Recently in Life Category

The Game by Zora Cross

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I thought I held the world within my hand --
   A golden ball of beauty and delight -- 
Rolling it round till every colored land
   Flashed on my eager sight. 

And there came one on soft and fleecy feet, 
   Who said "What is't you play with, laughing there --
Young Hope or Joy or Heart's Desires that beat 
   Through the large circles fair?" 

"Who knows?" I smiled, with wide and shining eyes, 
   Watching the colors of my plaything fade, 
As he Who spake drew nearer and my prize 
   Dulled in his long, grey shade. 

"Give it to me," he begged, and took the ball,
   Throwing it from him with a moan of pain. 
But, as it trembled in its flying fall, 
   My hands caught it again. 

"Good sport," I cried. "Let us play on, my friend." 
   His black, sad looks were lowered as in death. 
But on we played  --a game without an end --
   And neither paused for breath. 

There came an old man, grey and wise of eye, 
   Who glanced upon our sport of worldly play, 
Chuckling to see us make the bright toy fly --
   One grave, the other gay. 

"Play on! Play on!" he muttered, "Catch or miss! 
   From Life to Death the merry bauble spins 
The greatest and the best of games is this, 
   And Old Time knows who wins!"

First published in The Bulletin, 26 September 1918

Patience by Mabel Forrest

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While you sleep
Roses in the garden blow,
Roses which you yet shall know,
And, to yield a scented flood,
Mignonette expands in bud,
Secret, silent by the lawn
Where the bees will come at daw ...

While you weep
Joy, somewhere, her chalice fills
And comes to you o'er the hills ...

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 10 September 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

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Life by Mabel Forrest

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Give me the fire of Being's burning breath! 
Life, swooping with scarlet wings 
To the pale face of death,
Beating back coldness on the livid lip;
Great seas where rose-gilled fish swim in the tide,
And there is no invading man or ship;
Life in the jungle, radiant, spawning green 
And yellow blossomry, and berries red -- 
Fullness of life I ask and then
A long, long sleep at last when I am dead!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 1934

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The End of Youth by C.J. Dennis

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"Too much has been spent on pictures, parties, and having a good time.  Such spending is insane."  Mr. A.L. Gibson, of the State Savings Bank, on Australia's economic position.

Ah, well, it was a good time while it lasted;
   But youth and hectic pleasures never last.
'Tis tragedy when manhood's years are blasted
   By stretching youthful folly, with youth past.
To youth, or nation, come the years of testing
   The vital years that shall produce the sage
Or leave the fool to fall still protesting
   That folly graces age.

Youth's vain extravagance gains toleration
   Since youth was ever just a little mad;
But woe must come at last to man or nation
   When weak maturity would ape the lad.
Here is not time for grief or vain regretting,
   For "if" or "might have been," for futile sighs.
Life holds great things for them who, youth forgetting,
   Look forward with clear eyes.

First published in The Herald, 28 March 1930

Protest of the Elders by S. Elliott Napier

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Oh, Father Time, we ask politely -- 
But still we think we ask it rightly -- 
If you will tell us what's the reason 
Why you, in your sere wintry season,
So wantonly and indiscreetly
Reverse the regular rules completely? 
Why must you so defy all Nature,
You curious, old, "cumstary crature," 
And as we all are older getting
A quicker pace be always setting?
When we were young and wanted hurry 
We couldn't put you in a flurry;
The more the rage for haste then caught us 
The more you'd emulate the tortoise,  
And, disregarding protests wholly,
Would ever crawl and crawl more slowly.
But now, when age would welcome leisure, 
In break-neck speed you take a pleasure. 
An hour's not born before it's dying,
You've taught the years the art of flying;
And, faith! they've proved the aptest scholars 
And race like Yankees after dollars.
You know you really "shouldn't orter;"
Our days are short-why make them shorter? 
Don't drive your worn-out hack so quickly; 
He's broken-kneed and breathing thickly.
And is, indeed -- his plumes grown scanty -- 
No Pegasus, but Rosinante;
And yet, the way you try his paces, 
He might be entered for the races!
And you yourself, you sly old sinner!
You neither younger grow nor thinner;
You must be told, it you don't know it, 
You're getting old and ought to show it. 
We wonder at you, father-certes! 
You're not a Roland or Laertes
To fill the stage in reckless fashion 
With victims of a youthful passion, 
But, like the latter's prosy father,
Are soft and stout and senile rather.
So, therefore, as you should, "go aisy," 
And, as you climb the years, be lazy. 
It's very well at one and twenty, 
But you are old-festina lente!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 December 1926

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

The End of the Song by Emily Coungeau

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When the winds are whispering low and sweet,  
Do you ever listen to what they say?
The tender cadence is blent with grief,
Soft as the sigh of a falling leaf,
As ever the murmurs slow repeat,
"You, too, oh mortals, must pass away."    

To the variant moods of the errant breeze,
The burgeoning leaflets softly blow,  
Their green veins thrill at the lightest touch
Or the great Wood Spirit they love so much;
And the song of Life is the song of these,   
"The fairest leaves are the first to go."

Deep in the forest and by the streams,
Haunting us with its fragrant breath,
Is Wattle, whose delicate fingers must
Weave a silken carpet that turns to dust,   
With her yellow hair, while she always dreams  
Of the tryst to be kept with her lover, Death.

Life's Shadow Play with its silhouettes,
Its tragedy, farce, and its gay romance,   
There, tense emotion, or languid grace,
Love, pain, and passion, all find a place,
If our lines had echoed no vain regrets
The music had drowned the dissonance.    

Golden laughter may chase the tear,
Eyes so solemn can yet be gay,
Lips that meet in an ecstacy,
Souls be tuned to the richest key,
But the sweetest notes are the last we hear,
For the end of the Song must come, some day.  

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 17 October 1925

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

World-Voices by F. Bennett

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"What art thou, swift drought-breaking flood,
That wreckest river farms with mud?"
"A life where good and evil vie
In long and doubtful war am I."

I asked each fallen, withered flow'r
Destroyed by worm or frost or show'r,
Each answered with a stifled sigh:
"A pale, neglected maid was I."

I hailed each aged, giant rock
Slow-weathered by the tempest shock,
Sepulchral came the deep reply;
"A crumbling dynasty am I."

I questioned every sere, red leaf
The import of its season brief.
It murmured as it drifted by:
"A blighted human hope was I."

I taxed each restless, battling blast
That stormed aloud, or wailing passed.
One constant dirge they sang to me:
"Wild, discontented souls were we."

I questioned ev'ry baffled wave
That fretted through its ocean cave,
The answer came --- a wailing sigh:
"A wasted human life am I."

I asked each gaunt and dying tree
That stretched gray arms imploringly.
It creaked in every storm-wind high:
"A prayer as yet unanswered I."

I hailed each mellow, clear-eyed star
Above Earth's dust and turmoil far.
The answer filled Earth, Sea, and Sky:
"A pure, consistent life was I."  

First published in The Queenslander, 18 September 1897

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

What Heart Says by Ruth M. Bedford

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         Is it well to hope?
Look up! Be lightened, desponding eyes,
   And be ye strengthened, O hands that grope!
Comfort and freedom around us lies.
Yet dare I trust in a world so strange,
Where I know nothing, where all may change?
         Is it wise to hope
         When we only guess
         In a world so new?
         Heart says "Yes,
         If I hope, too!"

         Is it well to live?
Now I think it, with much to see,
   Many to give to, and much to give,
And some who are glad of love from me.
Yet who can tell in this world to-day?
All these may wither and fade away.
         Is it well to live?
         Have we power to bless,
         To be brave and true?
         Heart says "Yes,
         If I live, too!"

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 1926

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Rest by Ella McFadyen

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Blue seas above my head-blue seas of sky,
Margined with shores of thin translucent leaves --
Green coats of fancy! An adventurer I,  
In a high world where nothing stays nor grieves
The full-blown sail of happy fantasy,
For toil lets slip what idleness retrieves.
My head on earth's kind pillow, and my soul
Loosed like a bird. The fretted irtaies lean
Across the gulf where never cloudy shoal
Troubles the zeniths deep of blue serene,
But with slack tiller ships of fancy roll
From shore to shore of the inverted scene.
Above me. . . But is there beneath, above,
Or past or present, in this deep still pool,
Where thoughts, like fishes through the coral-grove,
Dart Instant, and are drunk into the cool
Deep shadows of rest, bright filaments that rove,
Fanciful shoals, a vaguely glimmering school.
The quiet hath confessed me and aneals
My blindness, till the soul with walls of glass
The immanent crowding life beholds, and feels
Birth, marriage-flight and burial come to pass,
(Where death is but the shade life's light reveals)
Each hour amid the immeasured, murmurous grass.
Somewhere a bird tells beads of golden song
The silence takes and in her bosom lays,
Their tremulous, golden mystery to prolong,
And utter peace translated is to praise,
As minutes pass, a velvet-footed throng ---
Ah, God be thanked for length of summer days.

(Irtaies -- i.e., in aboriginal dialect, the giant nettle-trees of the Big Scrub.)

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 March 1932

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

A Vision of Youth by Victor J. Daley

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A horseman on a hilltop green
   Drew rein, and wound his horn;
So bright he looked he might have been
   The Herald of the Morn.

His steed was of the sovran strain
   In Fancy's meadows bred ---
And Pride was in his tossing mane,
   And Triumph in his tread.

The rider's eyes like jewels glowed ---
   The World was in his hand ---
As down the woodland way he rode
   When Spring was in the land.

From golden hour to golden hour
   For him the woodland sang,
And from the heart of every flower
   A singing fairy sprang.

He rode along with rein so free,
   And, as he rode, the Blue
Mysterious Bird of Fantasy
   Ever before him flew.

He rode by castle and by cot,
   Through all the greenland gay;
Bright eyes through casements glanced at him;
   He laughed --- and rode away.

The whole world wide was all aflood
   With light empyrean,
And through his throbbing veins the blood
   In keen sweet shudders ran.

His steed tossed head with fiery scorn,
   And stamped, and snuffed the air ---
As though he heard a sudden horn
   Of far-off battle blare.

Erect the rider sat awhile
   With flashing eyes, and then
Turned slowly, sighing, with a smile,
   "The weary world of men!"

But ah -- but ah! the Morning glowed,
   The green trees beckoned him,
And deep, and deeper still, rode he
   Into the Forest Dim.

That rider with his face aglow
   With joy of life I see
In dreams. Ah, years and years ago
   He parted ways with me!

Yet, sometimes, when the days are drear
   And all the world forlorn,
From out the dim wood's heart I hear
   The echo of his horn.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 January 1894;
and later in
At Dawn and Dusk by Victor J Daley, 1898;
Selections from the Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens and George Mackaness, 1925; and
Early Verse of the Canberra Region: A Collection of Poetry, Verse and Doggerel from Newspapers, Other Publications and Private Sources edited by Lyall Gillespie, 1994.

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

See also.

The Winds of Life by Margaret Fleming (Rita MacLeod)

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Dew-dipped the rosebud rests
   In calm of night,
Till swayed with fragrant winds
   And bathed with light.

The dew of dawn dissolves
   With noon's hot rays;
Alone, beloved of winds,
   The flower sways.

Till fading fast, wind-tossed,
   Strewn leaves in flight,
She crumples up to dust,
   And sleeps in night.  

So souls in nothingness,
   Disturbed with life,
Awake to conscious thought,  
   Unbidden strife.

Remain a while with Time,
   Arrayed in bloom;
Then fade away to naught,
   Uncared, wind-strewn.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 30 December 1914

Author: Rita MacLeod (1891-??) was born in Invercargill, New Zealand and arrived in Australia in 1902.  She worked for a time as a journalist in Brisbane and it is believed she died in England.

Author reference site: Austlit

Faith by Zora Cross

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May not the soul be fed with brighter food
Than that the brown earth yields? May not the mind,
Freed from old knowledge, some new vision find
In spheres that are without dull stone and wood?
Surely the spirit earns its livelihood   
Of images Divinity designed.
Surely the bread of dreams that keeps us blind
To fleshly, needs Death's seed of Sleep makes good.
The adolescence of the ego still
Encourages us to sing, though Time
Bids us instruct our conscience how to heaven
Eternity to the omniscient Will.
May we not leam, then, despite War's red crime,
Hell's but a mirage on the plain of Heaven?

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 1943

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Solitary by Emily Bulcock

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Man's spirit dwells within a desert place.
   He strives in vain to voice his soul's deep speech;
Stretching frail hands across dividing space ---
   No handclasp comes, no intimate answers reach.

Must even Love that chasm fail to span?
   Must passion's rarest moments teach but this,   
That utterly alone the Soul of Man
   Finds no real fusion even in lovers' kiss?     

"Come closer love --- so near I may not feel
   The sundering chasm, which all our love defies.
Next moment may the shuddering Gulf reveal.
   O love with subtle witcheries bind my eyes!"

Nay, wistful mortal, doomed from your strange birth    
   To hopeless quest beneath an alien sky ---   
Heir of the Heavens ye shall not find on earth
   The ultimate answer to your yearning cry.

First published in The Courier-Mail, 20 November 1937

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Lad Who Started Out by John Shaw Neilson

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October and the shining air put wondrous thoughts in him;
And he could fight and climb and ride, and he could shoot and swim;
The baby was about him yet, but a mystic fever ran   
In the little lad who started out one day to be a man.

Tempting and fair, two furlongs off, there rose the forest green,
Where the subtle bees had hid their home; but the river ran between.
Out of a gaudy dandelion a whispering pirate flew,    
And the fever spoke to the dear lad, and told him what to do.

Ay, 'twas a madness of the heart! but of the kind that goes
With the kingly men and conquerors, wherever red blood shows.  
A thousand fathers stormed in him and drove him in his dream:
Quickly he cast his clothes aside, and walked into the stream.    

The babe's blue was on his eye, and the yellow on his hair,
Proudly he held the good broad chin that all the heroes bear.
But, oh! too high and wide and strong the snow-fed river ran
For the little lad who started out one day to be a man.

Ah, madly comes the taste of him in coats the children wear,
And the red caps of the toddlers, and ruddy legs and bare,
The pirates whispering in the gold say grievous things of him.
And the leaves along the sunshine laugh, because he could not swim.

There is a woman, sweet and kind, a woman, calm and grey,
And her eyes have love for little lads, in all their boisterous play.
She says "So was his merry heart, so was his pretty chin;
My sorrow must run out and out, for I dare not keep it in."

But when the snow-fed waters come, and the yellow's in the air,
She looks not long on the blue sky, for his his eyes are there.
Oh, the yellow had not left his head when all her tears began
For the little lad who started out one day to be a man.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 1926;
and later in
Hell and After: Four Early English-Language Poets edited by Les Murray, 2005.

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

See also.
The pangs that guard the gates of joy
the naked sword that will be kist,
how distant seem'd they to the boy,
white flashes in the rosy mist!

Ah, not where tender play was screen'd
in the light heart of leafy mirth
of that obdurate might we ween'd
that shakes the sure repose of earth.

And sudden, 'twixt a sun and sun,
the veil of dreaming is withdrawn:
lo, our disrupt dominion
and mountains solemn in the dawn;
hard paths that chase the dayspring's white,
and glooms that hold the nether heat:
oh, strange the world upheaved from night,
oh, dread the life before our feet!

First published in The Bulletin, 17 September 1898;
and later in
The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse edited by Walter Murdoch, 1918;
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1927;
The Verse of Christopher Brennan edited by A.R. Chilsholm and John Quinn, 1960;
Poems [1913] by Christopher Brennan, 1972;
Selected Poems by Christopher Brennan, 1973; and
Christopher Brennan edited by Terry Strum, 1984.

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

See also.

I Blow My Pipes by Hugh McCrae

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I blow my pipes, the glad birds sing,
The fat young nymphs about me spring,
The sweaty centaur leaps the trees
And bites his dryad's splendid knees;
The sky, the water, the earth
Repeat aloud our noisy mirth...
Anon, tight-bellied bacchanals,
With ivy from the vineyard walls,
Lead out and crown with shining glass
The wine's red baby on the grass.


I blow my pipes, the glad birds sing,
The fat young nymphs about me spring,
I am the lord,
I am the lod,
I am the lord of everything!

First published in The Lone Hand, 1 September 1908;
and later in
An Australasian Anthology: Australian and New Zealand Poems edited by Percival Serle, R. H. Croll and Frank Wilmot, 1946;
The Bulletin, 26 February 1958;
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Penguin Book of Australian Verse edited by Harry Heseltine, 1972;
The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984; and
Two Centuries of Australian Verse edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007

Author: Hugh Raymond McCrae (1876-1958) was born in Hawthorn, Victoria, the second son of the poet George Gordon McCrae.  He married in 1901 and moved to Sydney where he was great friends with Norman Lindsay.  He moved to New York in 1914 where he found little work and was back in Australia in 1916.  He lived in Melbourne again before settling, finally, in Sydney in 1922.  Perenially broke he survived his later years on a Commonwealth Literary pension and died in 1958.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Taedium Vitae by Frank Morton

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The Hope of youth is dead, and whence
Shall such hope glad our hearts again?
Fear still we have, and springing thence
Remorseless faculty of pain.
And constant gloom of penitence.
For life, now hopeless grown, is more
Tawdry --- less lovely --- than of yore;   
And now that youth's rich hope has flown,
Say, where has youth's great courage gone?
And where is youth's high hardihed
Now that the Hope of youth is dead?

The Pride of youth has passed, and we
Are humbled out of harmony.
The heart that cheered us once, elate
In merriest mockery of fate,
The glad gay spirit of our Spring,
Are dead beyond awakening.
We bend our necks and bear the blow   
Would once have set that heart aglow,
And wrought that spirit into flame
Of quick resentment of the same,   
And jarred that pride. . . And so, at last,
We're reputable --- Pride has passed.

And Love --- the love of youth --- gives place
To something impotently prim
And stupidly demure of face,
Which Love knew not. Oh, what of him
Who winged his welcomed arrows then
Where'er he would, while we who bled
Nor made complaint nor moaning fled,
But craved the pleasing wound again?
Ah, now the dull years crowd! In vain   
We seek ('tis all we need in truth)
Again our Love --- the love of youth!   

Dear Hope is dead; fair Pride has passed;
Sweet Love has left us with the years;
And this half-life is salt with tears,
With bitterest longings overcast.
And, all unmindful though we sigh,
Joy flutters, pale, about to fly.
The world grows gray; and oh! that we   
Were buried where our treasures be!  

First published in The Queenslander, 28 August 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Life's Early Joys by Henry Parkes

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Life's early joys! the summer clouds,
   Which hang about the moon,
Are not so beautiful as they,
   And perish not so soon.

We seek the flow'ret's resting place,
   And deem its breath and bloom
Enough to gladden man's estate,
   Ere taught our common doom.

But when we see the spoiler sport
   With the sweet lives of flowers,
We feel the heart, with trembling, wake
   Within their ruin'd bowers.

We wander in the night of snow,
   'Neath winter's thronging stars;
And wing on blessed thoughts away,
   From all which misery mars.

But scarce that joy's pure influence warms
   The bosom, when the world,
In cold and gloomy pictures, back
   O'er the mind's depths is hurl'd.

We meet some gentle one, whose eye
   Speaks of a loving heart;
And joy seems come, with crowning light,
   Now never to depart.

Alas, the earthliness of love!
   A thousand ills o'erwhelm
The spirit, 'neath its guardian's wings,
   In love's own starry realm.

Joys pure and deep may be reserved,
   Yet for life's calm decline;
I know not, and I dare not doubt
   But such may yet be mine!

First published in Australasian Chronicle, 25 August 1840;
and later in
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842.

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

See also.

Old Friends by Will M. Fleming

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They ride into the sunset,
   The years we used to know,
Their eyes alight with wisdom,
   Their easy hands held low;

Bowed heads but hearts undaunted,
   The harvest of their day
They leave for those who follow
   To gather as they may.

For them has been the tilling,
   And their's has been the toil
That makes forever fruitful
   The waiting virgin soil.

They pass into the sunset,
   We watch them riding slow.  
As friends they will be waiting
   The years we used to know.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 July 1929

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Young Peddlars by P. L. Travers

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Stolen songs in knapsacks, songs of joy and pain,
We've been over all the world, there and back again,\
   Piping down the windy ways,
   Dancing, singing through the days,
We, the ragged rhymers, gypsies out of Spain.

Feathers red within our caps, shod with purple shoon,
Jingling silver in our hands stolen from the moon.
   Gold have we a-plenty -- see
   Splashes of the sun! Ah, we --
We are rich in wonder, ask of us a boon!

Ask of Pam for laughter, pay her with a kiss,
Buy of love from Rose-at-ear, she's the wench for bliss,
   Give us all your saddened years,
   We'll make beauty from your tears
So you've love and laughter nothing is amiss.

Hector knows a story to charm you should you weep,
And Jock can twang a ballad upon his fiddle deep.
   Or  Pirouette, to still your sights
   Will brush her lips across your eyes
And set your feet to music, till, wearied you will sleep.

Would you know our secret? Youth with Hope empearled
Is woven into garments and round our bodies curled;
   Sorrow, Laughter, Love and Tears,
   Skipping with us down the years,
We, the ragged rhymers, singing to the world!

First published in The Bulletin, 12 April 1923

Author: Pamela Lyndon Travers (1899-1996) was born Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough, Queensland.  Best known for her series of children's novels featuring the English nanny, Mary Poppins, Travers began her working life as a cashier before the stage beckoned.  She then moved to journalism while living in New Zealand.  She traveled to Ireland and then to England, where she settled, in 1924.  The first of her Mary Poppins story collections was published in 1934, which made her a literary success in both the US and UK.  She died in London in 1996.

Author reference sites: Austlit

The Men We Might Have Been by Henry Lawson

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When God's wrath-cloud is o'er me,
   Affrighting heart and mind;
When days seem dark before me,
   And days seem black behind;
Those friends who think they know me --
   Who deem their insight keen --
They ne'er forget to show me
  The man I might have been.

He's rich and independent,
   Or rising fast to fame;
His bright star is ascendant,
   The country knows his name;
His houses and his gardens
   Are splendid to be seen;
His fault the wise world pardons --
   The man I might have been.

His fame and fortune haunt me;
   His virtues wave me back:
His name and prestige daunt me
   When I would take the track;
But you, my friend true-hearted --
   God, keep our friendship green! --
You know how I was parted
   From all I might have been.

But what avails the ache of
   Remorse or weak regret?
We'll battle for the sake of
   The men we might be yet!
We'll strive to keep in sight of
   The brave, the true and clean
And triumph yet in spite of
   The men we might have been.

First published in The Bulletin, 3 April 1897;
and later in
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885-1900 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library, The Poetry of Henry Lawson website

See also.

Time by David McKee Wright

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The years go slowly up the hill,
And pause to glance and stay to talk,
Like an old man on a morning walk,
Until they reach the crown;
Then with the speed of a boy's will
They run on and down.

O years, if you were young as fair,
Running on and up the hill,
With swift feet that were ever still,
You might pause a while on the crown
And let the old man breathe the air
As he walked slowly down.

But you are old and life is young,
And time and joy go ill together;
You speed a man like a wind-tossed feather,
And draw a boy like a weight of lead.
And ever and ever the song sung
Is a mourning for days dead.

The velvet wind, the silken day
And all the little laughing grasses
cry shame on Time because he passes
With a jest on his foolish tongue;
But he has come so far, they say,
And he has so far to go, they say,
He is old before he is young.

First published in The Bulletin, 26 February 1925

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Street of Joy by Roderic Quinn

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As I whistling walked the street,
   Blithesome as a boy,
Life went by with dancing feet,
   Linking arms with Joy.

Shone the sun in cloudless skies,
   Fragrant flowed the air,
Laughing eyes met laughing eyes,
   Bliss breathed everywhere.

Hucksters stood in square and mart,
   Decked with flower and spray.
"Whistle, whistle," sang my heart,
   "Ne'er was such a day."

Hands outstretched with friendly grips
   Gave me greeting brave;
Beggars begged with laughing lips,
   Careless of who gave.

Lissome, light-of-foot youth,
   Age beside me strolled;
Rages and tatters seemed, in truth,
   Silks and cloth-of-gold.

Young again, with hearts aglow,
   Wandered dame and sire,
Children hurried to and fro,
   Clad in bright attire.

Hucksters stood in square and mart,
   Decked with spray and flower.
"Whistle, whistle," sang my heart,
   "Ne'er was such an hour."

Oh, but life was fair and sweet,
   Gay with golden gleams,
As I whisted down that street
   In the Town o' Dreams.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 February 1922

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

See also.

Old and New by Emily Bulcock

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O singers of this later day -- the harvest is not reaped.
New fields are yours for gleaning in fuller radiance steeped.
Science brings daily marvels stirring the sluggish mind,
Opens new gates to wider thought -- so tarry not behind.

Leave Lovelace to his Phyllis, Wordsworth his Lucy meek,
Beauty still loves to linger on girlish lip and check.
Deem not all splendid things are said -- though many a harp was strung,
Though pioneers of poesy such varied songs have sung.

All wonders that were theirs are yours, and doubly yours to-day.
The magic harps they played on more fully stringed ye play,
And nature though she gave them rich spoil of virgin years  
Still keeps some new, late secrets -- meant only for your ears.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 January 1930

Author: Emily Bulcock (1877-1969) was born near Maryborough, Queensland.  She was the older sister of the distinguished author Vance Palmer. She married Robert Bulcock in 1903 and later became a foundation member of the Queensland Country Women's Association and the Queensland Authors' and Artists' Association.  Emily Bulcock died in Brisbane on 4 September 1969.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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