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Graves of the Pioneers by Kathleen Dalziel

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Back where the ragged scrub-line surges 
   Away to the hot horizon's line, 
Out where the winds croon eerie dirges 
   Night and day through the dusty pine.

Where only the Spring weaves flowers for token, 
   And only the dew leaves quiet tears, 
They lie by the heights and the foothills broken, 
   The graves of the first lone pioneers. 

Scattered afar, through nature's hallways 
   Of towering ash or tossing palm, 
West by that central plain that always 
   Keeps inviolate dreadful calm. 

And we, who walk in the crowded places 
   Where arc lights flare and swift wheels go,     
(Careless crowds among crowding faces), 
   Little remember the debt we owe. 

To those who lie there all unrequited 
   Where the grass-tree raises its velvet spears 
In the vast cathedral of God, star lighted, 
   The outpost graves of the pioneers. 

First published in The Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 14 November 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

A Tasmanian Toast by Marie E J. Pitt

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Australia sings her overland
   "From Murray back to Bourke,"
Her three-mile tracks, her sun and sand
   Her men that do the work --
And here's to them --- fill high the glass! --
   Who braved all winds that blow,
Tramping through the button-grass --
   Thirty years ago!

They left the flock to face the frown,
   The grip of foemen strange,
They fled the fleshpots of the town
   To front the iron range;
Old Bischoff saw their camp-fires pass,
   Mount Lyell saw them glow,
Tramping through the button-grass --
   Thirty years ago!

From Emu Bay to Williamsford,
   From Strahan unto Dumdas,
They won the way from flood and ford,
   They won the jagged pass,
Above, the pine and sassafras,
   Beneath, the drifted snow,
The men that trumped the button-grass --
   Thirty years ago!

Where red their outpost camp-fires roared
   To forest legions thinned,
The axe flung, like a levin sword,
   Its challenge down the wind;
They saw the dark pine phalanx pass,
   The myrtle host lie low,
The men that tramped the button-grass --
   Thirty years ago! --

From out their dreams the cities rose
   As still from hill heads grey
The first red flush of morning grows
   Into the lord of day.
Yes, here's to them, fill high the glass
   To Mount Read Esquimaux
And all that tramped the button-grass ---
   Thirty years ago! --

First published in The Bulletin, 19 March 1903;
and later in
Selected Poems of Marie E.J. Pitt by Marie E.J. Pitt, 1944;
Effects of Light: the Poetry of Tasmania edited by Vivian Smith and Margaret Scott, 1985;
River of Verse: A Tasmanian Journey 1800-2004 edited by Helen Gee, 2004; and
Our Country: Classic Australian Poetry: From the Colonial Ballads to Paterson & Lawson edited by Michael Cook, 2004.

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

See also.

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