A smoky silver lifts
Above the plain.
The cows move through dissolving drifts
Distorted and immense, and stand
By the black pools where ice has lain.
Broken the ice like splintered globes of glass
Among the needle-reeds and water-grass.
Clotted in white the frog-spawn floats.
The duck-weed crusts stems old and drowned.
And hark, with a round
The butcher-birds rejoice,
And the sharp-edged, metallic sound
Of a driven cross-saw cuts
The frosty air to ribbons and becomes
The morning's lusty voice!
First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 1943