jist one fat ole nurse 'oo's in 'is pay!
I wus too weak wiv funk to start an' rouse.
'Struth! Ain't a man the boss in 'is own 'ouse?
     "You go an' chase yerself!" she tips me straight.
     There's nothin' now fer you to do but -- wait."
Wait? ... Gawd! ... I never knoo wot waitin' meant.
In all me life till that day I was sent
     To loaf around, while there inside -- Aw, strike!
     I couldn't tell yeh wot that hour was like!
Three times I comes to listen at the door;
Three times I drags meself away once more;
     'Arf dead wiv fear; 'arf dead wiv tremblin' joy ...
     An' then she beckons me, an' sez -- "A boy!"
"A boy!" she sez. "An' bofe is doin' well!"
I drops into a chair, an' jist sez -- "'Ell!"
     It was a pray'r. I feels bofe crook an' glad....
     An' that's the strength of bein' made a dad.
I thinks of church, when in that room I goes,
'Oldin' me breaf an' walkin' on me toes.
     Fer 'arf a mo' I feared me nerve 'ud fail
     To see 'er Iying there so still an' pale.
She looks so frail, at first, I dursn't stir.
An' then, I leans acrost an' kisses 'er;
     An' all the room gits sorter blurred an' dim ...
     She smiles, an' moves 'er 'ead. "Dear lad! Kiss 'im."
Near smothered in a ton of snowy clothes,
First thing, I sees a bunch o' stubby toes,
     Bald 'ead, termater face, an' two big eyes.
     "Look, Kid," she smiles at me. "Ain't 'e a size?"
'E didn't seem no sorter size to me;
But yet, I speak no lie when I agree;
     "'E is," I sez, an' smiles back at Doreen,
     'The biggest nipper fer 'is age I've seen."
She turns away; 'er eyes is brimmin' wet.
"Our little son!" she sez. "Our precious pet!"
     An' then, I seen a great big drop roll down
     An' fall -- kersplosh! -- fair on 'is nibs's crown.
An' still she smiles. "A lucky sign," she said.
"Somewhere, in some ole book, one time I read,
     'The child will sure be blest all thro' the years
     Who's christened wiv 'is mother's 'appy tears."'
"Kiss 'im," she sez. I was afraid to take
Too big a mouthful of 'im, fear 'e'd break.
     An' when 'e gits a fair look at me phiz
     'E puckers up 'is nose, an' then -- Geewhizz!
'Ow did 'e 'owl! In 'arf a second more
Nurse 'ad me 'ustled clean outside the door.
     Scarce knowin' 'ow, I gits out in the yard,
     An' leans agen the fence an' thinks reel 'ard.
A long, long time I looks at my two lands.
"They're all I got," I thinks, "they're all that stands
     Twixt this 'ard world an' them I calls me own.
     An' fer their sakes I'll work 'em to the bone."
Them vows an' things sounds like a lot o' guff.
Maybe, it's foolish thinkin' all this stuff --
     Maybe, it's childish-like to scheme an' plan;
     But -- I dunno -- it's that way wiv a man.
I only know that kid belongs to me!
We ain't decided yet wot 'e's to be.
     Doreen, she sez 'e's got a poit's eyes;
     But I ain't got much use fer them soft guys.
I think we ort to make 'im something great --
A bookie, or a champeen 'eavy-weight:
     Some callin' that'll give 'im room to spread.
     A fool could see 'e's got a clever 'ead.
I know 'e's good an' honest; for 'is eyes
Is jist like 'ers; so big an' lovin'-wise;
     They carries peace an' trust where e'er they goes
     An', say, the nurse she sez 'e's got my nose!
Dead ring fer me ole conk, she sez it is.
More like a blob of putty on 'is phiz,
     I think. But 'e's a fair 'ard case, all right.
     I'll swear I thort 'e wunk at me last night!
My wife an' fam'ly! Don't it sound all right!
That's wot I whispers to meself at night.
     Some day, I s'pose, I'll learn to say it loud
     An' careless; kiddin' that I don't feel proud.
My son! ... If there's a Gawd 'Oos leanin' near
To watch our dilly little lives down 'ere,
     'E smiles, I guess, if 'E's a lovin' one --
     Smiles, friendly-like, to 'ear them words -- My son.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 April 1915, and again in the same magazine on 29 January 1930;
and later in
The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis, 1915; and
Selected Works of C.J. Dennis, 1988.

Note: this poem is also known by the title The Kid.

Truant by Zora Cross

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The little folk are out to-day;
I know it by the magic way
Each flowery paddock, hill, and stream
Calls like the elfkins of a dream.

Come, Peter, Molly, Joe, and Nell,
Ring high the happy playtime bell!
Break Teacher Time's old-fashioned rule,
And let the whole world out of school.

A merry, merry mile from Thought
And all the books of men are nought
But fairy fabrics broidered fair
With teasing riddles light as air.

Come Colin, Connie, Meg, and Nance,
Blow up the pipes of sweet Romance;
And while youth dances tip-a-tap,
Crown Age with Simple Simon's cap.

First published
in The Sydney Mail, 3 November 1920

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Light and Shade by Henry O'Donnell

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There's a little something lying in a dainty, cozy cot,
A something great in miniature, a hero or what not?
While a sunbeam on the threshold seems to brighten up the home,
There is merriment and welcome for the little something come.

He is mottled, he is dimpled, and, though all he says is "gou,"
You think him such a wonder, for he's strikingly like you;
And, though he wakes the echoes with a midnight dance and song,
It's very clear that, in your eyes, "the King can do no wrong."

There's a little something lying in a casket, satin lined,
As if a cherub had been there and left its face behind:
While a shadow on the threshold steals, to fill the home with dread,
There is sighing, there is sobbing, for a little something fled.

First published in Melbourne Punch, 10 September 1903

Author reference site: Austlit.

See also.

A Little Bush Girl by Robert Richardson

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Madge sits alone at the close of day
   By the edge of the blue lagoon;
Among the reeds the breezes play
   A wandering woodland tune.
A magpie lights on a red-gum bough,
   And whistles clear and shrill;
The woods with gold and crimson glow
O'er gully, plain, and hill.

The wattle shakes its honey scent
   Upon the warm, sweet breeze;
The clematis its drift white tent
   Spreads for the roving bees.
Under a log a lizard slips
   Quick as a gleam of light.
Madge watches it with parted lips,
   And brown eyes wide and bright.

The sun drops in a crimson haze,
   The wind grows fresh and cool;
The frogs their long, quaint chorus raise
   From creek and marshy pool;
The cricket tunes his tiny trump
   As the short twilight falls;
And from the distant willow clump
   A lonely curlew calls.

Madge scans the sandy cattle track
   Until the cows appear;
She hears her father's stockwhip crack,
   Startling the evening air.
The patient cows -- Jess, Meg, and Pearl --
   Approach the milking rails,
Where mother and the dairy girl
   Wait with the shining pails.

The pageant of the stars unrolled,
   Makes the night glow like noon;
The Southern Cross gleams like pure gold,
   Gilding the dim lagoon.
Madge from her window waits to see
   The stars rise one by one;  
Then, with her prayer at mother's knee,
   Her day is sweetly done.

First published in Australian Town and Country Journal, 23 March 1901

Author: Robert Richardson (1850-1901) was born in New South Wales and completed a B.A. at the University of Sydney.  Best known as a writer for children - and possibly the first Australian born writer to be so titled - he wrote poetry mainly for the Sydney newspapers, especially the Australian Town and Country Journal.  He died in Armidale, New South Wales, in 1901.

Author reference site: Austlit

A King in Exile by Victor J. Daley

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O the Queen may keep her golden
   Crown and sceptre of command!
I would give them both twice over
   To be King of Babyland.

Sure, it is a wondrous country
   Where the beanstalks grow apace,
And so very near the moon is
   You could almost stroke her face.

And the dwellers in that country
   Hold in such esteem their King,
They believe that if he chooses
   He can do --- just anything!

And, although his regal stature
   May be only four-feet-ten,
Think him tallest, strongest, bravest,
   Noblest, wisest, best of men.

Ah, how fondly I remember
   The good time serene and fair,
In the bygone years when I, too,
   Was a reigning monarch there!

But my subjects they discrowned me
   When they'd older, colder, grown;
And they took away my sceptre,
   And upset my royal throne.

Yet, although a King in Exile,
   Without subjects to command,
I am glad at heart to think I
   Once was King of Babyland.

First published in The Bulletin, 1 February 1896;
and later in
At Dawn and Dusk by Victor Daley, 1902; and
The Children's Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens and George Mackaness, 1913

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

See also.

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