Recently in Landscape Category

Wheat Country by Kathleen Dalziel

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A wind well-laden with scent and heat
Drifts through the saplings' ragged crests
And leans on the lovely curving breasts
Of the cool green wheat.

The curtseying harvest, hated in light,
Ripples and runs from the air's embrace.
Over their waves the white clouds chase
Grey shade out of sight.

Yellow weed-bloom where the headland narrows,
Daggered thistles in purple pride;
Cockatoos feeding, watchful-eyed,
Snow-flaked along the furrows.

Darting parakeets down the track
Hurl like a handful of jewels tossed
Into the blue and therein lost,
No one to fling them back.

All the Wimmera is under cover
Heaven and the harvest, verge to verge,
Joined by the heat-wave's silver surge
Just where the blue bends over.

The world that the harvest grain is clothing
Seems to descend and disappear
In a scintillation of aching air
Over the edge of nothing.

And the rolling wheat and the world appear
To turn so softly through time and space
The air of It passing upon my face
Scarcely ruffles my hair.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 December 1948

Author reference site: Austlit

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In the Dandenongs by Kathleen Dalziel

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High noon flooded the mountain-side
   In summery silence deep.
All on a sudden the valley sighed,
   And the wind awoke from sleep. 
All on a sudden the wind awoke
   Whispering far and near.
Tree-top with rustling tree-top spoke,
   And the saplings leaned to hear.

It broke the spirals of blue wood-smoke,
   The scents of the Bush unbound,
Till all the world was a leafy cloak
   Of murmur and light and sound.
Then, letting the sun-drenched fragrance fall
   To earth like a drift of rain,
Tired at the mountain's misty wall
   It sank into sleep again.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 1937

Author reference site: Austlit

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Oliver's Hill by Myra Morris

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As I went up by Oliver's Hill,
The sea lay under me, blue and still, 
With the curving sand and the tea-tree laid
In a marbled pattern of light and shade.

As I went up by Oliver's Hill,
I whistled a tune that was blithe and shrill;
No happier thing, there moved than I 
Under the matchless morning sky! 

As I looked out from Oliver's Hill 
Over the sea world, blue and still, 
I saw a ship with a wisp of grey 
Moving out on the far-away.

As I came down from Oliver's Hill 
My heart lay grieving, cold and still!
How to stay while that ship rode free,
To breast the tides of some unknown sea!

First published in The Australasian, 17 December 1927

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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An Old Bush Road by Kathleen Dalziel

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There's a distant roadway winding
   Downward by the sea,
Thro' the lanes where dog-woods flower,
   'Neath the wattle tree.
Thro' the slip-rails, 'cross the river,
   Up the hills and down,
Till the waters flash and quiver,
   Close by Burnie town.

Riding down to Burnie town,
   Burnie by the sea,
Past the paddocks, green and brown,
   Green and golden lea;
Bracken braes with briar strewn
   All the pathway down
Lead to where the waters croon,
   Close by Burnie town.

There the silver showers fleeting
   Drench the green-clad hills,
Where the nodding ferns are curling
   By the crystal rills.
There the magpies gay are culling
   All the dewy dawn,
To the noisy water brawling
   'Twixt its banks of lawn.

Summer snows the fields with clover,
   Golden Cape-Weed gay,
With the brown bees roaming over
   All the livelong day.
Down the gale the bushland flowers
   Fling their incense strange,
Dusky blue the haze is deep'ning
   On the distant range.

There's a distant road that's leading
   Past the autumn hedge,
Where the tangled brushwood serries
   Cliff and messy ledge;
There are white clouds floating over
   In the clear, soft blue --
Like a heart-sick absent lover,
   Dear, I think of you.

Winter and the frost flung over
 Like q bridal veil;
Youth and Joy together laughing
   Long have left the dale;
And a spectral shadow striding
   Throws my castles down-
Shall I never more go riding
   Down to Burnie town.

Riding down to Burnie town,
   Burnie by the sea,
Past the paddocks, green and brown,
   Green and golden lea.
Now the path is lost for aye,
   Lost to you and me.
Oh! the world is sad and grey.
   Burnie by the sea!

First published in The Bulletin, 19 November 1908

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Hills by Kathleen Dalziel

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Take me to the hills again,
   Back where I belong;
Let me hear the wind's refrain
   And the river's song,
Hear the runnels in the rain
   When the nights are long;

Dream by morning waters cool,
   Fringed with green morasses,
Swaying reed and amber pool
   When October passes
Golden-eyed and beautiful
   Through the feathery grasses.

Not for me the blue allure
   Of the wide sea-lanes,
Creaming reef or shingled shore,
   White steeds' flying manes;
Where I left my heart of yore
   Still my heart remains.

Not for me  the jostling whirl,
   Cold and careless faces.
Where the dusty breezes swirl
   Round the market places;
Better far the glens of pearl
   That the cloud embraces.

I could never watch the rose,
   Jade and jasper render
Radiance to the evening's close
   Veiled with purples tender
With the houses, rows on rows,
   Shutting out the splendor.

First published in The Bulletin, 14 October 1926

Author reference site: Austlit

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Dunkeld by Kathleen Dalziel

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Did I dream while the flames leaped up and the cinders fell, 
   And a frozen wind fingered the window pane? 
Did the silence flee at the sound of a distant hell? 
   Was there no wind under the eaves, no wandering rain --
Only the hazy hush of a long summer's day 
   Simmered in gold, and the wattle honey-smelled, 
And I heard a bullock-bell in the ranges say, 
   "Dun-keld! Dun-keld! Dunkeld!" 

Peak beyond peak the Grampians marched away 
   To the world's end, it seemed, and the river sang. 
Mile beyond mile the fernclad uplands lay 
   Warm to the noon, and the noonday music rang 
Hesitating and high in the hills again, 
   In a rhymeless monotone, for the morning held 
No sound so insistent as the slow refrain 
   Of the bullock-bells in the distance at Dunkeld. 
I saw the cloud and the eagle's circling flight, 
   And the blue deeps back of the rocky, wandering stair, 
Where the heat waves shimmer to silver out of sight, 
  And the red-gums' banners droop in the drowsy air. 
Was it fairy land or only a day in spring, 
   With the bees abroad and the late heath crimson-belled, 
And the river in flood, and my heart remembering, 
   And the white dust thick by the roadway at Dunkeld?
 
The blue smoke curled from a far-away camp fire, 
   The unforgettable incense of grass-tree burning; 
The dews that threaded their beads on the fencing wire 
   Winked in the sun and were gone till the dew's returning. 
The old glory is over the morning still, 
   And the old magic, potent as that which held 
Enchantment ever by valley and ridge and hill 
   When it's spring again in the ranges at Dunkeld.
 
The blossoming tea-tree sprinkled its fairy frost 
   Over the mosses tinder the mantled trees; 
The lizards basked on the reef, and a wavering lost 
   Call of a cuckoo floated along the breeze. 
All was as ever it Was, and a carillon 
   Of magpies shattered the silence, silver-belled, 
Letting their warbling strains drift one by one 
   Till the silvery echoes grew silent at Dunkeld. 

There is wind at the door and sleet on the window pane; 
   Low burns the flame -- have I been dreaming at whiles? 
I thought that spring shook down its blossomy rain, 
   And minty warm was the wind down the long bush miles.
I dreamed -- did I dream? It was surely a summer's day 
   When the heavy censers of blossom sway, honey-smelled, 
And all the bullock-bells in the ranges say 
   "Dun-keld! Dun-keld! Dun-keld!" 

First published in The Bulletin, 8 October 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Dandenongs by Kathleen Dalziel

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Fair are the Dandenongs low to the eastward lying,
Where the early cuckoos are crying. 
Now, and the bellbird's fairy songs  
Are ringing along the hill on the rich air warm and scenty.
Hills may be higher aplenty
But these are the Dandenongs.

The beautiful Dandenongs that beckon the city-weary;
Ever so cool and airy.  
The road that the saplings throngs
In murmurous multitudes, and the lyre-birds' mocking sallies
Are heard in the hazel gullies,
Back of the Dandenongs.

Blue are the Dandenongs, hazy against the high line
Of the morning's opal skyline    
Where the light-wood blossom belongs
And the wreaths lie white once more on many an orchard arbor.

You have your Bridge and your Harbour -
   But we have the Dandenongs.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 1938

Author reference site: Austlit

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A Picture by Kathleen Dalziel

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Dreary is the light of winter, dull the sighing of the breeze, 
   And streaming o'er the fallow lands slants low the falling rain,
But a subtle fragrance drifting comes beyond the drooping trees 
   From the Cootamundra wattle in the lane.
 
And it paints a vision splendid past the low clouds drifting grey, 
   Beyond the swollen river the paddocks bleak and cold. 
Will the Bush be soon awaking in that green land far away? 
   Will the roadsides soon be fringed with wattle-gold?
 
I can see the heavy dogwood, snowy sweet with morning dew, 
   Hear the bronzewing crooning down the gully cool, 
Where the crystal river's murmuring the old song ever new, 
   Where the dusky blackwood hides the dreamy pool. 

Are the bracken glades still royal with the crimson waratah? 
   Is the clematis star-spangled with the rain? 
And its oh! amid the languor of the dull, brown days that are, 
   To be riding down those ferny aisles again. 

Are the Christmas lilies waving by the homestead garden wall, 
   With a red rose at the gateway and a white rose by the door? 
And do the cattle wander where the lilacs used to fall 
   And the daffodils spread wide their golden store? 

The winter day of mist fades out in streaks of yellow light, 
   And the distant hills are hidden with the rain; 
But I've been awhile in dreamland with the scent that came to-night 
   From the Cootamundra wattle in the lane.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 September 1910

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Little Track by Kathleen Dalziel

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There is a little ferny track that goes,
Fringed with the brier-rose,
Beside the dance of cloud-flung shadows fleet
Across the whispering wheat,
Where lilting winds in lazy ripples play
The long November day.

There the gay blue wren from a bent spray swings
In the green heart of things;
There wings the pallid cuckoo, with a long
Haunting refrain of song,
In lessening echoes where the upland goes,
Calling the spring's sweet close.

I know the starry-eyed clematis trails
Frail fairy wedding veils
Across the shady, narrow trail that leads
Where the tall cocksfoot seeds,
Where eldorados of the capeweed's gold
Are gleaming fold on fold.

There is a little creek that lowly drones
A love song to the stones,
Where shafted sunlight slants amid the boles
By rainbowed waterholes,
Flinging soft traceries of gold and green
The leafy aisles between.

Here have I sought a balm for heart's distress
In the cool wilderness,
Here in the corridors of fern have found
Nothing but holy ground,
Remembering something less of pains and mosses
Deep amid fronds and mosses.

All things seem possible beneath this sky.
Though by and by,
The old forlorn. familiar host of cares
Will creep back unawares,
To-day they are forgotten or but seem
Some foolish far-off dream.

So down the little, wandering track again
I break the bonds of pain
To find the comfort of the mothering wild,
Spent as a homesick child,
Where gathered to her sheltering arms alone
The old bush calls her own.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 September 1926

Author reference site: Austlit

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Street Decorations by Mabel Forrest

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Each drooping leaf in its loose-bound sheaf, 
Each wilted bough in the gas lamps' flare, 
Tells of the stillness of night-bound trees,
Of the fresh, sweet breath of the wattle breeze, 
Of mountain ranges afar and fair.

A pleasant thing is the whiff of Spring 
As I stand alone by the river bridge;
Poor exiled branches I have to thank,
You showed me the pine trees rank on rank, 
And the sandy patch by Stony Ridge.

The dusty track of the drover's pack,  
The forest aisles that the dawn mists keep;
Crushed gum leaves odorous, and rustling grass, 
And a girl's face watching us as we pass, 
Bound for the coast with travelling sheep.

First published in The Queenslander, 17 August 1904

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Wattle Wind by Mabel Forrest

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Oh! Wattle Wind, Oh! Wattle Wind, I wonder what you're bringing?
That all my heart comes to my lips in low and tender singing;
A something far removed from tears, and alien quite to pain,
Till I -- who was so grave and sad -- become a child again!

Oh! Wattle Wind, Oh! Wattle Wind, beside the George-street gates
A little figure that I knew half shyly for me waits;
Someone I lost -- so long ago I cannot count the years --
For some were swift with pleasant toil, but more were slow with tears.

Oh! Wattle Wind, Oh! Wattle Wind, she who in sun sine lingers
Comes gliding up the asphalt path and links with mine her fingers,
And back we go by creek and ridge and winter-wattled leas
To Marnhull and Jimbour scrub, among the bottle-trees!

Here on the plain a kangaroo through long, dry grass looks up,
And Cobra Waterhole, seen thus, is like a wine-filled cup,
For we float with the wind and cloud where youth's glad compass steers,
Myself -- and that small girl I was -- in unremembered years!

Oh! Wattle Wind, Oh! Wattle Wind, o'er Brisbane's gardens blowing;
A magic freighted thing you are, and wizardry are sowing.
Oh! Blow within the city streets wherever Sorrow smarts;
Bring back, with healing in your touch, the Youth to burdened hearts!

First published in The Sydney Mail, 1 August 1917

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Hidden Valley by Myra Morris

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Grey, grumbling carts go down the hidden valley,
   Lop-sided 'neath their loads of piled-up boughs.
Along the slope the sheep, slow-moving, rally
   From hollows where the winds of autumn drowse.
And down the road thick-barred with inky shadow,
   Trail home the quiet cows.

Tall fences lean above the straw and rubble,
   Dim farmhouse-roofs float airily in dream.
Beyond the blunted spears of shining stubble
   The ploughman walks behind his straining team.
Against the grass, against the purple furrows,
   The blades like silver gleam.

Blue smoke hangs where the sunlight dapples,
   Old orchards grey with gaunt and leafless trees.
The piercing scent of green, late-garnered apples
   Comes waveringly with every earthy breeze
There is no sound in all the hidden valley,
   But the loud hum of bees.

But the loud hum of bees uprising, falling
   In places filled with secret yellow comb,
And clear and wild the song of magpies calling
  From windy gums that toss a blossomed foam.
Here in the hidden valley peace has fashioned
   Its own abiding home!  

First published in The Australasian, 25 July 1936

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Beyond the Oil Refineries by Kathleen Dalziel

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Thistles, dry thistles, down Altona way,
A network of needles, a city of swords;
The silver and purple that summer accords,
And autumn enhances, has vanished away;
Atrophied armies still armed to the teeth,
Alerted and dangerous even in death.

Stone fences run, and stumble and fall
Spreadeagled under a scrabble of weeds.
Here where a hoof-hollowed cattle-track leads,
Skirting a ruin where once was a wall,
A twangling sea-wind ascends and suspires,
Plucking laments from the telegraph wires.

Towers, round towers, of industry rise
Up from the edge of the water and seem
Like to some curious Martian dream:
Mushrooming columns set minaret-wise,
Catwalk and pipeline and balconied steel,
Concrete and solid -- and somehow unreal.

Flickers of steam must have frightened the birds
Kestrel and gull (that have looked upon
So many a mounting Babylon)
But, out of the low cloud that lurches towards 
The west, already the larks are at
Spring choir-practice across the flat.

For soon, in the shelter of daggers and dirks,
The larks will be nesting, as ever they did
Before Egypt had thought of a pyramid,
Showering the waste land at back of the Works
With sweet unchangeable songs of joy
Even as once beyond windy Troy.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 July 1956

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Top of a Hill by Mabel Forrest

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If we could find the top of a hill
   From which, miles off one sees the sea, 
A bald-topped mountain, very still,  
   The bushes girded to its knee;
And yet, clean, blue, and everywhere 
The sunny miles of smokeless air! 

If we could find a path that went
   Between the bushes on the grade,
Hot grasses whispering their content 
   With only drifting cloud for shade;
Where one pale gleam on distant downs 
Remained the only hint of towns.

If we could find an April day
   The birds had roused from starry sleep, 
A flight of butterflies that sway
   Like wind-blown petals up the steep -- 
Alone ... with only hills and sky,
We might touch God as he went by!

First published in The Australasian, 17 July 1920

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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May in the Dandenongs by Kathleen Dalziel

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Today in the Dandenongs the white mists, rolling through
The gullies and foothills, dissolve and are not built up anew.
See! Donna Buang in the distance blue as a grape is blue.

Closer down in the orchard, the blunt mushrooms unfold,
Spreading their pin umbrellas over the brown mould,
And the gay wings of rosellas flash in the morning gold.

I hear the low-toned gossip and guess at the things they say
As they plunder the scarlet rowans or swing from a hazel spray;
Fruit and seed and berry they gather -- nuts in May.

The Sylvan Dam is a mirror like that which hung on the wall
In Grimm's old fairy story. From dawn to evenfall
She tells the hills, the skies and the trees who is fairest of all.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 May 1947

Author reference site: Austlit

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Silver Morning by Myra Morris

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Silver the air
And all the cloudy trees
Building along the sky
A filmy frieze!
The grass is wet
And tremulous with silver threads that shake
Pellucid drops
Among the thrusting mushroom-tops.
the lake
Is lost in silver nothingness --
Wan, leaden, large,
Void of all life and form
Save at the cold grey marge
Where spectral rushes lean
Mirrored in silver grass and green. 

Out on the flats the little hollows hold
Pale silver brimming clear and cold.
The huddled farmhouse-roofs take shape
Through silver curling fold on fold.
Each fence is swathed in silver floss.
Each pathway makes a silver stroke
Where the dim cattle go across
Rimmed in silver smoke.

And hark!
Under the silver arc
Of sky the magpies sing! --
A song mysterious, remote,
Each long-drawn note
Seeming as though 'twere flung
From some high silver tower that hung
In quivering space --
A place
With airy battlements empearled,
Whose silver pinnacles enlace
Some lost enchanted world.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 May 1936 

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Hills by Zora Cross

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Hills, you must hold the very heart of thought,
Untrammelled in your cold, remote repose, 
As round about my solitude you close  
In sapphire silence immemorially caught
Oft, oft at eve some message I have sought 
In your grave grandeur every lover knows. 
Only your quietness replies through those 
Majestically azure summits -- nought.

O distant, dear, sequestered sentinels
Of days unborn and everlasting nights,
Breathe the grand ample peace you keep in me;
And lift me where no earthly spirit dwells;
And make me one with you, O healing heights! 
Blue hills that mate with God's eternity!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May 1931

Late Summer by the Goulburn by Kathleen Dalziel

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Brown waves, bobbing
Across the stones
Dance to the thundering undertones
Of crickets strumming in grasses rank.
Grasshoppers drumming from bank to bank
The same old rhythms, the same roll-call,
And the bleaching noon-day above it all.

The brown swimming-hole mirrors, out of plumb,
The tawny bole of a river gum
where, top of the slant-leafed, twisty tree,
A brown hawk scans
Eternity;

Looks the earth and its outskirts over:
Cocksfoot, fescue, withered clover
Dusty and dull, unbeautiful.
The slopes run up and the road runs down,
Drifts and dwindles and disappears
In a mirage of shaking, spangling airs.
All the world
Shrivelled and curled,
Leaf-dry, sapless and summer brown.

I like it thus.
It suits my mood,
This murmurous brown solitude;
With the sap dried out
Of the heart of things --
Of being, after the heart's long drought.
Though no bird sings,
It is not the greyness of pain or fear,
Never the blackness of despair:
For paddock and hillside, ridge and slope
Are heavy with promise, rich with hope,
Only waiting the autumn rain
To shiver and spring to life again.

First published in The Bulletin, 6 May 1953

Author reference site: Austlit

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Lake Corangamite by Kathleen Dalziel

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The hills beyond Corangamite
   Are very blue to-day;
The heat haze shimmers out of sight
   Across them, and away.
Down misty miles the paddocks lie
   In afternoon's long light,
Naught else, save sun and larkspur sky
   And Lake Corangamite. 

Yes, 'tis a vale of Avalon
   Where great cloud-shadows pass 
Each slowly sailing, on and on,
   Across the flowing grass.
Where once the ocean, green and white,
   Trampled the drown-ed vale, 
Now only Lake Corangamite
   Remains to tell the tale.

Remains to watch the centuries' close
   Through wind and sun and rain,
Lest some tremendous day, who knows,
   Ocean comes home again.
And flows the wave where swayed the grain,
   The weed where waved the tree;
And earth, o'er weary, finds again
   The arms of mother sea.

Let pass the fancy. Each by each
   See the cloud galleons swim
To where the league-long paddocks reach
   The far horizon's rim.
Among the blossom there remain
   Spring's loiterers left awhile.
And seed that sighs for autumn rain
   Down many a summer mile. 

The hills beyond Corangamite
   Have drawn their dark hoods on, 
Dreamland has drifted out of sight
   And lost is Avalon,
The golden day has run like sand
   Into the pit of night;
So darkness hides the lonely land
   And Lake Corangamite.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April 1933

Author reference site: Austlit

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Wood Smoke by Kathleen Dalziel

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A whiff of wood smoke in the rain,  
   A tang of earth scents drifting grey,  
And all my heart is home again,
   Beyond the hills of Emu Bay.

The dark Tasmanian forest dreamed
   Down to the skyline, sunset-tipped; 
Blackwood and myrtle, dusky beamed,
   And fringed pine, and eucalypt. 

The molten light in mellow miles
   Along the ringbarked clearings lay; 
The hollows marked in hazy aisles
   The quickening end of quiet day. 

I saw the silver-wattle's grove,
   Whose early golds to spring belong,
The creek that through the tea-tree wove
   Its threaded loops of silver song. 

Gold sunbeams in a dusty shower
   Filtered through ancient orchard boughs; 
I heard across the evening hour
   The youngsters, bringing up the cows. 

All heaven's wild roses died away
   In widening deeps of amethyst;
Stockyard and haystacks sank to grey
   In the uprising evening mist.

Within the doorway's dusky frame
   The firelight flickers as of old; 
Beams of a household altar flame
   Long, long ago burnt out and cold. 

Motionless in a pearly heaven
   The chimney smoke suspended curled; 
Sad ancient sorcery that, even
   Now, wafts me to another world.

Oh! vanished years, oh habitude
   Of childhood's joy and childhood's pain! 
Yet would I, even If I could
   Turn back the tired years again?

A whiff of wood smoke in the rain,
   A tang of earth scents drifting grey -- 
And all my heart is home again
   Beyond the hills of Emu Bay.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 April 1931

Author reference site: Austlit

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Nobody's Hill by Kathleen Dalziel

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Dark stands the hill, with a star on the crest of it;
   Dark looms the forest, deep-bosomed and still;
Loud sings the river, a star on the breast of it,
   Down through the hollow of Nobody's Hill.

Round by the ridge and the islands that sunder it,
   Swift where the waterfalls tumble and spill
Over the stones and the rocks that lie under it
   Into the night beyond Nobody's Hill.

Points the tall poplar, a mark for the morning star,
   Planted lang syne by a hand that is still,
Sentry-like set where the dogwood and bracken are
   Hiding the ruins by Nobody's Hill.

Roof-tree long fallen and windowless eyes of it,
   Heartbreak and hopelessness working their will...
Comes there a ghost where the summer winds sighs of it
   Under the shoulder of Nobody's Hill?

Comes there a ghost, 'mid the ghosts of the apple-gums
   Lifting dead boughs to blind Heaven, until
Over the ridge the rose of the morning comes,
   New-born and sweet, over Nobody's Hill?

Where by the hearthstone the rafter-beam rotten is,
   Filled with the fern spray that wanders at will,
Leave them to-night and a name that forgotten is
   Under the shadow of Nobody's Hill.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 March 1933

Author reference site: Austlit

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The Corduroy Road by Kathleen Dalziel

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It curved by the foot of the cloud-crested mountain,
   It climbed by the edge of the tussock-grass plain,
By glens where the clematis fell like a fountain
   Of stars to the fern-gullies' fairy domain;
Through a wedge in the range where the waratahs blossomed,
   And the platypus shy had his watery abode,
Where the broken stream raced through a valley, deep-bosomed
   With myrtle and musk, ran the corduroy road.

The silver-white read, where the hoar frost was sprinkled
   Like diamond dust over culvert and crown,
When every archway with emeralds twinkled,
   And every fern-frond with crystal dripped down;
The green-bowered road, in the blue of the summer,
   When bright parrakeets in the gum-blossom glowed,
And the eaglehawk circled, a kingly far-comer,
   High over the heights of the corduroy road.

The corduroy road is a long-banished byway,
   For Progress, that spins at the wheel of car,
Has turned the lone track to a rolling broad highway,
   That's reeking of petrol and smelling of tar.
Though the young saplings lift where the summer lies sorest
   On bare, ringbarked paddocks where giants corrode,
They are not the old kings of the eucalypt forest
   That rose by the curve of the corduroy road.

Though the silver-white clouds are as kindly as ever,
   The blue of the morning as mistily deep.
No more the shy platypus plays in the river,
   No more the red waratah flames on the steep.
Long, long it is now since enchantment would take me
   By the hand to adventure the fern-trees' abode,
Yet memory stirs from her silence to make me
   A rhyme of regret for the corduroy road.

First published in The Bulletin, 28 February 1934

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.  

Indigenous by Zora Cross

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Not Solferino, Piedmont nor Glencoe
   Presented to Man's sight more grief than these 
   Lone cemeteries of forgotten trees
   Whose tragic skeletons, bleached white as snow, 
   Litter the hills where they were wont to grow 
   Verdant as those that in wrapt beauty seize 
   The tired traveller's eyes with cooling ease
At Canberra, leafy-clean row by row.

War knows no desolation quite so grim,
   As slaughtered trees exposed in Death's stark rest, 
   While mild sheep move in innocence apart
Cropping the grass round rotting trunk and limb.
   Wide fissures ever deepening attest
   Earth in erosion breaks her gallant heart.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 January 1949

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

See also.  

Apple Isle by Kathleen Dalziel

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When the night hours gather grey,
   I am back to the days of old,
Where the seeding grasses sway
   By the Capeweeds' cloth o' gold.
Dimmed by dust and choked with drouth,
   How my spirit longs awhile
For the havens of the south,
   Far way in Apple Isle!

For the russet roads and green
   Through the brackens and the musk --
Dappled ways that wind between;
   Bronzewings crooning in the dusk.
When the west flames into flower,
   fern and feathery grasses mark.
Goblin crickets call the hour,
   First the daylight and the dark.

Purples on the eastern hill;
   Towering spurs of eucalyptus;
Dells where dusky blackwoods spill
   Scented showers, downward dripped.
Night along the range remote,
   Stirring to a seaward breeze,
With a brown owl's haunting note
   Mourning from the myrtle trees.

When the month's enchanted smile
   Past the blue dividing sea,
All along by Apple Isle
   (Land of yesteryear for me)
I remember moonrise hours,
   And the molten paths that lay
Where the star shine breaks in showers
   Eastward over Emu Bay.

Love and youth have left me one,
   Faith and friendship fallen behind;
Still I hear the woodnotes blown --
   Pipes of Pan -- along the wind;
Find enchanted asphodels,
   Dream immortal melodies,
In the swing of wildflower bells
   And the surge of summer seas.

When the whispering trees are bowed,
   Still I find the glamor grows
In the color of a cloud
   Or the ruffling of a rose;
By the rain bowed waterfalls
   Catch the faĆ«ry light that gleams,
Hear the wondrous madrigals
   Weaving through my misty dreams.

Could I take my way to-night
   Down the bracken-bordered road,
Find the lanes of lost delight
   where the saffron sunset glowed,
I should ask no other boon,
   When the blossoming orchards smile
Underneath a curving moon
   Far away in Apple Isle.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 January 1927

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.  

From an Upstairs Window by Myra Morris

| No TrackBacks
A windmill turning in the rain,
Backwards and forwards and round again,
With clanking arms that strive and strain.

Across the muddy road from me,
A wet tin roof and chimneys three
As red as polished porphyry.

Tall poplars past the ice-black flags,
Round-shouldered in the wind, like hags
Trembling in all their tattered rags.

A waggon splashing up the road,
With silver milk-cans safely stowed;
A burly man upon the load.

Greyness that gathers like a tide
And drowns the plains immense and wide:
Greyness without - greyness inside!

My thoughts that turn with gusty pain,
Driven around and back again.
Are like the windmill in the rain!

First published in The Bulletin, 15 January 1925

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Grass by Kathleen Dalziel

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Rippling leagues
   Of light unrolled, 
The grasses run
   To the sunset gold.

Run to the far earth's
   Edge indeed,
Starred and sprinkled
   With golden weed. 

Fine spun hollow,
   And height, and heap, 
A shallow ocean
   Knee deep, knee deep. 

A feathery forest,
   Fringed morass,
Oh, all the world is
   Nothing but grass. 

Nothing but beauty,
   And what can I
But dream as the dreaming
   Days go by?

Watching the golden
   Pageant pass
Over the seeding
   Summer grass.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 January 1934

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.  

The Ridge Road by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
After Strezlecki, settlers came,
   Back in the old hard years,
To play a lonely, losing game
'Gainst Gippsland mud and forest flame -
   Tough-hearted pioneers.
A scanty living here to seek,
   They fought a battle dire;
They blazed a trail to Brandy Creek
And travelled fifty miles a week
   On sledges thro' the mire.

They called their inn the "Robin Hood,"
   A welcome refuge then,
Last outpost of good cheer that stood,
Most fitly, by the robber wood
   That filched the strength of men.
And after, on the way they took
   By Warragul and Drouin,
By Gunyah-Gunyah and Balook,
Stood many a home by hill and brook
   Gone, like their hopes, to ruin.

But now who seeks, on pleasure bent,
   The road that tops the ridge
Where once the struggling settlers went
Shall find a land of sleek content
   By bank and sturdy bridge.
And where the men knew the forest's wrath
   Around the Allambee,
By Kurrajong and Mirboo North,
The silver way goes winding forth
   To Yarram and the sea.

First published in The Herald, 15 December 1931

Roads to Romance by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
The following Victorian place-names are all mentioned in the various roads and bridges reports of the Victorian Country Roads Board.

When I next take a country tour
   By rustic hill and valley,
My way I'll seek by Fat Cow Creek
   Or round by Pretty Sally.
To Break-o-day, that leads to Yea,
   Or Whalebone Creek I'll journey,
Or inch by inch up Devil's Pinch
   Seek pleasant roads and ferny.

The distant view by Cockatoo
   No bill-board here shall sully;
Or I may go by old Blind Joe
   Or down to Dead Horse Gully.
By many a mile to Wait-a-While
   I'll wend, if here may car go,
Or double back Insolvent's Track
   That struggles down from Dargo.

Thro' byways strange on Fainting Range,
   To Turnback may I well go;
By vistas green at Seldom-Seen,
   Past many a Devil's Elbow.
Or I may jog by Haden's Bog,
   And on to Flash Camp follow,
To risk a fall at Bust-me-gall
   And end in Dirty Hollow.

First published in The Herald, 7 July 1932

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 Blue Hills by Ruth M. Bedford

| No TrackBacks
My own blue hills! When morning's mist,
   Arising slowly, melts away,
And they are faintly amethyst
   And softly grey.

I love them -- love their every change,
   My hills -- my own familiar friends! 
Out to the furthest purple range
   My love extends.

Bright noonday finds them deeply blue,
   And when the sun in glory sets
The distant mountains take the hue
   Of violets.

Oh from their solemn beauty mild
   Some healing influence steals to steep 
My troubled spirit, as a child
   Is hushed to sleep.

And though life lead me far apart
   To lands whose strangeness cramps and chills,
They still shall calm and keep my heart,
   My own blue hills!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 November 1924

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Mountain Mist by Ivy Moore

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My heart is caught by the mountain mist,
   By glamour of soft blue haze:
The glint of light where the rivers twist,
   Like argent beneath my gaze!

My heart is caught by the mountain mist,  
   Where the pines and heather grow:
And one may wander where'er one list,
   To the peaks with crests of snow!

My heart is caught by the mountain mist,  
   By azure of pool and tarn;  
The glory of rainbow sky sun kist,
   The cattle around the barn.

My heart is caught by the mountain mist,
   By the blue smoke from the farm;
The lovely song of the birds, I wist.
   That falls on my soul like balm.

My heart is caught, by the mountain mist,
   At dawn with its rosy glow;
Or mystic night when the stars keep tryst,  
   O'er the sleeping land below. 

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November 1934

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Mountain Nocturne by L.H. Allen

| No TrackBacks
Mock daylight, phantom blue, the window stains,
Thrown by the street-lamp with a chilly glare.
Star-powdered blue above, essential air,
Blends with the lamplight on the frosty panes.

A swathe of mist obscures the minarets
Of winter poplars somnolent and slim,
Shells of the summer, stripped and ghostly dim,
Potential emerald caught in silver nets.

Red lights along the ridges of the hills
Wink warning to the eagles of the night
Reverberant-rumbling through the steeps of space    

Above the cottage smoke that streams and spills
In foaming jets and curls of moonlit white  
That with the fainter silver interlace.      

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September 1954

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Where Willow-Trees Fringe a Fairyland by Harry "Breaker" Morant

| No TrackBacks
When the sky was the softest shade of grays,
   Save eastward --- where glowered one fire-edged cloud --
I watched in the dawning the brown hills raise
   Their wood-clad crests from a misty shroud;
         And I waiting stood
         At the skirt of the wood,
Where the river has wound through its waste of sand,
         And its broad tide slips
         By the thirsty tips
Of the willow-trees fringing Fairyland!

And You came! -- as the morning sunbeams came --
   And the whole of this fair world waxed more bright;
Whilst the sunlight shone upon fields aflame,
   Till the valley was flooded with yellow light.
         We dallied that day
         Till the skies grew gray,
And the gloaming yielded to dusky night;
         For the short hours fled
         With a hasty tread,
As though Night were jealous of Day's delight.

Years come, and go! but they cannot efface
   What are memories now --- of Fairyland!
Your innocent eyes and your girlish grace
   And the soft, warm clasp of your little hand.
         Now I stand alone
         Where the sunlight's thrown
On the willow boughs, ere the day is done --
         When their drooping fringe
         Just borrows a tinge
Of fiery light from the fading sun.

And a quiet broods o'er the rugged hill,
   And the birds which sang in the morn are dumb;
Whilst here by the willows I wait until
   That other -- and longer --- night shall come.
         There's a faint, faint plash
         And a silvery flash
Where the waters swirl round the willow stems,
         And the darkling sky
         Unrolls on high
Its banner spangled with starry gems.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 September 1898;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant : His 'Ventures and Verses edited by Frank Renar, 1902; and
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from "The Bulletin" 1891-1903 with original illustrations by Breaker Morant, 1980.
 
Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Trees in Mist by L. H. Allen

| No TrackBacks
Light winds across the upper heaven race,
Driving their clouds edged with a herald ray
Over the hlll-crest where the dawn-fires play,
Golden and red, in trembling interlace.

Within the cup that skirts the mountain-base
The mist is gathered in a swathe of grey,  
That stretches undulous 'neath the coming day,  
Until it hides the plain-land's dewy face.

Slow-wreathing like a chill benumbing foam,  
It drifts o'er all the hollow till it seems
A silver silence 'neath a clarion blue.

And now it parts and bares a noble dome,
Great trees in hooded conclave of old dreams,
Deepening with secrecy each sombre hue.   

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 1932

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Tumut by Will M. Fleming

| No TrackBacks
Athwart fair fields long shadows fall;  
Slow magpies croon their homing call;  
   The purple hills
Beneath an opalescent sky
Like dreams of peace quiescent lie;
   High mountain-rills
Are here become sweet, gentle streams,
Where, silvered o'er, the sunset gleams.

Slim, silent poplars, spires of gold,
In regal calm their beauty hold
   Beneath the blue
That, darkening to the touch on night,
Shows dusted points of distant light
   Just twinkling through
Like fairies peeping down to see
How perfect haunts of man may be.

As incense rising softly there
The hearthside smoke ascends the air
   And clings above;
Close-gathered by the eventide
Sweet peace and happiness abide
   In tender love.
For beauty here lies in repose   
As fragrance clings around an rose.      

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 June 1928

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Road by Grace Ethel Martyr

| No TrackBacks
The road runs pleasantly along
   'Neath arching boughs and shady trees.
Birds sing their happy morning song
   And twilight's tranquil melodies.
The flowers are sunkissed, frail and sweet,
And warm young grass grows for my feet.

No towering mountains bid me climb
   Their snow-clad heights; no glacier bars
My path; no loft peak sublime
   Forbids my journey to the  stars,
While Death and Danger waiting there
Still challenge me to greatly dare.

No faming torrent thunders past
   The iron rocks, impetuous, swift
And uncontrolled, and laughs to cast
   The spray on high to toss and drift
And shine a moment in the sun,
A jewelled fabric, fairy-spun.

No glimpse of strange and unknown seas
   Is there, no sight of ocean blue
To draw my heart. No freshening breeze
   Sings clear of careless deeds to do
Aboard some wonder ship, with sails
Wide-spread to swift adventurous gales.

The road is shady, sheltered. Few
   Walk where, through many a quiet day,
I go, and where the evening dew
   Falls soft -- who knows but patience may
Be great as courage, and no less
Content may be than happiness?

First published in The Bulletin, 23 June 1921

Author: Grace Ethel Martyr (1888-1934) was born in Ballarat and for a time before her death in Bendigo in 1934 she was social editor of the Bendigo Advertiser.

Author reference site:
Austlit

The Wallaby Track by Will H. Ogilvie

| No TrackBacks
Oh, a weird, wild road is the Wallaby Track
   That is known to the bushmen only,
Stretching away to the plains out back
   And the big scrubs lorn and lonely!   
Dawn till dark they are passing there,
   Over the hot sand thronging,
Shouldering burdens of Doubt and Despair,
   Passion and Love and Longing.

There are pearls of dew on the Wallaby Track
   For the maiden Day's adorning,
And blush-clouds beating the night-shades back
   In the van of the golden morning;  
There are glories born of the sinking sun
   In the splendid Eve's lap dying,
A glitter of stars lit one by one,
   And a rustle of night-wings flying.

There are long bright days on the Wallaby Track,
   With a blue vault arching over,
And long, long thoughts that are drifting back
   To the waiting wife and lover;
There are horse-bells tinkling down the wind
   With a thousand rippling changes,
And the boom of the team-bells intertwined
   From the far-off mulga ranges.

There are stars of gold on the Wallaby Track,
   And silver the moonbeams glisten;
The great Bush sings to us, out and back,
   And we lie in her arms and listen;
Our dull hearts quicken their rhythmic beat
   For a wild swan's southward flying,
And gather old memories sadly sweet
   From a wind-swept pine-bough's sighing.  

There are lone graves left on the Wallaby Track,
   And the bush-grass bends above them;
They had no white hands to wave them back,
   Perhaps --- no hearts to love them!
But none the less will their sleep be sound
   For the Hope and Love denied them;
They will hear no tramp on the thirsty ground
   Though our path runs close beside them.

First published in The Bulletin, 6 June 1896;
and later in
The North Queensland Register, 7 November 1927; and
Fair Girls and Grey Horses: With Other Verses by Will H. Ogilvie, 1958.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Euroclydon by Henry Kendall

| No TrackBacks
      On the storm-cloven Cape  
         The bitter waves roll  
         With the bergs of the Pole,
And the darks and the damps of the Northern Sea;
      For the storm-cloven Cape
      Is an alien Shape
With a fearful face, and it moans and it stands
      Outside all lands
            Everlastingly!  

      When the fruits of the year
         Have been gathered in Spain,   
         And the Indian rain
Is rich on the evergreen lands of the Sun,
      There comes to this Cape --
      To this alien Shape,
As the waters beat in and the echoes troop forth
      The Wind of the North,
            Euroclydon!  

      And the wilted thyme,
         And the patches past
         Of the nettles cast
In the drift of the rift, and the broken rime,
      Are tumbled and blown
      To every zone  
With the famished glede, and the plovers thinned
      By this fourfold Wind --
            This Wind sublime!

      On the wrinkled hills
         By starts and fits
         The wild Moon sits,
And the rindles fill, and flash, and fall
      In the way of her light
      Through the straitened Night
When the sea heralds clamour and elves of the war    
      In the tortents afar,
            Hold festival.

      From ridge to ridge
         The polar fires
         On the naked spires
With a foreign splendeur flit and flow  
      And clough and cave
      And architrave,
Are red from side to side, from wall to wall,
      Like a nether hall
            In the hells below!  

      The dead dry lips
         Of the ledges, split
         By the thunder-fit
And the stress of the sprites of the forked flame,
      Anon break out
      With a shriek and a shout,  
Like a hard bitter laughter, cracked and thin
      From a ghost with a sin
            Too dark for a name!  

      And all through the year
         The fierce seas run
         From sun to sun;  
Across the face of a vacant world!  
      And the Wind flies forth  
      From the wild white North,
That shivers and harries the heart of things,
      And shapes with its wings
            A Chaos uphurled!

      Like one who sees
         A rebel light
         In the thick of the night,
As he stumbles and staggers on summits afar
      Who looks to it still   
      Up hill and hill.
With a steadfast hope (though the ways be deep
      And rough and steep),
            Like a steadfast star;   

      So I that Stand
         On the outermost peaks
         Of peril, with cheeks
Blue with the salts of a frosty Sea,
      Have learnt to wait   
      With an eye elate,
And a heart intent, for the fuller blaze
      Of the Beauty that rays
            Like a glimpse for me.

      Of the Beauty that grows
         Whenever I hear
         The Winds of Fear
From the tops and the bases of barrenness call.
      And the duplicate lore
      Which I learn evermore,    
Is of harmony filling and rounding the Storm,
      And the marvellous Form  
            That governs all!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 1866;
and later in
The Australasian, 23 March 1867;
Leaves from Australian Forests by Henry Kendall, 1869;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1957;
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966; and
Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence edited by Michael Ackland, 1993.

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

See also.

Condamine Bluffs, Killarney by Alice Ham

| No TrackBacks
So old! So hoar! Who knows how old they are --
These crags of Eld, that front the Evening Star?

From silver mists they rear their heads sublime,
Furrowed by miles and tears of ancient Time.

Yet at their feet in veiling foliage set,
Gay bloom the gorse and faint blue violet.

And as we ride, beyond the ferny screen
The bell-bird's note falls clear our words between.

The river winds with many a sinuous turn,
Of dreams in hollows green with moss and fern.

Our horses' hoof-beats, echoing from the walls,
Discordant break the music of the Falls.

Against the granite background gray and cold
Autumn, the artist, paints the poplar gold.

Ah! azure world God makes so fair to see,
I go. Thy beauty stays, unchanged, with me.

First published in The Queenslander, 8 May 1897

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Midnight, Manly by Lola Gornall

| No TrackBacks
A ghostly wind just stirring the pine trees
   Along the sandy crescent where they grow --
A fragile wind -- a sea -- lost, pirate breeze
   That scarcely moves their branches to and fro.

The darkness of black opal on the sand
   Where, late, the gold noose of the Sun-God shone;
No glimmering light by sea, no light by land,
   No beacon ray to pin one's faith upon.

Not one pale star the midnight vigil keeps;
   The starless sea reflects a starless sky;
And a grey breaker, like a grey horse, leaps
   To where by North Steyne cold the grey rocks lie.

Keen sea-salt perfumes through the darkness steal,
   And out at sea strange southern thunders roll --
Manly deserted! In my heart I feel
   The sun-lost weeping of her midnight soul.     

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 1926

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

In the Silent Land by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
In the silent land,
Everywhere there is white, white sand,
And a deep and never-ending hush.
Over the grey and the sparse saltbush,
The bones of the fallen mark the track,
And life is one long, long looking back,
In the silent land.

In the silent land,
A lean Death stalks with a beck'ning hand,
The heavy swag to the back is bound,
The sweat falls salt on the thirsty ground,
Under a sun that for aeons has shone,
And the river is always "further on,"
In the silent land.

In the silent land,
Never is flower by wet wind fanned,
No bird calls cheering and musical,
But a wide-winged fear broods over all;
White sand, grey saltbush, and whiter bone--
And when men die it is all alone,
In the silent land.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 28 February 1906

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Burragorang, Evening by Ella McFadyen

| No TrackBacks
Here, undiscovered might the dark tower hide,
   Whereof two poets told th' imagined quest;
Frowning, great gable-ended mountains bide,
   Their stony foreheads redd'ning to the west.   
The pastures blanch as at some twilight tale,
   Told by the shivering she-oaks crooning sprite --
And cold as moonlight on a dead man's mail,
   The links of pallid water wait the night.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 1931

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.
O Reader was it ever thine to see
   A battle of the storm and hurricane,
   Waged round the peaks of some huge mountain chain,  
The deadly flash of Heaven's artillery,  
The cannon smoke of squall-clouds luridly  
   Hanging about the vantage points -- the rain
   Pausing, like darkness, ere it drops amain     
To still the combat? Such was deigned to me
   On Mount Victoria's majestic pass;
      The thunder volleyed and thick smoke of cloud
   Enveloped York and mounts of lesser mass,
      Save when the murderous flash of lightning ploughed
   A momentary passage, and the hail
   Swept like a bullet shower before the gale.  
      
First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 5 January 1884

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Western Plains by Walter D. White

| No TrackBacks
O'er league-long plains, elusive, yet Elysian,
I gaze, enraptured, at the fairy vision;
Down sunlit paths, through shadowy aisles of green,
Enthralled by all the witchery of the scene.
A world enchanted swims up to the drooping sky,
A vast, lone realm, out-stretching to infinity!   
Under clouded arches sapphirine,
While liquid gold with glory floods the Western way,
I linger through this wondrous Western day --
And dream of old-world pomps and long-forgotten times,
Of pageants royal, of flower-strewn paths, and joyous chimes --
And feel the mystery and the magic of the bush,
Of great, still spaces, richly, strangely blest;
Around and o'er me all the glamour of the West.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 January 1932

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Old Road by Harold Johnston

| No TrackBacks
The road that leads to Sydney town --
   A pleasant road, and fragrant, too,
Where lovers wander up and down,
   And tell the old, old tale anew,
While wattle blooms are falling down
Along the road to Sydney town.

The country maid no longer hears
   The bellbird's cry or croon of dove;
For ever whispees in her ears
   The call of beauty and of love;
And seeking out her smartest gown
She takes the road to Sydney town.  

The bush lad dreams of mighty deeds --
   Beneath the shadow of the gum;
He follows where his fancy leads,
   And sees himself in days to come,
A knight all armed and riding down
The magic road to Sydney town.

From bush, from mine, from shearing shed,  
   They tramp along the well-worn track;   
The sun is blazing overhead.
   But what of that? They're coming back.   
And no one dreams of breaking down --   
The road leads home to Sydney town.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 December 1930

Author: Harold Crawford Johnston (1866-1945) was born in Gerringon, New South Wales and died in Brisbane, Queensland.  Beyond this, nothing is known about this author.

Author reference site: Austlit 

The Hills are Blue by Christine Bonwick

| No TrackBacks
All the hills are blue to-day, cool and blue and bracing,
Tonic for your weary heart, balm for all your ills.
We who knew them long ago find our feet retracing
Winding paths of memory, all among the hills.
Where the blackwnods fringe the creek, there our feet are straying;
Where the fragrant sassafras flaunts its tender green,
There the little tumbling streams happy tunes are playing--
How we hear their melodies, o'er the years between!

All the hills are blue to-day, dear and blue and tender;
Help they hold for those who seek strength or sympathy.
Where the mountain breezes stir shaded leaves and slender
Breathe the messages of hope from each murm'ring tree.
Paths that twist and roads that wind yield at every turning
Glimpses of the bushland birds, snatches of their song;
Weary folk, and woe-begone, worn with years of yearning,
All the hills are blue to-day -- won't you come along?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December 1928

Author: Christine Bonwick (1893[?]-1984) trained as a nurse at Royal Melbourne Hospital in 1913, and later worked in in various Save the Children's Camps.  Beyond this nothing is known about this author.

Author reference site: Austlit
Fitzgerald's Creek! Is this Australia,
   This ferny dell, close-shaded from the sun,
   And brown rill rippling over mossy stone,
Beguiling the far-wandered Yorkshireman
Into a dream of fairy vales which ran
   To meet the Tees? Yes, you will see anon
   Charred trunks of eucalypti fallen on
Its bed, and supplejacks cyclopean, 
   Binding huge tree to tree with strength of mesh
   No Afric elephant could tear apart,
While up the bank, in their spring glory fresh,
   The blue lobelia with its yellow heart
And waratah with flame-hued, royal crown
Proclaim the scenery Australia's own.

First published in Australian Town and Country Journal, 3 November 1883

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Sun is Up by John Shaw Neilson

| No TrackBacks
Speak not of Death: it is a merry morn;
A glittering bird has danced into a tree:
From his abundant heart bravely are borne
The loves of leafy choristers to me:
Music is of the sunlight, strong and free ...
The sun is up, and Death is far away:
The first hour is the sweetest of the day.
Blithely a bush boy wanders on a walk --
Shaking with joy, joyous in heart and limb:
For his delight the trees have learned to talk
And all the flowers have little laughs with him
Watching the far sky, wonderful and dim ...
The sun is up, and Death is far away:
The first hour is the sweetest of the day.

First published in The Bookfellow, 15 August 1907;
and later in
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson by John Shaw Neilson, 1934;
Green Days and Cherries: the early verses of Shaw Neilson edited by Hugh Anderson and Leslie James Blake, 1981;
The Faber Book of Modern Australian Verse edited by Vincent Buckley, 1991; and
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence edited by Cliff Hanna, 1991.

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

See also.

Mount Tamborine, Queensland by Emily Coungeau

| No TrackBacks
How shall I paint in words thine image fair,
   Set in a background of red-winged light,    
Glinting through portieres of soft foliage there,
   Gold-flecked ere fading into deepening night?
List to the music of cascades which pour    
   Their liquid silver tribute down the steep
To moss-clad boulders, where it bubbles o'er,
   And fronoled ferns in verdurous beauty peep.
Breathless I wait near thy pellucid stream
   To view some woodland nymph with flashing feet
And brow, flower-bound for this alluring dream --  
   A witching Flora in this cool retreat.
Pensive I grow until the bell-bird's note --      
   Organ-like, pealing in its grand solemnity- -  
Brings haunting memories, as the deep tones float,
   Of vanished hours -- lost chords of melody.
Crowned in magnificence is thy majestic head,
   Queenly thy royal robe of purple grace,
With tender nuausem o'er dewy verdure spread,        
   Where the Pacific's jasper waves embrace.    
Whether in winnowed raiment of the crystal dawn,
   Or golden mantle of the sun's rich ore,
Or jewelled scarf star studded round thee worn,
   Thy smiles or tears but charm me more and more.
Farewell, thy statey beauty! Stay -- a thought
   Hath touched the deep recesses of my soul --
Thou standest, thou Colossus, tempest wrought,
   A Beacon on Time's sea to mark a shoal!

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 9 July 1913;
and later in
Stella Australis: Poems and Verses and Prose Fragments by Emily Coungeau, 1914; and
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Noon -- Sydney by Lola Gornall

| No TrackBacks
Noon in Sydney! ... Surely your blue has lain
   Like some rare jewel, hidden in the deep,
Dark chests of pirates, 'till, by chance again
   The Sun-God rifled what they could not keep?

Come now ... Remind me of far other things.
   Of lovely shining things all faintly cool.
The light on sapphires and on peacocks' wings,
   Blue Lotus buds reflected on a pool....

Let me remember the Madonna's shawl,
   In folds above her young, mysterious face;
Woven of colour. He first saw it all --
   The Baby Christ -- there in His resting-place....

Bring to me leagues of the Pacific sea,
   The hue of Lane Cove River, deep and cold.
Bring shades of an Egyptian tapestry,
   And blues that ancient Chinese porcelains hold....

Noon in Sydney! ... What lies within your spell?
   Is it your ardour caught from tropic skies,
The blue of ice, of which explorers tell,
   Or just the cornflower laughter of your eyes?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 1926

Author: Lola Gornall (1884-1969) was born, lived and died in Sydney, New South Wales.  Beyond this nothing is known about the author of this poem.

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The River Road by Ella McFadyen

| No TrackBacks
With the cut hill rising over,
   And the gully drop below,
Where the surly, burly drover
   Or the trudging swagmen go,
Or the teamster with his load,
      And the bell-birds high are calling,
      And the echoes falling, falling
   Down the winding River Road.

Or perhaps some country maiden,
   In her finery arrayed,
Or the bullocks, heavy-laden,
   Pausing briefly in the shade,
Ere he driver plies the goad,
      And the morning air is bringing
      Tidings of an axe-blade ringing
   Down the dusty River Road.

Here at noon a picnic party
   Spread their hamper on the grass,
With a greeting free and hearty
   For the travellers as they pass,
In the ready country mode;
      And the hills grow blue and hazy,
      And the hot air still and lazy,
   By the rutted River Road.

Then the evening shades caressing,
   Slowly down the hill-side creep,
Breathing sorely as a blessing,
   To the gully dark and deep,
Place of shadowy abode;
      Then the children come, returning.
      From some bush-built shrine of learning,
   Singing down the River Road.

Sinks the sun, red lances falling
   'Twixt the silhouetted trees,
And the plaintive plovers, calling,
   Blend their evening minstrelsies;
Rest, my pilgrims, shed your load,
      What is life beyond a passing?
      A dispensing, an amassing?
   And our path the River Road.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 27 June 1906

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

"The Blue Mountains", An Invitation by Douglas B. W. Sladen

| No TrackBacks
Come to the Mountains, Blue Mountains, Blue Mountains,
   Come to the Mountains this lovely spring day,
To see crisp runnels and bright little fountains,
   Bubbling and gushing and hurrying away!

Come to the Mountains, to see the spring flowers,
   The wattle, the tea tree, the heath in bloom,
To quaff the fresh breeze that blows through their bowers,
   Refreshing the sense and sowing perfume!

Come to the Mountains, to look on the forest,
   Spread out like a cushion beneath your feet,
To look on the monstrous crags, where thou soarest,
   O Eagle, to render the awe complete!

Come to the Mountains, to gaze down the gorges,
   Huge bays with their sealess expanse tree-lined,
To learn how the waterfall roars and surges,
   And drifts its spray with the will of the wind!

Come to the Mountains, to hunt for a valley,
   Deep down in the breast of a rifted hill,
With a shade of woven tree-tops, and gaily
   Bedizened with ferns round each drip and rill!

Come to the Mountains, to roam on the Mountains,
   The Blue Mountains you see so far away,
If it is but to hear our careless fountains,
   O ye who toil in the city all day.

First published
in The Australian Town & Country Journal, 23 June 1883;
and later in
A Century of Australian Song edited by Douglas Sladen, 1888.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Australian Scenery: Bondi Bay by Henry Halloran

| No TrackBacks
What troubled murmurs meet my anxious ear?
What sounds so awful -- melancholy -- drear?  
Is it the thunder's unexhausted roar,
Dying in echoes on the cavern'd shore?
Is it the voice of Ocean, whispering low
The secrets of his depths -- the tales of woe
Unheard by human ears? The gloomy fate
Of some lorn spirit, sad and desolate,
Whelm'd 'neath the waves? The curse -- the hideous cry --
The phrenzied shriek of gasping agony?

Imagination, with discursive wing,
Paints every scene; and, with impetuous spring,
Bursts through the clouds, mysterioutsly spread,
In silent gloom, above the shipwreck'd dead:--
She shews the dastard wretch, unnerv'd by fear,
Sink in the surge;-- the manlier appear
Riding the ridges, and, with look elate,
Struggling, with hope, against the pow'r of fate.
But vain their efforts -- the impetuous surge
Bears them, resisting, to the vortex' verge.
The eddies yawn, and the resistless shock
Dashes their panting bosoms on the rock;--
The waves retire, commingled with their gore,
Leaving their bodies bleaching on the shore!

Hoarser and louder now the surge resounds --
Wilder the woody prospect that surrounds; --
Here heavenly Solitude extends her reign
On the white margin of the bubbling main; --
Here Inspiration bids the heart rejoice --
In ocean's roar we hear th' Eternal's voice:
In every shrub, that decks the sparkling sand,
We trace the work of His creative hand.
The heart expands, unfetter'd by the chain
The world imposes; here the phrenzied brain
May seek repose -- the anguish'd bosom find
A solace for its woes: free as the wind
The thoughts may wander, mid the heart o'erflow
With the wild joy impassion'd spirits know!   

Thro' a long vista of embow'ring trees,
Which give their sear leaves to the rustling breeze,
The wide expanse of Ocean meets the eye --
The awful emblem of Eternity!  

From North to South a sweeping bay extends --
The South-East point in rocky masses ends --
While here and there, upon th' untrodden shore,
Are strewed the 'thwart, the helm, the broken oar --
The fragments of a sail, the splinter'd mast --
The fisher's joy! the victim of the blast!
But where's the fisher? Did the langhing gale
Close round his head? did ev'ry effort fail?  
No tongue can tell: perchance he found a grave
Beneath the azure mantle of the wave; --
Perchance he lives, and in some dark-ribb'd skiff
Now bounds triumphant past the threat'ning cliff.

To the North-East a frowning headland rears
His giant form; on his rough brow appears
The scar of time; magnificently rude,  
He towers above the deep; the waves subdued,
Boil round his base; the many-cavern'd shore
In flying echoes iterates the roar!

The white-haired waves, from Ocean's bosom thrown,
Roll to the shore with melancholy moan;
But gathering strength and fury in their course,
They meet the breakers with resistless force.
Swift to the strand the quiv'ring surges fly,
And hissing spread their rainbow volumes high.
On the wide beach the lucid sparkles blaze
With glow reflected from the solar rays;
As if two planets, from their orbits hurl'd,
Should meet, and pour their star-showers on the world.
The shell-clad shore is gemm'd with glitt'ring surge,
Which fades like light on evening's sombre verge,
Back to the main the weeping tide recoils,
Or midst the barrier rocks in torture boils.
Again returning with impetuous force,
The frantic billows urge their boisterous course:
Across the bay the snow-capt ridges sweep,
And howl in concert with the lab'ring deep!

A little barque, in undulating play,
Dances in distance on her wat'ry way;
And where the blue waves with the clouds unite,
She seems some lonely spirit in her flight:
Still less and less her form; at length she dies,
As fades the rainbow in the azure skies.
No trace remains of where the vessel danc'd --
No trace remains of where the meteor glanc'd --
No trace remains of where the Siroc flew --
No trace remains of morn's aerial dew --
No trace remains to mark the course of man --
His space, a point -- his being, but a span!

Note: "Bondi Bay," distant about 5 1/4- miles due East of Sydney. The word Bondi, in the language of the Aborigines, signifies falling, and is peculiarly apposite to the continual falling of the waters at this spot.

First published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 16 June 1831.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Bellevue Park by Roderic Quinn

| No TrackBacks
I think that man has seldom looked upon
   A scene more beautiful than I behold
From this high park --- upon such azure ways,
   Endowed with such a lavishment of gold.

'Tis afternoon, and slanting autumn rays
   Are falling on the Harbour and the sea,
Which, 'neath a land-wind's soft and sweet caress,
   Awake to life and ripple raliantly.

By white loam washed --- a coast of gold and grey,
   Grey cliff and golden sand, shine north and south;
While, rail and sail, bright-glancing in the sun,
   A pleasure yacht glides towards the Harbour's mouth.

Entranced, enthralled, are all who hither come
   To gaze upon the loveliness outspread
Beneath, around; entranced, also, must be
   Yon single lark that singing floats o'erhead.

Entranced, enchanted, surely it must be,
   Such music dropping as it drifts along,
As though it seeks to voice the peerless scene --
   To tell its utter loveliness in song.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 5 June 1929

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

See also.

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