Recently in Memories Category

Meeting by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
To-day we met in the street, by chance --
   We whom the years make wise --
And you gave never a backward glance, 
But I saw the swift remembrance
   Light up your sombre eyes.

The west wind blew down the dusty street,
   At the close of a bitter day,  
But a warmth from the past rose up to greet, 
And life for a moment was fair and sweet
   To a woman growing grey.

For I was young when I first knew you,
   We were gay and glad together;
Have you forgotten the river's blue,
Where buttercups in their glory grew
   In the warm October weather?

The old pine ridge, where we used to meet;
   The gleam of the sandy track;    
Then it was you who found love so sweet, 
And yet to-day, in the windy street,
   'Twas I only who looked back.

First published in The Queenslander, 30 August 1905

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Almond Tree by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
The almond tree by the crossroads wide,
   Where the early blackbirds sing, 
Shakes out her delicate clustered pride
   At the first surge of spring.

White, white is the almond branch,
   As white clouds after rain,
But dark the wound I cannot staunch
   That wells unseen again.

For I care not at, all for the roses wrought
   Of the season's mounting prime, 
Nor the colourful spoil of blossoms caught
   In the meshes of summer-time.

Only the almond where we two kissed
   Lang syne, in the better years, 
I see again through a sudden mist
   Of tears, of futile tears.

First published in The Australasian, 24 August 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Lost Ideal by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
You passed through my life like a breeze in spring 
That through woodland ways goes wantoning; 
'Tis strange to remember so slight a thing 
   With a memory all undying --
Just a glimpse of white and a gleam of gold, 
And the rose's heart when the leaves unfold, 
The brow and hair, and the lips' sweet mould,
   And a smile unsatisfying.   

You fled away like the dew at dawn, 
Or the evening's amber, or rose of morn -- 
Too fair a thing for a man to scorn, 
   Yet naught to repay the holding -- 
With a laugh that was lost in a stifled sigh, 
While I stretched vain hands with a yearning cry, 
For your wings swept low, as you fluttered by, 
   All the warmth of their white unfolding. 

I shall seek for ever by mount and plain, 
But never on earth shall I find again, 
Tho' I toil through sunshine, or strive thro' rain,
   Or drift to a hopeless goal; 
For it maddens a man who but once has seen 
The hanging hair with the eyes between, 
Who has drunk of the draught of the Lotus Queen 
   That springs from the golden bowl.

First published in The Queenslander, 14 August 1897

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Because of These by Myra Morris

| No TrackBacks
Because of purple boughs on windy trees,
And quiet roofs against an evening sky 
Because of little lulls that dreaming lie,   
And summer-blowing roses filled with bees, 
I shall go gladly all my days! -- 
Because of these!

Because of beauty, and of love's unease,
And hatred of the things that curb and bind-  
Because of lonely hours times out of mind, 
And children's laughter, I shall date to seize  
The joy that closest lies! -- 
Because of these!

First published in The Australasian, 12 August 1922

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

A Box of Dead Flowers by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
Where did your little ghosts slip out 
From underneath the lid?
A dainty wraith in heliotrope
And cream and white, to mount the cope 
No more in petals hid.
Did you, along the upper air,
Hang poised, to help the rainbow there? 

Or were you lost in some pink cloud, 
Some sunset-ravelled edge of night,
This cardboard box had made your shroud,  
Your dry stalks lap you all about.
The hands that picked you could not know
That I should come to find you so!

Travelling towards the Queensland side,   
What racing, through the rattling hours! 
Amongst the mail-bags on the train, 
Sliding down grades, to rise again, 
A weary journey for the flowers!
Until at last, cooped close inside,
Their courage left them and they died! 

But o' from the wadded rolls
The careful swaddling clothes they wear, 
I know a float of scented souls
Fared forth to find the starlit air, 
By some black tor that cut the sky
And watched the shrieking train go by! 

Where did your little ghosts slip out? 
Withered, you lie along my hand;  
Was it somewhere in New South Wales, 
Or by New England's daisied dales, 
Or in your own Victorian land?
Homing, the breathless hours thro'
To some green garden that you knew?

First published in The Australasian, 5 August 1922

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

Sunday Bells by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Dew on the grassy uplands stretching forward,
   Bloom of the grape on brown hills far away, 
And blown above the blue waves sparkling shoreward, 
   The Sunday bells across Corio Bay.

All in the golden quiet of the morning 
   Knee-deep in wildflower weed and feathery grass, 
Only the sapling's crown my roof adorning, 
   I hear the airy echoes pause and pass. 

Down the low wind the silver clamor surges, 
   Swells to its full, and faintly ebbs away, 
One with the infinite fields of azure merges 
   The sound of bells across Corio Bay. 

Phantasies old of other years awaking 
   Fragments of lost delight and morning prime; 
Strung on a strand of silver numbers shaking
   All the warm airs of drowsy summer time. 

There was a year we used to walk together 
   Through the tall grasses by a ferny brae, 
Hearing adown the fairy golden weather    
   The Sunday bells across Corio Bay.

I wonder if your happy ghost goes straying 
   Over the headlands to the grassy hill? 
The sleepy things the sighing pines are saying 
   To the soft waters, are you hearing still 

Where harps AEolian with the waters blending 
   Make muted interludes among the trees? 
I cannot tell, I only know the ending 
   That left me lonely with my memories.
 
The bells grow silent and the last note lingers, 
   Down the green aisles the echo dies away; 
Surely I felt the touch of unseen fingers 
   Hearing the bells across Corio Bay.

First published in The Bulletin, 22 July 1926

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Little Things by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
The little things old Time has turned to ashes,
   Fair aspirations and high-sounding hopes;
But even now I see the scarlet flashes
   Of lowries winging through the leafy slopes

Ere summer set brown hands upon the bracken.
   And I recall the midnight breeze that drew
Tree music from tall boughs till, faintly shaken,
   It seemed a million starts were murmuring, too.

And card castles of dream old Time has tumbled
   To all the winds and left of harvest the husks;
But I like to think of how the river stumbled
   Across the stones in silver summer dusks.

It seems I have forgotten small hells and heavens,
   Praise, blame and Love's once precious-seeming words.
But I remember quiet autumn evens,
   Leaves dropping, and the small talk of the birds.

The solid things, dissolved in dust and scattered,
   Deep-rooted things, uprooted, branch and stem.
But the little things, that once so little mattered,
   How strange it is that I remember them! 

First published in The Bulletin, 28 June 1933

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Change of Heart by Myra Morris

| No TrackBacks
Once when I saw the far-off hills,
The frosty moon or a white-veiled tree,
The hills, the moon, the tree would come 
To be a trembling part of me.
The sea beyond the rose-flushed dunes 
Withdrawn and cold - a river-flood 
Silvering the hollow pasture-lands 
Would set a fever in my blood. 

Now I can watch the lilac gulls 
Circle the darker lilac tide,
And turn my collar up and wish
That I were home and safe inside . . . 
O, Time, what have you done to me 
That I can stay unmoved and stare 
At Beauty's very self and reach
No core of wonder prisoned there! 
If such be so how dare I live,
Draw easy breath, laugh, work and play, 
For I have let into my soul
The first slow shadow of decay. 

Here now then I shall go again
Humbly to the small things and find
In the shape of a single rounded stone 
Wonder and joy to fill my mind. 
Rapture implicit there will be
In the brown-spored moss, a spire of grass, 
A strange lost world that beckons from 
A raindrop hanging clear as glass!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 April 1953

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Beauty by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Beauty remains, whatever goes,
   However sad we grow, or old. 
The oft-sung sweetness of a rose,
   The richness of a marigold;
Still she is there, though all things pass,
   Where ere the fingers of the breeze 
Go ruffling through the gold-ripe grass,
   Or shake the sunshowers from the trees.

Pale evening spreads her banner proud,
   Though in the dust our own lie low. 
Peak beyond peak, seeking the cloud
   Out to the blue the ranges go.
All stained with saffron daffodils;
   Ah, when my spirit faints with pain 
I shall lift up unto the hills
   Mine eyes, to gather strength again.

Small, downy ghosts, all silvery frail,
   The seedling dandelions blow,
Spun softly down a summer gale
   On tremendous wings of air they go.
Ruffling her sombre gown of grey
   The whispering poplar greets the wind.
Oh, turn you any, either way,
   And beauty's badge is yours to find.

Bright unsubstantial fairylands
   In the lone valley's ferny aisles,
I see where night's invisible hands
   Pour the white moon mists, miles on miles.
And summon a starry host to fling  
   Enchantment like a veil unfurled, 
Like Easter candles glimmering
   On all the altars of the world.

The little things that mean so much.
   The tiny Edens of an hour--
They fall to pieces at a touch
   Like poppies that the winds deflower;
Even the great things shadowing all.
   The lonely, dark Gethsemanes, 
All in the dust at last must fall,
   Just dead, discarded memories.

Beauty alone remains though all
   The trifles that make up our hours 
Of happiness like dead leaves fall
   In the spent gold of autumn showers,
Bankrupt of all, I still could find
   Happiness pure and undefiled 
Hearing her voices on the wind,
   Walking beside her o'er the wild.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 13 April 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also

From a Hotel Window by Myra Morris

| No TrackBacks
Here through the grimy panes I see
Red bricks in stark solidity.
And yet within that barren wall
Of hard old bricks I can recall
The myriad hues that dwell for me
In bracken running to the sea --
Pale creamy gold and warm, rich tones
As roseate as sunset-cones,
Dense green, where on the hidden tracks,
The stems grow dark as beatles' back,
And purple deepening in the shade
To purple mauve of fronds that fade.
For all these colourings there be
In bracken running to the sea!

So here, while in this room I lie
Hemmed in by walls, I see a sky
As blue as summer seas and fair,
With sunshine spilling everywhere.
I hear again a lone grey thrush
Flute strangely in the underbrush,
And feel a wind play hide-and-seek
Among the tresses on my cheek.

Oh, joy that I can have them all
Through staring at an old brick wall,
Can have, close-pushing round my knee,
Wild bracken running to the sea!

First published in The Bulletin, 25 March 1926

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Haunted Moment by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks
Secretly, unannounced, that moment comes 
Between the eerie pockets of lost thought,
Or whipt by doubt in some swift vortex caught, 
And I am listening to remembered drums,
Or gathering at some table sacred crumbs   
Of a forgotten feast laid long ago.
And there is music, and the rhythmic beat  
Or delicate bare silver-circled feet ....   
Hushed voices murmuring in the court below.  
The haunted moment holds me. I must go.       

Dawn like an avalanche of shining swords,   
Draws me again where the dark desert hordes 
Dapple the air, their turbans white as snow. 
I steel my lips to take some stinging blow
Or kiss. I know not which. I watch. I wait. 
Suddenly all is still save where on high 
The restive turquoise stallion of the sky
Paws at the morning's purple-tinctured gate.

Only a tendril from eternity       
The cord of Time snaps in my trembling fingers.   
No semblance of the creeping terror lingers.
The dim shapes fade. They vanish stealthily,
And, one by one departing, set me free.      
I hear a door close softly. Footsteps seem     
To echo down a tessellated hall    
And pass more lightly than pale fruit flowers fall.   

The music dies like reed-notes in a dream. 
The haunted moment has a mystic birth
Who shall say how? Distilled by memory  
Perchance from the soul's strange dark chemistry .... 
Seeds of black laughter swell . . . but not with mirth.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March 1946

Journey's End by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Heart, shall I find you again when I go travelling far
The road of the silver rain, by the light of a lantern star,
To the realms of the rainbow's end, on the molten path of the moon?
For I travel that way, my friend -- I am starting the journey soon.

For Death was never the goal (else we had been cheated sore)
Where the waters of Time's sea roll on white Eternity's shore.
And Love is stronger than Life, or never the world goes round;
And there's peace at the end of strife when the Hills of Home abound.

For coming am I at last, with a heart for the journey strong
To carry me far and fast, wide, wonderful wastes along --
All of the long regretting, all of the loneliness past,
To an endless day's forgetting, I am coming to you at last.

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 22 February 1927

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.  

The Stolen Day by Zora Cross

| No TrackBacks
This lovely golden little summer day 
I simply took and blithely stole away.
If theft of Time be stealing precious hours,
And squandering them like garlands of pluck't  flowers.
I was a thief this golden little day -- 
This lovely little day I lazed away.

Oakflowers were blown on every happy hill 
Parrots sped by me at their own wild will. 
And I as free, moved leisurely along
Singing myself a careless gipsy song; 
And wilful still in unrepentant rhyme
I hid the little day I stole from Time.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 February 1939

I Remember by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
On whispering dusky eves, how I remember --
   Remember you!
Star-dusted nights of Summer-crowned December;
   Long days of gold and blue;
The flame that leapt, the flame that feel to ember;
   The false heart -- and the true!

No buds like those in that enchanted garden!
   Ne'er sprang to view
More splendid castles, scorning leave or pardon;
   Above forbidden faery lands of blue!
Against old realms of dream my heart must harden
   When I remember you.

The garden close is choked with rusty sorrels,
   No castles mount anew.
Tall waves the weed o'er buried hopes and quarrels --
   Long is the old love banished for the new.
But when the south wind stirs the camphor-laurels
   How I remember you!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 15 February 1927

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.  

A Memory by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
I passed thro' the city markets
   On a cold and clear June day,
The air was full of dancing motes
   From dust of the unbound hay.

The sunshine from the open door
   Shone on mounds of gold and green:
The gleanings of moist meadow lands,
   With the amber fruit between.

There was treasure of scented apples
   That had prisoned the sunset's glow,
Where anxious buyers and sellers
   Vent hurrying to and fro.

And the voices of the city
   Came, as in a dream, to me.
I was a boy on the farm again,
   By the grey Pacific sea.

The crow's feet smoothed from my eyes.
   And Youth, with a laugh, came back
Where the green sugar-cane enflanks
   The thread of the bridle truck.

I held her close in the shade;
   She lifted her face to me,
And Time stood still; we grew not old
   In the farm beside the sea.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 January 1908

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

If We Had Only Known by C.J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
'Tis the hope that we hope for the days to come
   That chases the dark despair;
But it lightens the load in the days that are
   To dream of the days that were.

The wattle bloom is as golden still
   As ever before in spring;
And joyous now as in years ago
   Is the magpie's caroling.
Then what do we mourn in these bright days?
   Why do we sit and sigh?
Why do we dream those sad sweet dreams
   Of dead days long gone by?

The good mare gallops with stride as strong
   And free as she did of yore;
The wine is red, and the friend we had
   Is staunch as he was before.
Our love's dear lips are soft and warm,
   The goal of our hopes is nigh;
The skies are blue!  Our love is true!
   Then why do we dream and sigh?

There is something vanished from out these days --
   Something we miss so sore --
A mother, a child, or a faithful friend
   We had learned to love of yore.
From these dear days that we dream of now
   A love or a hope has flown;
And we sigh, "Ah me, how happy were we!
   Would we had only known!"

The wattle will bloom in the years to come,
   The world will laugh as gay;
Still we would sigh for the days gone by,
   And dream of our life to-day.
Mayhap that their love's lips are cold,
   Or another friend has died,
Or the good grey mare grows stiff and old,
   And falters in her stride.

We will dream a dream of our life to-day
   When another joy has flown;
And sigh "Ah me, how happy were we!
   Would we had only known!
For we were gay but yesterday --
   The sun shone brightly then --
An hour or two, and the night is through;
   The sun will shine again!

'Tis the hope we hope for the days to come
   That chases the dark despair;
But it lightens the load in the days that are
   To dream of the days that were.

First published in The Evening Journal, 19 October 1899

Youth Revisited by C. J. Dennis

| No TrackBacks
Can this be the old town of wheat-teams and saddle-hacks,
   Of Ted Toll's smithy, with the anvil ringing clear,
Of stacks in the station yard, and stockmen, and farming hands,
   Of bow-legged bound'ry riders coming in for beer --
This strange, new, brisk town of sweet-shops and petrol pumps --
   Petrol pumps with motor cars dashing up and down?
Yet there stands the old church, the bluestone baker's shop,
   And the queer, shrunken houses of my old home town.

What has become of him -- Little Johnny Parkinson?
   Little Johnny Parkinson out upon a bust --
The long red beard of him, the red-rimmed eyes of him;
   Red from the harvest field and winnower dust.
Five foot two of him -- Little Johnny Parkinson,
   Driving in his wheat team, down the dusty street;
Red beard, red eyes, red bandana neckerchief -
   Little Johnny Parkinson, who took his whiskey neat.

What has become of him -- Big Jack Herringford?
   Big Jack Herringford, champion of the stacks,
Where the lumpers, laboring, climbed the crazy wooden ways --
   One, two, three hundred pounds upon their backs.
Big Jack Herringford, soft-hearted Hercules,
   Went to the West land and won a fortune there.
Was the gold a benison to Big Jack Herringford?
   Does anybody know, or does anybody care?

What has become of him -- Black Tom Boliver?
   Black Tom, Dude Tom, of the shearing shed -
The bold, black eyes of him, the well-oiled curls of him,
   The cabbage-tree hat well back upon his head.
What has become of them, all the men I used to know?
   Only one I recognise of all men there;
But one has a smile for me -- schoolmate Jimmy Tomlinson --
   Laughing Jimmy Tomlinson, with snow-white hair.

First published in The Herald, 15 January 1934

Old, -- or New? by Alice Ham

| No TrackBacks
'Come into the garden, Amy, for the rooms are warm to-night, 
   And under the moonlit mangoes draw close your chair to mine.
Twenty years since we came here, with you our hearts' delight!   
   Now, your father talks of leaving our home at Wattledine. 

'Christmas is coming, dear, and my thoughts go back again 
   To all that has come and gone in this sweet bush home of ours: 
Sun and shower make the rainbow, and life is joy and pain; 
   But how could we have the fruit if God always left us the flowers?     

'Perhaps I am not ambitious, but I love the homestead so, 
   Nestled down in its grassy paddocks, with its leafy orchards green, 
And the palms and fairy orchids in the belt of scrub below; 
   With the red and white Bauhinia, and the great gray gums between. 

'A mansion in Brisbane! and fashion! Do you want it, Amy dear? 
   You are happy -- ah, yes! -- as the birds and the blossoms are gay; 
And life is wholesome and breezy, and heaven seems more near 
   Up here in the bloomy mountains, as I've been thinking to-day. 

'It was here, too, that my sister Edith became a bride, 
   Fair and good; you remember your father gave her away, 
And you were her little bridesmaid, and shook your curls with pride; 
   She waved good-bye thro' those wattles--it seems but yesterday! 

'Then the place is sacred, too, for the sake of little Will; 
   I see his smile at the slip-rail, I hear his horse's feet; 
Ah, then, how little I thought they would bring him back white and still! 
   "Don't cry, little mother--good-bye!" Yes, life is bitter-sweet, 

'And grief gives to even simple and most familiar things 
   Something holy, that broods on the places he loved so much: 
The bird's-nest ferns that he brought me, his parrots with restless wings, 
   The room that he slept in, the gun that warmed to his boyish touch. 

'As the wind is part of the music, so my home is part of me: 
   And I know that your father, Amy, sometimes feels the same. 
Tho' he talks of selling the station, perhaps it may not be, 
   For "home" means more than "affluence," and love is better than fame!'

First published in The Queenslander, 22 December 1888;
and later in
Coward or Her? Being a Collection of Poetical Works by Alice Ham, 1928.

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Over the Hills by Christine Comber

| No TrackBacks
Over the hills and far away
   There lies my heart's desire --
Cities washed with morning's gray,
Ships asleep in a foreign bay,
Adventure's breath in old Cathay,
   Or Rome, or Rhodes, or Tyre.

What matter if the golden chase
   End in a mound of clay?
Be it for love, or wealth, or grace.
Or Time's flung wine-glass in my face,   
So be I know what the blue hills trace
   On my heart from far away.  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 October 1934

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Heart Ache by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
Soft winds, and little memories of flowers
And silken skirts drawn over polished floors,
And waft of fans and maze of meodies
Golden and low; of smiling, parted lips
And eyes that seem to ask, and turn away;
Feather of shadows on green, slumberous lawns;
Quiver of roses waiting for the rain;
Nasturtiums streaked with orange fingering;
Clouds pale as phantoms, fleeing from the moon,
And silver stars that sprinkle midnight moods;
Ripples, that almost reached me, of bird song
Revealed by leaves that rustle without touch;
Notes in the distance of a trumpet's call;
The sound of waters dripping to a pool
From unseen fountains in an unseen wood.

Only one thing is real and all my own --
That I can feel, alive within my breast....
The pictures fade, the music falls asleep,
The tapping heels have fled the waxed floors --
Only my heart-ache seems to fill the world!

First published
in The Bulletin, 12 October 1916

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Last Review by Henry Lawson

| No TrackBacks
Turn the light down, nurse, and leave me, while I hold my last review,
For the Bush is slipping from me, and the town is going too:
Draw the blinds, the streets are lighted, and I hear the tramp of feet--
And I'm weary, very weary, of the Faces in the Street.

In the dens of Grind and Heartbreak, in the streets of Never-Rest,
I have lost the scent and colour and the music of the West:
And I would recall old faces with the memories they bring ---
Where are Bill and Jim and Mary and the songs They used to Sing?

They are coming! They are coming! they are passing through the room
With the smell of gum leaves burning, and the scent of Wattle bloom!
And behind them in the timber, after dust and heat and toil,
Others sit beside the camp fire yarning While the Billies Boil.

In the gap above the ridges, there's a flash and there's a glow;
Swiftly down the scrub-clad siding come the Lights of Cobb and Co.;
Red face from the box-seat beaming --- Oh, how plain those faces come!
From his 'Golden-Hole' 'tis Peter M'Intosh who's going home.

Dusty patch in desolation, bare slab walls and earthen floor,
And a blinding drought is blazing from horizons unto door;
Milkless tea and ration sugar, damper, junk, and pumpkin mash ---
And a Day on Our Selection passes by me in a flash.

Rush of big wild-eyed store bullocks while the sheep crawl hopelessly,
And the loaded wool teams rolling, lurching on like ships at sea;
With his whip across his shoulder (and the wind just now abeam),
There goes Jimmy Nowlett, ploughing through the dust beside his team!

Sunrise on the diggings! (Oh! what Life and hearts and hopes are here)?
From a hundred pointing forges comes a "tinkle-tinkle" clear ---
Strings of drays with wash to puddle, clack of countless windlass boles,
Here and there the red flag flying, flying o'er golden holes.

Picturesque, unreal, romantic, chivalrous, and brave and free;
Clean in living, true in mateship --- reckless generosity;
Mates are buried here as comrades who on fields of battle fall;
And --- the dreams, the aching, hoping lover hearts beneath it all;

Rough-built theatres and stages where the world's best actors trod --
Singers bringing reckless rovers nearer boyhood, home and God;
Paid in laughter, tears and nuggets in the play that fortune plays --
'Tis the palmy days of Gulgong --- Gulgong in the Roaring Days.

Pass the same old scenes before me, and again my heart can ache:
There the Drover's Wife sits watching (not as Eve did) for a snake.
And I see the drear deserted goldfields when the night is late,
And the stony face of Mason watching by his Father's Mate.

And I see my Haggard Women plainly as they were in life,
'Tis the form of Mrs. Spicer and her friend, the Drover's Wife,
Sitting hand in hand "Past Carin'," not a sigh and not a frown,
Staring steadily before her, and the tears just trickle down.

It was No Place for a Woman, where the women worked like men ---
From the Bush and Jones' Alley come their haunting forms again.
And let this thing be remembered when I've answered to the roll,
That I pitied haggard women --- wrote for them with all my soul.

Narrow bedroom in the City in the hard days that are dead,
An alarm clock on the table, and a pale boy on the bed;
"Arvie Aspinall's Alarm Clock" with its harsh and startling call,
Never more shall break his slumbers --- I was Arvie Aspinall.

Maoriland and Steelman, cynic, spieler, stiff-lipped, battler-through
(Kept a wife and child in comfort, but of course they never knew.
Thought he was an honest bagman.) Well, old man, you needn't hug ---
Sentimental; you of all men! --- Steelman, Oh! I was a mug!

Ghostly lines of scrub at daybreak, dusty daybreak in the drought,
And a lonely swagman tramping on the track to Further Out;
Like a shade the form of Mitchell, nose-bag full and bluey up,
And between the swag and shoulders lolls his foolish cattle-pup.

Kindly cynic, sad comedian! Mitchell! when you've left the track,
And have shed your load of sorrow as we slipped our swags Out-Back,
We shall have a yarn together in the land of Rest Awhile ---
And across his ragged shoulder Mitchell smiles his quiet smile.

Shearing sheds and tracks and shanties--girls that wait at homestead gates--
Camps and stern-eyed Union leaders, and Joe Wilson and his Mates
True and straight, and to my fancy, each one as he passes through
Deftly down upon the table slips a dusty 'note' or two.
    
Listen, who are young, and let them --- if I, in late and bitter days,
Wrote some reckless lines --- forget them; there is little there to praise.
So at last the end has found me --- (end of all the human push) --
And again in silence round me come my Children of the Bush!

Shearing sheds and tracks and shanties -- girls that wait at homestead gates --
Camps and stern-eyes Union leaders, and Joe Wilson and his mates.
Tell the bushmen to Australia and each other to be true:
"Tell the boys to stick together!" -- I have held my Last Review.

First published in The Bulletin, 29 September 1904;
and later in
When I was King and Other Verses by Henry Lawson, 1905;
Selections from Australian Poets edited by Bertram Stevens, 1925;
The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone, 1974;
The Essential Henry Lawson edited by Brian Kiernan, 1982; and
A Fantasy of Man: Henry Lawson Complete Works 1901-1922 edited by Leonard Cronin, 1984.

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

See also.

Taking the Old Piano by Louisa Lawson

| No TrackBacks
They're taking the old piano,
   They're lifting it from the floor.
A carrier's cant is waiting
   Outside the old home door.

And Mother to mutely watching
   With tears on her faded cheek;
I wonder of what she's thinking,
   Her heart is too full to speak.

Perhaps of the day he brought her,
   When out from a wreathed arch
There rang from the old piano
   Bright bars of a bridal march.

Or maybe when long years after
   It wailed the dead march in Saul,
As slowly he went for ever
   Enwrapped in funeral pall.

I know by her pale drawn features
   How tightly it's chords entwine,
I know the piano corner
   To her is a wasted shrine.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 27 June 1906;
and later in
Louisa Lawson: Collected Poems with Selected Critical Commentaries, edited by L.M. Rutherford, M.E. Roughley and Nigel Spence, 1996; and
100 Australian Poems of Love and Loss edited by Jamie Grant, 2011.

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

See also.

The Jewel House by Alice Gore-Jones

| No TrackBacks
The jewel house is painted green,
Its curtains are of amber sheen,
With Eastern rugs and polished floors,
And carved bronze handles on the doors.
The rooms are swept with gentle light,
The walls are picture-hung and bright,
While through an open window blows
Scent of violet and rose.

I see the table trimly set
With bowls of fragrant mignonette,
Blue-handled cups, the coffee's steam,
The butter's gold, the honey's gleam;
And afterwards -- an hour that brings
The clash of chords, the throb of strings:
Slim hands that weave with strange romance
Scherzo, fugue and Eastern dance.

The night is swept with wind and rain,
But in my heart I see again
The jewel house with walls of green
And curtains wrought from amber sheen;
While through each open window blows
Memory sweeter than the rose.

First published in The Bulletin, 15 June 1922

Author reference sites: Austlit, Old Qld Poetry

See also.

The Carillon by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
The lantern of a late red moon,
   Swings down behind the trees;
That murmur some forgotten rune
   Of woodland harmonies;
With the stars above their shoulders,
   And the shadows round their knees.

And I am minded of an hour
   Far otherwise than this,
Where the almonds spilt a petalled shower,
   Shaken with too much bliss;
And all the earth broke into flower,
   And blossomed, at a kiss.

Along the fragrant, dim arcades,
   The dappled frescoes lag;  
And deep in creamy ambuscades
   A cuckoo deemed it day,
Trilling his wistful plaint of pain,
   Though all the world was gay.

Like bells half heard by summer seas,
   On airs of afternoon,
With all their tender memories,
   Old fancies keep atune;
Long dreams of you, and loveliness,
   And a half high summer moon.

For me no more enchantment weaves,
   A web of coloured spells,
Only this comfort I retrieve,
   From truth's deep hidden wells;
I still can keep my carillon
   Of memory's quiet bells.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 April 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also

The Wonder of Dreams by Mabel Forrest

| No TrackBacks
Dear dreams! How the sharp-sorrow passes;
   How feeble the mem'ry of pain!
The moon is frost-white on the grasses,
   The grasses of Brigalow Plain.   

In the dusk of the scrub I am waiting,
   Glad now for the shelter of trees,
As your horse turns; his quick stride abating
   To pressure of leather and knees.  

Oh! shine not, fair moonlight, too brightly,
   And rend not the shadows apart,
Where warm hands are clinging so tightly,  
   The heart lying close to the heart.  

The wind in the boughs beats a measure,
   A fairy song, silv'ry with bliss;   
Two arms can enfold all our treasure,
   Stamped safe with the seal of a kiss.  

How real! . . . (Yet a marvel of dreaming!)
   Away from my heart falls its load;   
The frosty-white moonlight is streaming  
   As of old upon trees and on road.    

How real! . . the fond words you are saying,
   Reclaiming the promise I gave.
I wake . . and the warm wind is playing   
   And whispering -- over a grave.    

First published
in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 8 March 1905.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also

So Long Ago by Emily Coungeau

| No TrackBacks
It cometh in my dreams that long ago,
   When all the world seemed bathed in golden light,
And when you told me that you loved me so
   The hours were burnished suns, there was no night,
So long ago.

Thy voice alone could calm my latent fears,
   And thou alone my every thought expressed.
Thy presence stayed my unrestrained tears,  
   Thy soft arms held me close against thy breast,
So long ago.

Thy dear lips spoke the tender words so sweet,
   It was thy hand which sought to guide the way
Along life's road, and set my faltering feet
   Upon the narrow path which leads to day,
So long ago.

So long ago; I see thee, heart of gold,
   Just as of yore, thou pure, fair spirit, yet  
Though o'er thy grave the flowers their buds unfold;
   I mourn thee still with passionate regret.  
For long ago.     

It cometh in my dreams, that olden grace,
   And, grave, sweet look, but lo, upon thy brow
A soft light shines. And, Oh: thy gentle face  
   Presses my tearful one as closely now
As long ago.

Dear eyes which shimered in a silver mist,
   I see them now as when I saw them last,
Smiling on me, ere Death had softly kissed
   And sealed them, but to open in Heaven at last
As long ago.  

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 7 January 1914;
and later in
Rustling Leaves: Selected Poems by Emily Coungeau, 1920.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

My Native Land by Henry Parkes

| No TrackBacks
The moonlight of a milder clime
Is round me poured o'er scenes sublime:
But I would fly from all earth's light
And grandeur, to behold tonight
               My native land!

Tomorrow's sun will beauteous rise
In Australasia's summer skies:
But more than beautiful to me
Would winter's wildest morning be,
               In that dear land!

And green woods wave which ne'er are sere
In this December summer here:
But I would turn from Eden's bloom,
To hail, in winter's waste and gloom,
               My native land!

It may be here that Britons find
Scenes brighter than they leave behind:
But oh! the countercharm for home
Is found not yet, where'er I roam,
               O'er sea or land!

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 7 December 1841;
and later in
The Geelong Advertiser, 10 January 1842;
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842;
The South Australian Magazine, January and February 1842;
The Boomerang, 1 February 1890;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

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

See also.

The Emigrant to His Wife by Henry Parkes

| No TrackBacks
I remember days all glowing, love,
   With sunshine and delight,  
When the tide of life was flowing, love,
   With many a sail in sight.
I remember evermore, love,   
   That long-ago of ours,      
When the sands along the shore, love,  
   Were strewed with shells and flowers.

What a nest of flowers that cottage was,
   The Severn's flow beside,
Where, to see my rose, I used to pass
   At morn and eventide:
Oh ! thou little then didst dream, love,
   That other loving eyes
Than thy white-hair'd sire's did beam, love,
   On all thy reveries.

And I could have watched for ever, love,
   Methinks, in secret so,
If the spoiler's hand had never, love,
   There scattered death and woe!   
And I think I see thee yet, love,
   As 'midst thy garden flowers,
When the sun seemed loth to set, love,
   And leave thy happy bowers.

I remember, I remember, love,
   One later Autumn eve,
When the leaves of chill September, love,
   Had changed like things that grieve,
How I saw thee sit and mourn, love,
   Where sat thy sire before,
With the crape about thee worn, love,
   Which told he was no more.

And my heart found voice in sorrow, then,
  Thy comforter to be;  
And it sought no garb to borrow, then,
   For true love's sympathy.
Soon unfeeling strangers came, love,
   Who bade thee thence begone;
And thy beauty and fair name, love,
   Were left to thee alone.

Then I woo'd and won thee for my bride,
   Nor did more fondly vow,
When we left the winding Severn's side,
   To love, than I do now.
In the city's depths we dwelt, love,  
   Till half life's sands were run;
And fair children round us knelt, love,
  'Twas joy to gaze upon.

Still the memory of those early days
   Came fresh, and at all hours,  
How I used to steal unknown to gaze  
   On thee among thy flowers!
And misfortunes came at last, love,  
   Which fell like tempest rain:
But the sunlight of the past, love,
   Broke through the clouds again.

Thou didst cling to me the fonder, love,    
   Alone on ruin's brink,
When the storm had burst asunder, love,
   Poor Friendship's frailer link.
I remembered 'mid the blast, love,
   Which rushed o'erwhelming on,
Other days of light long passed, love!  
   And blest thee, faithful one!

When I rose up from affliction's bed,
   Hope beckoned o'er the sea,
And how cheerfully the word was said --
   That thou would'st go with me.
As we watched the levelling shore, love,
   From 'mid the waves' unrest,
To behold it never more, love,
   No murmur 'scaped thy breast.

I remembered, on the billow rude,
   The happy Severn's side,
By our little daughter's pillow rude,
   Even in the night she died:
As they lowered her dust unurned, love,
   Down in the restless sea,
To my brain that light returned, love,
   That blessed memory.

I remember days all glowing, love,
   With sunshine and delight;  
Now the sea is round us flowing, love,
   Nor land nor sail in sight.
I'll remember evermore, love,
   Beneath a milder sun,
All those happy days of yore, love,
   Mine own beloved one!  

First published in The Empire, 22 November 1853;
and later in
Murmurs of the Stream by Henry Parkes, 1857.

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

See also.

The Rose Tree by Ella McFadyen

| No TrackBacks
We wandered where the tail ferns fringed and filled from bank to bank
   The amber-watered, creek, and stooped, Narcissus-like, to wed
Their shadows, and the lillyplllies, berry-laden, drank
   The stream, and on the fallen trunks the fungus blossomed red.            

We followed from the stagnant creek, by narrow cattle path,
   Where scarlet peas and tangled vines their tendrils interlace.
And found the tumbled stones that marked a long-deserted hearth,  
   A rose tree spread its thorny arms in vacant, sad embrace.

More faithful than the other works that long-stilled hand had raised,
   More constant in its long neglect, the rose that lingered there,
And may be lips, and laughing lips, its early bloom had praised,
   And one who reeks not now had judged its fragrant burden fair.

The dying splendor of the sky illum'ed the darkened range,
   Where rustling spirits of the night among the shadows roam.
We left it with its untold tale, its tragedy of change --
   The rose amid the stones that once had borne the name of Home!  

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 21 November 1906

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.
I'm sittin' 'ere, Mick -- sittin' 'ere today,
   Feelin' arf glum, 'arf sorter -- reverent.
   Thinkin' strange, crooked thorts of 'ow they say:
   "The 'eads is bowed thro' all a continent";
An' wond'rin' -- wond'rin' in a kind of doubt
   If other coves is feelin' like I do,
Tryin' to figure wot it's all about,
   An' -- if it's meanin' anythin' to you.

Silence ....... The hour strikes soon thro' all the land
An' 'eads bend low.  Old, mate, give me your 'and.
      Silence -- for you, Mick, an' for blokes like you
      To mark the Day -- the Day you never knoo.


The Day you never knoo, nor we forget ....
   I can't tell why I'm sittin' 'ere this way,
Scrawlin' a message that you'll never get --
   Or will you?  I dunno.  It's 'ard to say.
P'raps you'll know all about it, where you are,
   An' think, "Ah well, they ain't too bad a lot."
An' tell them other digs, up on your star
   That now, or nevermore, they ain't fergot.

Silence ....... Not 'ere alone, Mick -- everywhere --
In city an' country 'eads are bare.
      An', in this room, it seems as if I knoo
      Some friend 'oo came -- Old cobber!  Is it you?


My 'eart is full, Mick ..... 'Struth! I ain't the bloke
   As well you know, to go all soft an' wet.
Fair's fair, lad.  Times I've known when you 'ave spoke
   Like you was tough an' 'ard as 'ell -- an' yet
Somethin' behind your bluff an' swagger bold
   Showed all them narsty sentiments was kid.
It was that thing inside yeh, lad, wot told.
   It made you go an' do the thing you did.

Silence ...... There's mothers, Mick, you never knoo
No mother.  But they're prayin' for you too.
      In every 'eart -- The Boys! The Boys are there,
      The Boys ...... That very name, lad, is a pray'r.


The Boys!  Old cobber, I can see 'em still:
   The drums are rollin' an' the sunlight gleams
On bay'nits.  Men are marchin' with a will
   On to the glory of their boy'ood's dreams.
Glory?  You never found it that, too much.
   But, lad, you stuck it -- stuck it with the rest,
An' if your bearin' 'ad no soulful touch,
   'Twas for OUR souls that you went marchin' -- West.

Silence ...... The children too, Mick -- little kids,
Are standin'.  Not becos their teacher bids:
      They've knoo no war; but they 'ave stopped their play
      Becos they know, they feel it is The Day.


So may it be thro' all the comin' years.
  But sorrow's gone, lad.  It's not that we know.
The sobbin's passed, 'ole cobber, an' the tears.
   An' well we un'erstand you'd 'ave it so.
But somethin's deeper far than that 'as come,
   Somethin' a mind can't get within its bounds,
Somethin' I can't explain.  A man is dumb
   When 'e thinks .... Listen!  'Ear the bugles sound!

Silence!
      *                    *
      *                    *
      *                    *


Well, Mick, ole cock, I dunno why I've wrote,
   It's just to ease a thing inside wot says
"Sit down, you sloppy coot, an' write a note
   To that old cobber of the olden days.
'E'll know -- for sure 'e'll know."  So lad, it's done,
   Work's waitin', an' a man can't get in wrong;
Our goal is still ahead.  But yours is won:
   That's the one thing we know, lad, so -- So long!

Silence ...... It's over, Mick; so there you are.
I know you're 'appy up there on yer star,
      Believe us lad, that star shall never fall
      While one is left to say "Gawd keep 'em all!"


First published
in The Herald, 11 November 1927

Author reference sites: C.J. Dennis, Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

High Country by Ella McFadyen

| No TrackBacks
Ever the crag and heather
   Were carpet to our feet;
How should I love the lowland airs,
   Or the clamour of the street?

Ever our ears had music
   Of the engirdling seas --
The old race of my father's house
   In the misty Hebrides.

Grant then the scarred hill's forehead
   Against a sweep of sky,
The flow'r-starred waste of lifted heath,
   And one bird wheeling high.

(Grey boulders of Kuring-gai,
   Bluff heads of Broken Bay),
The wind's tread and the sea's blue rim,
   The free, long, golden day.

And no song save the silence,
   Too rapt for praise or tears,
To soothe the clamant voice that calls
   Across a thousand years.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 October 1931

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Footfalls by Henry Kendall

| No TrackBacks
The embers were blinking and clinking away --
   The casement half open was thrown;
There was nothing but cloud on the skirts of the day;
   And I sat in the threshold alone!

And said to the river, which flowed by my door
   With its beautiful face to the hill,
"I have waited and waited, all wearied and sore,
   But my love is a wanderer still!"

And said to the wind, as it paused in its flight
   To look through the shivering pane,
"There are memories moaning and homeless to night,
   That can never be tranquil again!"

And said to the woods, as their burdens were borne
   With a flutter and sigh to the caves,
"They are wrinkled and wasted, and tattered and torn,
   And we too have our withering leaves!"

Did I hear a low echo of footfalls about;
   Whilst watching those forest-trees stark!
Or was it a dream that I hurried without,
   To clutch at, and grapple the dark?  

In the Shadow I stood for a moment and spake --
   "Bright thing, that was loved in the past,
"Oh ! am I asleep - or abroad and awake?
   And are you so near me at last?  

"Oh! roamer from lands where the vanished years go,
   Oh! waif from those mystical zones,
Come here where I long for you broken and low
   On the mosses and watery stones!

"Come out of your silence, and tell me if life
   Is so fair in that world as they say;
Was it worth all this yearning, and weeping, and strife,
   When you left it behind you to-day?  

"Will it end all this watching, and doubting, and dread?
   Do these sorrows die out with our breath?
Will they pass from our souls, like a nightmare," I said,
   "While we glide through the mazes of death?"

"Come out of that darkness, and teach me the lore
   You have learnt since I looked on your face;
By the summers that blossomed and faded of yore --
   By the lights which have fled to that place!

"You answer me not, when I know that you could --
When I know that you could, and you should;
   Though the storms are abroad on the wave;
Though the rain droppeth down with a wail to the wood,
   And my heart is as cold as your grave!"

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October 1861;
and later in
Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle, 11 January 1862;
The Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, 27 May 1862;
Poems and Songs by Henry Kendall, 1862; and
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966.

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

See also.

Doherty's Corner by Marie E. J. Pitt

| No TrackBacks
There's no bush today at Doherty's Corner,
   Only strange green hills and the glint of a far bay;
Time has come like a thief and stolen the wonder
   And magic of Yesterday.

There are no fairies now at Doherty's Corner,
   Where dusky spider-orchids and wild white daisies grew;
Time that stilled the heart of the singing forest
   Has stolen her fairies too.

Henderson's hill is green at Doherty's Corner,
   But no fairy trips in the dawn or the dusk thereon,
Perhaps they died when the old black log and the bracken
   And the box bushes were gone.

They only lived, maybe, in a child's dreaming,
   For children walk in a twilit world of their own,
And the grown folk were ever too wise to listen
   To pipes by the fairies blown.

They used to say it was wind and the bees thrumming
   Through billows of bean blossom as white as driven foam;
But I knew it was not the wind or the brown bees humming
   Heavily hiving home;

For I had heard such music there by the river
   When never a reed-head rustled and every sense was a-leap --
Under the darkened hillside .... the little people
   Singing the world to sleep!

For I had heard such piping there in the low light,
   The queer half-light before the light of the moon,
All the pipes of Faëry playing together
   Down by the old lagoon.

O Green Hills, O hills with your alien faces,
   Fresh as August flowers on the grass of an old grave,
Your witch gold has gone with the fairy pipers'
   Wood-song and elfin stave!

You are sad, O ye hills, with your faces lifted,
   Lit with a young delight to the ache of the far skies!
Yea, you are sad as the faith of little children
   And the sorrow of old eyes.

There's no bush to-day at Doherty's Corner,
   No pipers will come with pipes skirling again
To dance for me on Henderson's hill in the moonlight,
   Or cry in the fairy rain.

It's a kind green land at Doherty's Corner,
   And new, fair children frolic its hills upon;
But once .... once in the years that are half forgotten ....
   Once it was Avalon.

First published in The Bulletin, 9 October 1924

Author: Marie Elizabeth Josephine Pitt (nee McKeown) (1869-1948) was born in Gippsland, Victoria, and grew up in a farming community near Bairnsdale. She married William Pitt, a miner, in 1893 and lived in Tasmania and country Victoria before settling in Melbourne.  Her husband died in 1912 and she then supported her three children by clerical work and writing for newspapers.  She lived with Bernard O'Dowd later in her life, and died in Kew, Victoria, in 1948.

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

See also.

Alienation by Emily Coungeau

| No TrackBacks
What gulf so deep, what arid desert plain,
Or dreary vastitude of ocean main,
So deep as the divide of hearts once stirred
To sweet response which only winds had heard?
The dead who live but love us now no more,
Gone are the echoes of the tones of yore;
The faces of our sighs and tears and dreams
Are cold as gleaming ice on frozen streams.
The days that were may ne'er return again,
Though each perchance has felt the aching pain;
Yet pride forbade thy wounded heart to let
Me plead; but, oh! thou never can'st forget.
'Tis Destiny's decree, and 'twere not meet
That when I see thy cold eyes I greet
Thee more -- thy burning heart 'neath snow   
Can never flame again with tender glow.   

And yet how strange that it should thus befall,
Since Love is dead, that fain we would recall
Each note that trembled on the golden lyre
Ere it lay silent on the funeral pyre.
So be it: Destiny for all sad mortals leaves
Some little grains of comfort from life's sheaves;
So, though my love be lost to me for aye,
The flowers of memory ne'er will fade away.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 8 October 1913

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

An Ex-Digger's Growl by Edward Dyson

| No TrackBacks
This life is gay enough at times,
   But still it has its heavy spells,
The weary curse of slinging rhymes
   When wages, not the will, impels -
The "horrid grind" at "pointed pars.,"
   The articles with headache crammed,
The column sketch, hot off the bars,
   That "must be funny" or be damned.

My flaccid muscles seem to tweak
   To feel the windlass pull and strain,
To shake the cradle by the creek,
  And puddle at the "tom" again.
Ah! pen for pick is no poor swap
   When o'er the slides the waters flow,
A pile of half-ounce stuff on top,
   And fifty feet on wash below.

'Twas lightly left, 'tis lately mourned,
   That life in Tanner's eight-by-ten,
When coats with yellow clay adorned
   Were good enough for gentlemen,
And Sunday's best was Monday's wear,
   When Bennet gave us verse and book -
Poor Phil! a crude philospher,
   But, bless his heart, a clever cook.

A high old time we had, we three -
   Our darkest clouds with sunshine laced -
The pipeclay soft and dray at knee,
   A foot of washdirt, easy "faced,"
And one to say us aye or nay
   Did we resolved to slave or smoke -
The pan was ready with the pay
   E'en though the toil was half a joke.

'Twas good, when "spell-oh" had been said,
   To watch the white smoke curl and cling
Against the gravel roof o'erhead,
   The candles dimly flickering
And circled with a pallid glow -
   To sprawl upon the broken reef,
And pensively to pull and blow
   The fragrant incense from the leaf.

And where the torpid Wondee's tide,
   Untainted by the Stafford's sloughs,
Pellucid in its pristine pride,
  Stole sleeplessly beneath the boughs,
It was delightful toil to lay
  The dish within the flood, I ween,
And puddle off the pug and clay,
  And pan the golden prospect clean.

In hours of indolence and dream
   I swirl the old tin dish again,
And Wondee's lambent waters seem
   To lave my brow and lap my brain:
And, from the ravished hillside, come
   Faint clamours on the fitful breeze
And mingle with the crooning hum
   Of insects in the drowsy trees.

The barrels rattle on their stand,
   And in the shafts the nail-kegs swing
The short, sharp strokes of practised hands
   Are making picks and anvil ring.
The slothful echoes dally so,
   They blend with splitter's measured chop,
The cheery cry, "Look up, below!"
   The muffled call of "Heave on top!"

No piles were made on Pinafore,
   Here Nature's hoards were hard to find,
And though we skimmed the golden store,
   We left the richest stuff behind -
Contentment, freedom, careless ease,
   And friendship which - a long-felt want -
We never meet in towns like these,
   'Twas not the kind that cities haunt.

The day is done, regrets are vain,
   I cannot eat my cake once more,
The crumbs of comfort that remain
   I won't despise for feastings o'er;
The life I loved best, boy and man,
   Was digging-days by flood and field,
The galdsome graft with pick and pan,
   The pay a problem till the yield.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 October 1889

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

See also.

To Time by Henry Halloran

| No TrackBacks
Shower down upon this head, oh, Time!   
If such must be thy will,
The snows of age, but let youth's prime
Dwell in my quick heart still;
Sever life's ties, if that must be
The lot of all below,
But let their memory, green and free,
Prevail o'er wastes of snow.

Oh, Mother! sainted name, to whom
My earliest love is due,
My heart o'erleaps the narrow tomb,
And childlike hastes to you:--
Oh, Father! high-souled scholar, where
Doth thy wronged spirit rove?
Throughout starr'd realms to thee
I'd bear My reverence and love.  

Brothers and sisters, playmates fond,
Though scattered now or lost:
My heart still holds you dear, beyond
All worldly aim or cost:
Friends of my youth! tho' later ties
My hopes and thoughts possess,
And rule me, through my children's eyes,--
I ne'er shall love you less.

Age cannot blot, change cannot wrong
The hallow'd claims of old,--  
And trial only makes more strong
Those swathes of virgin gold:--
Then speed thee on, -- but in thy ruth,
Oh, Time! midst age's snow,
Leave the sweet momories of youth,
To cheer me as I go.

First published in The Empire, 3 October 1851

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

At the "Twelve Mile" by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
The little home we used to know stands lonely at the long day's close;
The roof had fallen long ago but for the interlacing rose.

And through the ruined garden fold the lingering light of sunset spills
Its immaterial dusty gold through golden clumps of daffodils.

Through seedy grasses rambling free, the wild raspberries climb and cling;
Still stands the silver wattle tree whose boughs once held the children's swing.

Still falls the magpies' music loud from one old group of knotted gums,
And, feathery as a falling cloud, still bloom the clustered cherryplums;

Like kirtled ladies in a ring, in bracken frondage to the knees,
And all their petals trembling with the little black Australian bees.

I dreamed beneath the flowery yield; the present ceased a little space;
I heard my father in the field, again I saw my mother's face.

And from the river, shallow clear, heard underneath the blackwood's boughs,
Clear voices on the evening air the youngsters bringing up the cows. . . .

The bees had vanished from the bloom when I awakened from my trance.
Only a bronzewing in the gloom crooned muted to the hour's romance.

What is the fatal power the past still keeps for human hearts alway?
The uzseless longing to the last for some lost scene of yesterday?

The freshening evening breezes pelted petals down like fairy rain.
Sudden my heart like wax was melted, and I could not stem my pain.

In mockery they seemed to flout me, Love's surviver lonely here
With all the daffodils about me, in the springtime of the year.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 1930

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

Old Friends by Will M. Fleming

| No TrackBacks
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 Voice in the Native Oak by Henry Kendall

| No TrackBacks
Twelve years ago, when I could face
   High heaven's dome with different eyes --
In days full-flowered with hours of grace,
   And nights not sad with sighs --
I wrote a song in which I strove
   To shadow forth thy strain of woe,
Dark widowed sister of the grove! --
   Twelve wasted years ago.

But youth was then too young to find
   Those high authentic syllables,
Whose voice is like the wintering wind
   By sunless mountain fells;
Nor had I sinned and suffered then
   To that superlative degree
That I would rather seek, than men,
   Wild fellowship with thee!

But he who hears this autumn day
   Thy more than deep autumnal rhyme,
Is one whose hair was shot with grey
   By Grief instead of Time.
He has no need, like many a bard,
   To sing imaginary pain,
Because he bears, and finds it hard,
   The punishment of Cain.

No more he sees the affluence
   Which makes the heart of Nature glad;
For he has lost the fine, first sense
   Of Beauty that he had.
The old delight God's happy breeze
   Was wont to give, to Grief has grown;
And therefore, Niobe of trees,
   His song is like thine own!

But I, who am that perished soul,
   Have wasted so these powers of mine,
That I can never write that whole,
   Pure, perfect speech of thine.
Some lord of words august, supreme,
   The grave, grand melody demands;
The dark translation of thy theme
   I leave to other hands.

Yet here, where plovers nightly call
   Across dim, melancholy leas --
Where comes by whistling fen and fall
   The moan of far-off seas --
A grey, old Fancy often sits
   Beneath thy shade with tired wings,
And fills thy strong, strange rhyme by fits
   With awful utterings.

Then times there are when all the words
   Are like the sentences of one
Shut in by Fate from wind and birds
   And light of stars and sun,
No dazzling dryad, but a dark
   Dream-haunted spirit doomed to be
Imprisoned, crampt in bands of bark,
   For all eternity.

Yea, like the speech of one aghast
   At Immortality in chains,
What time the lordly storm rides past
   With flames and arrowy rains:
Some wan Tithonus of the wood,
   White with immeasurable years --
An awful ghost in solitude
   With moaning moors and meres.

And when high thunder smites the hill
   And hunts the wild dog to his den,
Thy cries, like maledictions, shrill
   And shriek from glen to glen,
As if a frightful memory whipped
   Thy soul for some infernal crime
That left it blasted, blind, and stript --
   A dread to Death and Time!

But when the fair-haired August dies,
   And flowers wax strong and beautiful,
Thy songs are stately harmonies
   By wood-lights green and cool --
Most like the voice of one who shows
   Through sufferings fierce, in fine relief,
A noble patience and repose --
   A dignity in grief.

But, ah! conceptions fade away,
   And still the life that lives in thee --
The soul of thy majestic lay --
   Remains a mystery!
And he must speak the speech divine --
   The language of the high-throned lords --
Who'd give that grand old theme of thine
   Its sense in faultless words.

By hollow lands and sea-tracts harsh,
   With ruin of the fourfold gale,
Where sighs the sedge and sobs the marsh,
   Still wail thy lonely wail;
And, year by year, one step will break
   The sleep of far hill-folded streams,
And seek, if only for thy sake
   Thy home of many dreams.

First published in The Australian Town & Country Journal, 4 July 1874, and again in the same newspaper on 12 August 1882;
and then later in
Songs from the Mountains by Henry Kendall, 1880;
Selected Poems of Henry Kendall edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1957;
The Poetical Works of Henry Kendall edited by Thomas Thornton Reed, 1966;
Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence edited by Michael Ackland, 1993.

Note: this poem is related to an earlier work titled "The Voice of the Native Oak" by Charles Harpur, 1851, which you can read here.
The poem by Kendall is also known by the title "The Voice of the Wild Oak".

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

See also.

The Austral "Light!" by Harry "Breaker" Morant

| No TrackBacks
We were standing by the fireside at the pub. one wintry night,
Drinking grog and "pitching fairies" while the lengthening hours took flight,
And a stranger there was present, one who seemed quite city-bred --
There was little showed about him to denote him "mulga fed."

For he wore a four-inch collar, tucked-up pants, and boots of tan --
You might take him for a new-chum or a Sydney-city man --
But in spite of cuff and collar, Lord! he gave himself away
When he cut and rubbed a pipe-full, and had filled his colored clay!

For he never asked for matches -- - although in that boozing band
There was more than one man standing with a match-box in his hand;
And I knew him for a bushman 'spite his tailor-made attire
As I saw him stoop and fossick for a fire-stick from the fire.

And that mode of weed ignition to my memory brought back
The long nights when nags were hobbled on a far North-Western track:
Recalled camp fires in the timber, when the stars shone big and bright,
And we learnt the matchless virtues of a glowing gidgee light.

And I thought of piny sand-ridges! --- and somehow I could swear
That this tailor-made young johnnie had at one time been "out there"!
And as he blew the white ash from the tapering, glowing coal --
Faith! my heart went out towards him for a kindred country soul!

First published in The Bulletin, 19 June 1897, and again in the same magazine on 23-30 December 1980;
and later in
Bushman and Buccaneer: Harry Morant: His 'Ventures and Verses by Breaker Morant, 1902
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.

Over the Stockyard Rails by Edward S. Sorenson

| No TrackBacks
Hard by the bells are jingling,
   The nags are feeding near,
The quaint bush sounds come mingling
   With memories that are dear;
The warm night-wind caresses
   As o'er the grass it sails,
Like Nelly's soft brown treeses
   Across the stockyard rails.

She was a "free selector,"
   Her beau a station swell,
And "Dad" was the objector
   When I went courting Nell;
But Nelly met me slyly,
   Though he was hard as nails --
And, oh! she kissed me shyly
   Across the stockyard rails!

Now, many years have vanished,
   And many girls I've kissed;
Some long from memory banished,
   Some dear ones sadly missed;
And these come gaily trooping
   From 'yond the yester veils,
And once again I'm stooping
   Across the stockyard rails.

Ah, girls will love a rover --
   And pretty lips are met,
On every track a drover
   Has ever wandered yet.
So Love must wait and languish
   Where wand'ring life entails
A parting kiss of anguish
   Across the stockyard rails.

Now in the autumn mellow
   Sweet faces come in train,
All smiling round a fellow
   Who may not kiss again!
But, oh! the fire burns brightly,
   And Memory gladly hails
The kisses Nell kissed nightly
   Across the stockyard rails.

First published in The Bulletin, 31 May 1902

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Days Were Golden! by P. Luftig (Peter Airey)

| No TrackBacks
The clouds had each a rainbow rim,
   The gracious clouds and golden;
The stars we knew were never dim,
   The songs were quaint and olden;
With glamor-glow before our eyes
We left the land of worldly-wise,
We watched the suns of glory rise
   (Ah, then the Days were golden!)

The lips we loved were ruby-red
   (Ah, sweet the murmurs olden!)
The hair was haloed round the head
   (The gracious locks and golden!)
The eyes were always tender-true,
The tale they told was always new,
The wreaths of rose had naught of rue
   (Ah, then the Days were golden!)

We loved the glance of flowers a-gleam,
   The green that kissed the golden!
Our waking life was drowsy dream
   In that dear land and olden;
Our speech ran o'er with words of wine,
Our shade was shot with silver shine,
Our Human sank in Deeps Divine
   (Ah, then the Days were golden!)

We heard the vault in rapture ring
   Through many a cycle golden;
We heard the Sons of Morning sing
   In mystic chorus olden;
We heard the voice of vale and crest,
The bird that sang beside the nest,
The bird that sang within the breast --
   (Ah -- then the Days were golden!)

When heart to heart was gently leal,
   When Love was fresh and golden,
When Laughter rang in silver peal,
   (The peerless Laughter olden!)
When bosoms proud were in their prime
When clust'ring Joys were in their clime,
When Life was all a rippling rhyme --
   Ah -- then the Days were golden!

First published
in The Bulletin, 20 May 1899

Author:  Peter Airey (1865-1950) was born in Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire, England and arrived in Australia in 1875. Airey worked for the Queensland Education Department before being elected to the state parliament in 1901.  He later went on to become Queensland Home Secretary and Treasurer before being defeated at an election in 1909.  He then went into semi-retirement, living off his writing and investments, though he was still involved in Queensland political life.  He died in Brisbane in 1950.

Author reference sites:
Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

A Song for the Night by Daniel Henry Deniehy

| No TrackBacks
O the Night, the Night, the solemn Night,
   When Earth is bound with her silent zone,
And the spangled sky seems a temple wide,
   Where the star-tribes kneel at the Godhead's throne;
O the Night, the Night, the wizard Night,
   When the garish reign of day is o'er,
And the myriad barques of the dream-elves come
   In a brightsome fleet from Slumber's shore!
      O the Night for me,
      When blithe and free,
Go the zephyr-hounds on their airy chase;
      When the moon is high
      In the dewy sky,
And the air is sweet as a bride's embrace!

O the Night, the Night, the charming Night!
   From the fountain side in the myrtle shade,
All softly creep on the slumbrous air
   The waking notes of the serenade;
While bright eyes shine 'mid the lattice-vines,
   And white arms droop o'er the sculptured sills,
And accents fall to the knights below,
   Like the babblings soft of mountain rills.
      Love in their eyes,
      Love in their sighs,
Love in the heave of each lily-bright bosom;
      In words so clear,
      Lest the listening ear
And the waiting heart may lose them.

O the silent Night, when the student dreams
   Of kneeling crowds round a sage's tomb;
And the mother's eyes o'er the cradle rain
   Tears for her baby's fading bloom;
O the peaceful Night, when stilled and o'er
   Is the charger's tramp on the battle plain,
And the bugle's sound and the sabre's flash,
   While the moon looks sad over heaps of slain;
      And tears bespeak
      On the iron cheek
Of the sentinel lonely pacing,
      Thoughts which roll
      Through his fearless soul,
Day's sterner mood replacing.

O the sacred Night, when memory comes
   With an aspect mild and sweet to me,
But her tones are sad as a ballad air
   In childhood heard on a nurse's knee;
And round her throng fair forms long fled,
   With brows of snow and hair of gold,
And eyes with the light of summer skies,
   And lips that speak of the days of old.
      Wide is your flight,
      O spirits of Night,
By strath, and stream, and grove,
      But most in the gloom
      Of the Poet's room
Ye choose, fair ones, to rove.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 May 1895;
and later in
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907; and
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982.

Author: Daniel Henry Deniehy (1828-1865) was born in Sydney, the son of parents who had both been transported convicts.  He studied law and was admitted as a solicitor in 1851.  He published his first literary work, a novelette, in 1845 and his love of literature and poetry continued to grow.  As did his interest in politics, which resulted in being elected to the NSW Parliament in 1857.  His parliamentary career was only short, ending in 1860, and Deniehy and his family moved to Melbourne in 1862 where he edited the Victorian.  After the failure of the paper in April 1864 he returned to Sydney but soon moved to Bathurst in an attempt to resurrect his legal practice. Deniehy died in Bathurst in 1865 after a fall in the street resulted in a major head injury. 

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Mementoes by Douglas B. W. Sladen

| No TrackBacks
   O cool South-wind,
Blowing from icebergs and the world of sea!
   Yet you remind
Me of my northern home, and wing to me,
   With your crisp breath,   
Whiffs of the breezy spring, and the wind-flower
   That blossometh
In Kentish woods in March's budding hour.

   And you, ye Waves,   
You too hail from the ice and Southern Pole:
   The tide, that laves
My home, knows of you but as soul knows soul,
   Alike in kind
But moving in its own and distinct sphere:
   Yet, as the wind,
You waft me memories of North lands dear.

   O threatening Sky,
You are not beautiful; but when there be
   Dark clouds on high,
They conjure up remembrances for me
   Of my old home,
And dear ones drawing-in to the hall fire;
   And with them come
Mists of regret and rain-drops of desire.

   I love the sun,
Blue heavens, soft still air, and sea in calm:
   When summer's gone
I feel as, in a northern clime, a palm
   Transplanted from
The South. And yet, when clouds or cold appear,
   Or chill sea-foam,
I welcome them as if old friends drew near.

First published in The Queenslander, 1 April 1882

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Far Away by Kathleen Dalziel

| No TrackBacks
Far away, oh, far away!
   Where the golden morning breaketh
Over purple summer seas,
Rippling, sparkling, in the bay,
Splushing softly on the strand --
On the shining, yellow sand;
   When the reign of Summer waketh
In that distant summer land
         Far away.

Far away, oh, far away!
   Where the dusty road winds down,
Past where oak and willow trees
Dream throughout the drowsy day.
Where the snowy orchards lie,
Bridal-robed 'neath azure sky,
   Winding on towards the town
Where the swift-winged sea-birds fly
         Far away.

Far away, oh, far away!
   O! the dainty garden bowers
With the great, sweet, yellow roses,
Sweeter than the scent of May.
O, the little sunny town!
O, the little white-roofed town,
   Sleeping through the quiet hours
By the hillside green and brown,
         Far away.

Far away, oh, far away!
   Setting sun behind the hill,
Flinging shadows dark and vast
On the waters of the bay,
While the wavelets kiss the shore,
Coming, going ever more;
   Where the dusk is cool and still,
And the stars light heaven's floor,
         Far away.

I shall never see it more.
   I have left it all behind
On the weary round of time;
Never see the shining shore,
Nor the road that windeth down
From the hillside to the town;
   Nor the scented evening wind
Swing the roses as of yore,
         Never more.

First published in The Bulletin, 17 March 1904

Author: Lau Kathleen Natalie Dalziel (nee Walker) (1881-1969) was born in Durban, South Africa, and migrated to Australia with her family some time around 1887.  She lived in northern Tasmania in her early years before moving to Victoria after her marriage.  Her early poems in The Bulletin received a lot of praise but she only published one collection of poetry during her lifetime.  She was widely known as a writer of poetry for children, and was a founding member of the Melbourne P.E.N. Club.  She died in Ivanhoe, Victoria, in 1969.

Author reference sites: Austlit

See also.

To an Echo on the Banks of the Hunter by Charles Harpur

| No TrackBacks
I
I hear thee, Echo; and I start to hear thee,
   With a strange tremor, as among the hills

Thy voice reverbs, and in swift murmurs near me

      Dies down the stream, or with its gurgle low

   Blends whisp'ringly -- untll my bosom thrills
With gentle tribulations that endear thee,

    But smack not of the present. 'Twere as though    

A spirit of the past did then insphere thee

Even with the taste of life's regretted spring --

   Waking wild recollections, to evince

My being's transfused connexion with each thing

               Loved, though long since.  


II

It seems but yesterday since last I stood

   Beside the Hawkesb'ry, even as now I stand

By the swift Hunter, challenging, o'er the flood,
An echo thus; but with a glorious brood

   Of hopes then glowing round me, and a band

Of schoolmates and young creatures of my blood,

   All quick with joyousness beyond command;

   And now, with that delightful day, oh, where

Are those glad mates, quick joys, and hopes of good?

               Where, Echo, where?

III

Thy voice comes o'er the waters in reply,

   To fade as soon -- and all those young delights

Decay'd, on thy peculiar accents die,  

   In the dusk valleys of past days and nights,

To be renew'd not like thy mystic chide;

   And one to the other of these joyous sprites,

Now burthened with their manhoods, in the wide

World's separations, even the names as fast

Of each have faded; and those hopes at last--  

   Aye, all those glorious hopes of mine, save one,

Become but echoes of the hollow past--

               All, all but one!

IV
And that, too, round my being only strays

    Like a recurring sound :- 'Tis that, when o'er

My country shall have swept the ripening days

      Of centuries, her better sons shall prize

   My lonely voice upon the past;- but more

      That to her daugthers, so with glowing eyes,

      Bath'd to the splendour of these selfesame skies,

They'll gaze upon my page -- even then my name,

   Unheeded now, responsive to the swell

Of their full souls, and winnow'd of its blame,

      From the dim past (an echo) thus shall come:

   And wheresoever Love end Song may dwell,

      To live and die in sweet perpetual doom,

Upon the flood of ages -- still the same.

   And in this hope the recompense is great

For much that I may lack, for more that may annoy,

   Crowning me oft 'mid these dark days of fate

               With joy-even joy !

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 14 March 1843;
and then later in
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, 17 October 1846;
The People's Advocate and New South Wales Vindicator, 20 January 1849;
The Bushrangers, a Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems by Charles Harpur, 1853; and
The Poetical Works of Charles Harpur edited by Elizabeth Perkins, 1984.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Memories category.

Mateship is the previous category.

Men is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en