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The Wind by Kathleen Dalziel

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The wind leaped up from the sea, strong voiced and exultant.  
   Tearing the pride of the blossom to tatters of pearl,
And the white gulls are scattered like petals about, and to windward
   The grey ribboned wrack wreaths unfurl.

Crazing the she-oaks again with its aeons old malice,
   Spurring the waves on their useless and passionate quest,
Till, like a thousand pale roses slow fading and fallen,
   Day withers away in the west.

Over the darkness a silvery pallor already
   Tinging the tops of the waters, where veiled and in vain,
Over the sea wall, white shapes leap up through the unsteady 
   Flurry of wandering rain.

Round, red, and wonderful, over the tumbling riot,
   Rises the moon, in the mist of her vapours entwined,
And night's dusky realm is suddenly rocked into quiet
   With the low fallen hush of the wind.

First published in The Brisbane Courier, 7 December 1929

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

South Wind by Mabel Forrest

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What is the South wind looking for? 
   A sunny day or a sweep of rain? 
A sea to ruffle against a shore,
   Or a Spring that never can come again? 
It harries the jacaranda's sheaf,
And pries and searches beneath each leaf. 

What is the South wind looking for?
   It seems to laugh as it hastens by,
Yet as it swooned to the grassy floor
   Among the daisies I heard it sigh;
By the tendrilled vine o'er the broken fence
I felt its laughter was all pretence! 

What is the South wind looking for?
   It did not pause by the quiet graves; 
It rattled an ivied garden door,
   And flicked the barley to trembling waves,
And out where the clover led the bees 
It hid a moment behind the trees.

What is the South wind looking for?
   Something the North wind could not find,
Something the bitter West wind swore 
   Was his as he left the world behind. 
I know by its fitful, breathless pace
There are tears not far from the South wind's face!

And it moans defeat at my window now,
   With one last wild hope as it scales the wall
And tugs at the silky oak's tough bough  
   For a tawny blossom that will not fall;
Then I hear it sink with its baffled cries,
Till beyond blue ranges the South wind dies.

First published in The Australasian, 22 November 1924

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also

The Piping Shepherd by Myra Morris

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Far over the green meadows of the sea 
The wind comes piping, piping eerily
Before him run the little waves, his sheep
All loth to leave the far foam-flowered steep! 

Piping he drives his scattered snow-white flocks
Among the purple paths of jagged rocks.
This way and that, with all their sliver bells 
Chiming a tune of empty lifted shells

Beyond pale pasture lands of shining gold
He drives them safe within the covering fold
Of dusk-dark caves where all night long they cry,
Away from the sweet air and starry sky!

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August 1929

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Shower of Rain by Kathleen Dalziel

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Out came the sun, 
   And sullen morning melted 
To sparkling laughter 
   And bright tears again, 
As from the cloud 
   The shower backward pelted 
A slanting handful 
   Of white splintered rain. 

A flurry of jewels, 
   Star-gold scattered at noon, 
In irised beads 
   And iridescent spears, 
Till earth is a treasure trove 
   Thickly bestrewn 
With sapphire sprays 
   And rounded turquoise tears.
Down the wet hillside 
   Comes the haunting scale 
Of the cuckoo, lost 
   In the magpie's liquid note. 
Pouring soft warblings 
   Through the sun-warmed vale, 
A pain of ecstasy 
   From his golden throat. 

Ere the pearls have slipped 
   From the broad nasturtium leaf, 
And the trees have ceased 
   To drip green diamonds, 
Heaven and earth 
   Are reflected in the brief 
Broken mirrors 
   Of little gathered ponds. 

The winds have shaken 
   The pointed gumtips dry, 
And the sun pours forth 
   His ardent gold again. 
And back to her boundless 
   Coffers of blue the sky 
Has gathered the ransomed 
   Treasury of the rain.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 August 1930

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

Through the Rain by Myra Morris

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The quiet rains drifts over,
   As grey as spreaders' strands,
Weaving a web that covers
   The emerald pasture-lands.

Behind it dream the fallows,
   The little lakes and rills,
And fields with tumbled hay-stacks
   That flank the rounded hills.

The quiet rain drifts over
   And shrouds my heart with grey --
But 'neath it lovely reaches
   Of joy are hid away!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 28 July 1925

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

The Wind by Mabel Forrest

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A trellis carefully planned and painted;
   A guarding wall where a creeper swings;
A palisade where the red beans clamber --
But the wind comes there, for the wind has wings;
   There is no defence it cannot climb over,
For the wind is brave as the boldest lover!

You can fasten the latch of your leaden window,
   You can turn your eyes from the cloud-flecked blue,
But the voice of the hills will find you heeding
   And the wind will rattle the bolt for you!

You may shut your ears to the muffled pleading
   Your heart as a folded bud may make,
But the wind is tossing the flowers together
    And the wind will hustle your hear awake!
There is never a wall they cannot climb over --
A fearless wind and a faithful lover!

First published in The Australian Woman's Mirror, 14 February 1928

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Rough Day by Myra Morris

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Out in the wild and wanton weather,
   Under the arc of ashen sky,
The black, carved banksias bend together,
   And the screaming gulls go winging by!   
Tossed and torn in the wind's embraces,
   The tea-tree turns to the rain-swept town, 
And the daisies whirl in the sandy places,
   Where the first, white buds are shaken down!  

Under the whip of the stormy weather,
   Shouting, the sea comes rolling in!
The white spray lifts in the air like a feather,
   And the glistening foam-balls reel and spin. 
High on the beach the boats are lifted,
   Spread by the wall where the brown nets blow,
And the broken shells from the deep have drifted,
   White like a bank of heaped-up snow!   

Out in the wild and wanton weather,
   Strung with a crazy joy go I --
I and the wind and the sea together,
   Tossing our arms to the swollen sky!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 1932

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

"Wet" by C.J. Dennis

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Not guilty, yer Honor . . . An' givin' me reasons,
I'd like for to plead this 'ere change in the seasons,
   Plus one flamin' goat with a terrible silly
   Great grin on 'is map wot 'ud drive a man dilly

'E lobs in me shop an' -- "Is this enough rain for yeh?"
Honest yer Honor, I'd like to explain for yeh,
   'Twas n't 'is tone, or 'is talk of the weather
   And 'twas n't 'is grin; but the whole lot together.

"This enough rain for yeh?" Stands there inquirin',
As if this 'ere rain's the one thing I'm desirin'.
   "Wet, ain't it?" 'e grins, with 'is mackintosh leakin'
   All over me carpit . . . it's justice I'm seekin' --

Plain justice, yer Honor.  I wonder I'm sober.
You know 'ow it poured thro' the whole of October,
   Then floods in November -- an' this 'eathen image
   Sez, "Rain enough for yeh?"  That started the scrimmage.

"Wet, ain't it?" 'e sez.  Can a man claim I wrongs 'im
Right there in me shop, when I ups an' I dongs 'im?
   For I done al me cash -- as 'e well must remember,
   The coot -- in this 'ere ice-cream joint last September.

Yes, ice-cream, yer Honor.  Cool drinks -- then this weather
An' 'im, an' 'is talk, an' 'is grin all together --
   Well -- a man can stand so much.  I ain't prone to fightin',
   But, if a fine must be, well, make it a light 'un.

First published in The Herald, 1 December 1934

As Between Pensioners by C.J Dennis

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Mingled with general gratitude for the beneficial rainfall of last weekend are a host of varying surmises as to the cause of such a large downpour.

"'Tis precious stuff," said old George Jones
   "When men sore needs a fall;
Tho' how or why it comes, I owns
   I ain't got clear at all.
Some sez that in the sun, a spot
   Controls it in some way."
"It's this 'ere wireless, like as not,"
   Said old Pete Parraday.

"Wireless," scoffed grey-haired Joey Park.
   "Wot wireless did they use
When ole man Noah sailed the ark?
   It's them black cockytoos.
Last week I seen more than a few,
   An' then wot did I say --"
"'Tis wireless -- I'm tellin' you!"
   Said old Pete Parraday.

"Cockies?  Sun-spots?" said Daddy Shore,
   "Jist foolish talk an' vain.
It's this 'ere Abbysinian war
   An' guns as causes rain.
Ain't it been proved by natcharil laws
   Time an' again, the way --"
"It's this 'ere wireless is the cause,"
   Said old Pete Parraday.

Said old George Jones, "Ain't you ashamed
   To talk the way you do?
It's providence gits mostly blamed
   When things is lookin' blue.
Ain't the rain now due?  For ain't we got
   O'er all this world full sway?"
"Too right.  But wireless helps a lot,"
   Said old Pete Parraday.

First published in The Herald, 25 October 1935

The Land Down-Under by C.J. Dennis

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Owing to the presence in the upper air of microscopic dust blown from remote northern deserts, snow that fell at Mount Hotham and elsewhere recently was light pink in color.  This report, together with tales of our red rain, black swans, walking fishes and egg-laying, duck-billed platypusses, may well cause wonder amongst simple folk in older lands.

At Slumberton-on-Slow,
   When the rustics gather round
To quaff their ale, they hear a tale
   That wakens doubt profound --
A wild, wild tale that comes by mail
   From Gaffer Gandy's Joe,
Who left his home long since to roam
   In the land of the light pink snow.

And the talk goes to and fro:
   "Be goom, laad, that be rich!
Pink snow, he said; an' the rain be red,
   But swans be black as pitch!
A greaat laad for romance
   Be Gaffer Gandy's Joe.
Ho, the kangaroo have pockets too!
   In the land of the pale pink snow."

At Slumberton-on-Slow
   They yarn in the inn's tapp-room:
"Worms, Joe do write, they be a sight,
   An' six foot long.  Be goom!
Birds, he do say, laughs loud all day,
   And the cherry stones do grow
Outside the skin, an' not within,
   In the land of the pale pink snow.

"The lizards shed their tails,
   An' the trees they sheds their bark,
But keeps their leaves while winter grieves --
   (Did e'er 'ee hear sick tork?)
The squirrels they fly by night from high,
    Says Gaffer Gandy's Joe.
An' the fish have legs, an' the beasts lays eggs
   In the land of the pale pink snow."

First published in The Herald, 26 July 1935

Bountiful Rain by C.J. Dennis

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After a serious threat of drought, such bountiful rain has fallen in Gippsland and the eastern hill and forest country, that flood warnings have been issued.

Bountiful rain, we have yearned for you, prayed for you,
   When, thro' the drought days, ill visions had scope;
Thankfulness vast in the past we displayed for you
   When you have come at the end of our hope.
Now you have come, is our subsequent attitude
   Smacking of gracelessness far from the mind.
Is there a tinge of reproach in our gratitude
   If we suggest that you can be too kind?

Farmland and forest have known your munificence;
   Sweet, tender green springs anew in the fields;
Meekly and meetly we hail your beneficence,
   Dreaming again fresh, glorious yields.
Bountiful rain, of your bounty give ear to us,
   Yet deem us not for your bounty unfit,
If we remark that just now you appear to us --
   Well -- overdoing it just a wee bit.

The forest's aweep, but the rain is still falling;
   The farmlands are soaking, the paddocks awash;
The swollen hill-creeks thro' their gullies go brawling;
   And down thro' the cowyard the dairymen slosh.
Shade of old Noah and all his zoology!
   Bountiful rain!  Now the drought threat has ceased,
Might we suggest, with an abject apology,
   More than enough is as good as a feast.

First published in The Herald, 27 June 1933

A Song of Rain by C.J. Dennis

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Because a little vagrant wind veered south from China Sea;
Or else, because a sun-spot stirred; and yet again, maybe
Because some idle god in play breathed on an errant cloud,
The heads of twice two million folk in gratitude are bowed.

      Patter, patter ... Boolconmatta,
      Adelaide and Oodnadatta,
      Pepegoona, parched and dry
      Laugh beneath a dripping sky.
      Riverina's thirsting plain
      Knows the benison of rain.
      Ararat and Arkaroola
      Render thanks with Tantanoola
      For the blessings they are gaining,
      And it's raining -- raining -- raining!

Because a heaven-sent monsoon the mists before it drove;
Because things happened in the moon; or else, because High Jove,
Unbending, played at waterman to please a laughing boy,
The hearts through all a continent are raised in grateful joy.

      Weeps the sky at Wipipipee
      Far Farina's folk are dippy
      With sheer joy, while Ballarat
      Shouts and flings aloft its hat.
      Thirsty Thackaringa yells;
      Taltabooka gladly tells
      Of a season wet and windy;
      Men rejoice on Murrindindie;
      Kalioota's ceased complaining;
      For it's raining -- raining -- raining!

Because a poor bush parson prayed an altruistic prayer,
Rich with unselfish fellow-love that Heaven counted rare;
And yet, mayhap, because one night a meteor was hurled
Across the everlasting blue, the luck was with our world.

      On the wilds of Winininnie
      Cattle low and horses whinny,
      Frolicking with sheer delight.
      From Beltana to The Bight,
      In the Mallee's sun-scorched towns,
      In the sheds on Darling Downs,
      In the huts at Yudnapinna,
      Tents on Tidnacoordininna,
      To the sky all heads are craning --
      For it's raining -- raining -- raining!

Because some strange, cyclonic thing has happened -- God knows where --
Men dream again of easy days, of cash to spend and spare.
The ring fair Clara coveted, Belinda's furs are nigh,
As clerklings watch their increments fall shining from the sky.

      Rolls the thunder at Eudunda;
      Leongatha, Boort, Kapunda
      Send a joyous message down;
      Sorrows, flooded, sink and drown.
      Ninkerloo and Nerim South
      Hail the breaking of the drouth;
      From Toolangi's wooded mountains
      Sounds the song of plashing fountains;
      Sovereign Summer's might is waning;
      It is raining -- raining -- raining!

Because the breeze blew sou'-by-east across the China Sea;
Or else, because the thing was willed through all eternity
By gods that rule the rushing stars, or gods long aeons dead,
The earth is made to smile again, and living things are fed.

      Mile on mile from Mallacoota
      Runs the news, and far Baroota
      Speeds it over hill and plain,
      Till the slogan of the rain
      Rolls afar to Yankalilla;
      Wallaroo and Wirrawilla
      Shout it o'er the leagues between,
      Telling of the dawning green.
      Frogs at Cocoroc are croaking,
      Booboorowie soil is soaking,
      Oodla Wirra, Orroroo
      Breathe relief and hope anew.
      Wycheproof and Wollongong
      Catch the burden of the song
      That is rolling, rolling ever
      O'er the plains of Never Never,
      Sounding in each mountain rill,
      Echoing from hill to hill ...
      In the lonely, silent places
      Men lift up their glad, wet faces,
      And their thanks ask no explaining --
      It is raining -- raining -- raining!

First published in The Bulletin, 22 April 1915;
and later in
Backblock Ballads and Later Verses by C.J. Dennis, 1918.

'Tis an Ill Wind -- A Heat Wave Homily by C.J. Dennis

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While the majority of people in town and country grumbled peevishly about the heat yesterday, many citizens engaged in summer trades hailed such weather as a belated godsend after an uncertain and profitless summer season.

We stand and gasp in the city street
   Or pant in the country glare,
Hurling a curse at the humid heat
   And the unrefreshing air;
And we weakly vow this heat-wave can
   Bring joy to none who thinks.
Aye.  But what about the ice-cream man,
  And the cove who sells cool drinks?

Are never these to know the joy
   Of a sudden profit earned
And a quick reward in their employ
   While the fickle sunlight burned?
But the mercury that never drops
   Awakes our dismal wails.
Yet what about the drapers' shops
   And the need for summer sales?

We thirst, we drink, we thirst again,
   And drink, turn and about,
And realise all effort vain
   To ease this endless drought.
We long for grey skies, vapor-hung,
   And wish chill winter here.
But what about your old friend Bung
   And the steady sale of beer?

Then grieve no more, oh, selfish wight,
   When summer suns burn down,
And harp no more upon your plight
   By heat-struck field or town.
Rather, in altruistic mood,
   Thus let your thought be bent:
"E'en hot north winds may blow some good
   To someone.  Be content."

First published in The Herald, 28 February 1935

"'Ot?" by C.J. Dennis

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'Ot? - Well, wot a thing to arst!
Think I'm made of marble?  Wot?
'Ot?  Ay? 'Ot!! Why, --! An' -!
Wot a question!  'Course I'm 'ot!

'Ot?  Well, I should say I am!
Think I'm goin' to say I'm not?
Do I feel the wot?  Oh-!
Shut yer 'ead! I know it's 'ot!!

'Ot?  Dy'e think I bloomin' well
Don't know that much?  'Ot!  Great Scot!!!
Do I wot?  Oh, ----!!!
'Eavens, don't I know it's 'ot!

'OT?  Wot rot!  Do I look cool?
Do I notice wot?  The glare?
Why you -!!  *****!! Fool!!
--!  ***? --!!!  --***?
--!  --!  --!  ***!!!!!! - There!

First published in The Gadfly, 21 February 1906

Heat Wave by C.J. Dennis

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Day after day, week after burning week,
   A ruthless sun has sucked the forest dry.
Morn after anxious morn men's glances seek
   The hills, hard-etched against a harder sky.
      Gay blossoms droop and die.
Menace is here, as day draws to its peak,
And, 'mid the listless gums along the creek,
         Hot little breezes sigh.

To-day the threat took shape; the birds were dumb.
   Once more, as sullen, savage morning broke,
The silence told that trembling fear had come,
   To bird and beast and all the forest folk.
      One little wisp of smoke
Far in the south behind the listless gum
Grew to a purple pall.  Like some far drum,
         A distant muttering broke.

Red noon beheld red death come shouting o'er
   These once green slopes -- a leaping, living thing.
Touched by its breath, tree after tall tree wore
   A fiery crown, as tho' to mock a king --
      A ghastly blossoming
Of sudden flame that died and was no more.
And, where a proud old giant towered of yore,
         Stood now a blackened thing.

Fierce raved the conquering flame, as demons rave,
   Earth shook to thunders of the falling slain.
Brambles and bushes, once so gay and brave,
   Shrank back, and writhed, and shrieked and shrieked again
      Like sentient things in pain.
Gone from the forest all that kind Spring gave ...
And now, at laggard last, too late to save,
         Comes soft, ironic rain.

First published in The Herald, 9 February 1933;
and later in
The Singing Garden by C.J. Dennis, 1935; and
Selected Works of C.J. Dennis, 1988.

In a Forest Garden: North Wind by C. J. Dennis

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Dawn came this morning ominous and grim.
   The circle of the sun rose bloated where,
Seen thro' the scudding cloud, its angry rim
   Burned dull and copper hued -- a sullen glare.
   The stale and lifeless air
Made no least little stir 'mid leaf and limb
Of great trees brooding round this garden trim;
   A listening fear seemed there.
Listening and waiting.  Then a far, faint roar
   Spread from the furthrest hills.  A sudden breeze
Swelling in volume thro' the forest tore
   Until it seemed the tossing, tortured trees
   Writhed in fierce agonies.
The crashing trunks sounded as guns in war,
And tumult reigned, as of some rockbound shore
   Defying angry seas.
Waning to wax again with gathered power,
   All day it raged, and leapt from hill to hill,
Shouting its wrath ... Now, with a healing shower,
   Quiet comes down, and all seems strangely still.
   The wind has had its will
With riven loveliness of shrub and flower;
But round the torn storm-scarred monarchs tower
   Unconquerable still.

First published in The Herald, 14 January 1933

The Wind by Walter D. White

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Over the roof of the world I fly --
Snow clouds drifting beneath the sky,
The desert dust I blow afar,
To realms beneath the Evening Star.

I come from where dread Tamerlane
Left half a million tribesmen slain;
From Gobi's waste and Cathay's host
I scourge the Coromandel Coast.

And on and on o'er storied lands,
Swift-winged I haste to distant strands,
To where, beneath the sunset glow,
Vast London Town spreads out below.

I smite the Orkneys lone and drear,
I fill the fisher folk with fear;
And on to where great surges roll
And icefields guard the Northern Pole.

From North to South afar I go,
O'er mountains white with winter's snow;
I cross the Line with rush and roar,
And lightly kiss the Austral shore.

Where Sydney's perfect haven lies
Dreaming beneath her turquoise skies --
Until at length I sink to rest
Upon the ramparts of the West.    

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 November 1932

Author reference site: Austlit

See also.

The Storm King by M. Burkinshaw (Mabel Forrest)

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I came from heights of eternal snow,
And I rode the wind to the vale below;
I bent the pine boughs as I passed
With the angry strength of my icy blast:
I ruffled the surface of the lake
Till a thousand waves with white crests brake;
I tossed the far-off wandering ships,
While children watched me with questioning lips.
Yet what do I care for men's drowning sighs,
Or the yearning grief in the women's eyes?
Tho' they wake the night with their anguished cry,
The Storm King laughs as he rushes by.

First published
in The Queenslander, 21 May 1898

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Drought by Will M. Fleming

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Old Drought, Death's dearest champion,
   Walks gauntly o'er the land;
His teeth all white and gleaming,
   His weapons in his hand,
And near and far his war-notes,
   The stifled groans of pain,
Roll slowly to the welkin
   And echo back again.

The dust, his rolling standard,
   Waves high across the runs,
While throbbing thirst and famine,
   His two quick-firing guns,
With callous claim and deadly aim
Put peace and happiness to shame
Till joy is but an empty name,
   And Hope the horror shuns.

See! gloating o'er its suffering,
   With eager, straining eyes,
He stoops above the struggler
   And mocks it as it dies
With visions wild and joyful,
   Till, sure that joy is shown,
With rattle weird and eerie
   He claims it as his own.

Then, sweeping on in laughter,
   He calls; from far and wide
The ghosts of bygone suffering
   Stream in on every side;
And as they come, with moaning hum
Through lips that struggle to be dumb,
He sneers at most, but jests with some
   In very lust of pride.

The skeletons of sorrow
   Beneath his baneful stare,
With weary limbs and aching,
   Are all assembled there,
And, by his mournful music,
   Awakened from their trance,
With heavy feet and listless
   Begin to reel and dance.

With hollow tones and mocking
   He laughs to scorn their dread;
And now his teeth are gleaming
   A bright and smoking red.
The revelry of misery
Sweeps onward in its agony,
Till life itself has ceased to be ---
   The empty earth is dead.

First published in The Queenslander, 12 June 1897

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

Rain! by C. J. Dennis

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What care I what wins the races?
   What care I for falling stock?
What care I for airs and graces
   Of the flappers on the Block?
All my cares have passed away;
   I'm beyond all dull complaining,
For the skies are leaden grey;
   And it's raining, raining, raining!

Plague me with no pleasant duties
   Of this sunny land of ours,
While the country side and cites
   Are athirst for cooling showers.
All my worries now are sped --
   Now that Sovereign Summer's waning;
And five million folk are fed;
   For it's raining! RAINING! RAINING!

First published
in the Sun News-Pictorial, 11 May 1927

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

See also.

Note: the reference here to "the Block" refers to the Block Arcade in Melbourne at the corner of Collins and Elizabeth Streets.

The Coachman's Yarn by E. J. Brady

| No TrackBacks
This is a tale that the coachman told,
As he flicked the flies from Marigold
And flattered and fondled Pharaoh.
The sun swung low in the western skies;
Out on a plain, just over a rise,
   Stood Nimitybell, on Monaro;
Cold as charity, cold as Hell,
Bleak, bare, barren Nimitybell --
   Nimitybell on Monaro.

"Now this 'ere 'appened in eighty-three,
The coldest winter ever we see;
Strewth, it was cold, as cold as could be
   Out 'ere on Monaro:
It froze the blankets, it froze the fleas,
It froze the sap in the blinkin' trees.
I made a grindstone out of cheese,
   Right 'ere in Monaro!

"Freezin' an' snowin' -- ask the old hands
They seen, they knows, an' they understand
The ploughs was froze, and the cattle brands,
   Down 'ere in Monaro:
It froze our fingers and froze our toes:
I seen a passenger's breath so froze
Icicles 'ung from 'is bloomin' nose
   Long as the tail on Pharaoh!

"I ketched a curlew down by the creek;
His feet was froze to his blessed beak;
'E stayed like that for over a week --
   That's cold on Monaro.
Why, even the air got froze that tight
You'd 'ear the awfullest sounds at night,
When things was put to a fire or light,
   Out 'ere on Monaro.

"For the sounds was froze. At Haydon's Bog
A cove 'e crosscut a big back-log,
An' carted 'er 'ome ('e wants to jog --
   Stiddy, go stiddy there, Pharaoh!).
As soon as his log begins to thaw
They 'ears the sound of the crosscut saw
A-thawin' out. Yes, his name was Law.
   Old hands, them Laws, on Monaro.

"The second week of this 'ere cold snap
I'm drivin' the coach. A Sydney chap,
'E strikes this part o' the bloomin' map,
   A new hand 'ere on Monaro:
'Is name or game I never heard tell,
But 'e gets of at Nimitybell;
Blowin' like Bluey, freezin' like 'ell,
   At Nimitybell on Monaro.

"The drinks was froze, o' course, in the bar:
They breaks a bottle of old Three Star,
An' the barman sezs, 'Now, there y' are,
   You can't beat that for Monaro!'
The stranger bloke, 'e was tall an' thin,
Sez 'Strike me blue, but I think you win;
We'll 'ave another an' I'll turn in --
   It's blitherin' cold on Monaro.'

"'E borrowed a book an' went to bed
To read awhile, so the missus said,
By the candle-light. 'E must ha' read
   (These nights is long on Monaro)
Past closin' time. Then 'e starts an' blows
The candle out: but the wick 'ad froze!
Leastways, that's what folks round 'ere suppose
   Old hands as lived on Monaro.

"So bein' tired, an' a stranger, new
To these mountain ways, they think he threw
'Is coat on the wick; an' maybe, too,
   Any odd clothes 'e'd to spare. Oh,
This ain't no fairy, an' don't you fret!
Next day came warmer, an' set in wet --
There's some out 'ere as can mind it yet,
   The real old 'ands on Monaro.

"The wick must ha' thawed. The fire began
At breakfast time. The neighbors all ran
To save the pub`' forgot the man
   (Stiddy, go stiddy there, mare-oh).
The pub was burned to the blanky ground;
'Is buttons was all they ever found.
The blinkin' cow, 'e owed me a pound --
   From Cooma his blinkin' fare, oh!

"That ain't no fairy, not what I've told;
l'm gettin' shaky an' growin' old,
An' I hope I never again see cold,
   Like that down 'ere 'on Monaro!"

He drives his horses, he drives them well,
And this is the tale he loves to tell
Nearing the town of Nimitybell,
   Nimitybell on Monaro.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 April 1922;
and later in
From the Ballads to Brennan edited by T. Inglis Moore, 1964;
The Illustrated History of Australian Verse edited by Beatrice Davis, 1984;
My Country: Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer, 1985;
Old Ballads from the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987;
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007; and
100 Australian Poems You Need to Know edited by Jamie Grant, 2008.

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

See also.

Spring in Autumn by Zora Cross

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Brown autumn turned to spring to-day;
   The little leaves went wild with play;
And, in and out, an August air
Between the March winds shook its hair
   And stole my heart away.

I left my quiet pansy bed,
   And, nodding to each frail, green head,
"I must go far and far from you,
To purple lakes and mountains blue,
   With young, white spring," I said.

I heard her carol merrily,
   "Ah, come with me to some charmed sea!
I know where richer lands than this
Flush sweeter 'neath the sun's red kiss.
   Come, follow, follow me!"

I ran no further than the creek,
   For there I paused, afraid to speak.
The autumn stillness everywhere
Won back my wild heart unaware
   And made me very meek.
I turned and sought my plants again,
   My autumn seedlings drenched with rain,
And sang to drown the voice of spring
That whispered in remembering
   Of other lands in vain.

Brown autumn turned to spring to-day,
   And tried to lure my heart away;
But down among the great, green trees
I heard a rush of memories,
   And could not choose but stay.

First published in The Sydney Mail, 14 April 1920

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of BiographyOld Qld Poetry

See also.

Sunshine, Drought, and Storm by E.H.L

| No TrackBacks
Far up on the height, in the tropical blaze of the noonday,
   Or 'neath shade of the pines and the solitude born of the air,
Where the white wings of birds and throb-notes of melody beat not
   In the motionless verdure of trees or the heat and the glare.

The motionless verdure of trees on the slope of the hill-side
   Throws a pendulous pall o'er the moss-covered boulder and me;
While the glitter of distant inlet my vision entrances,
   And the glint from the foam-flecked waves on the far-away sea.

Sultry the air; no cool breezes blow soft o'er the mountain,
   But the sheen of a shimmering ocean of crystalline light
Floods the peak and the plain. The wide-spreading forest and scrub-land
   Throb with tremulous poise and a lustre that dazzles the sight.

No sough from the moorland, no hum from the flower seeking bee.
   The moorland sere is afar, the last of the blossoms have fled;
The breath of a fiery December has touched them and dried them,
   Drought comes with heat, and flowers and pasture are withered and dead.

Oppressive the air grows, hazy the hills that bound the horizon;
   Mists veil the sky where glint of the sun on the ocean has been;
Mists change to slow-rising torreted ramparts, bodeful of tempest,
   Girding with vapours the sky and veiling with dimness the scene.

Whisperings come from the she-oak, murmurings soft from the pine-tree;
   Moans from the moorland, wails from dark gorges lurking beneath;
Rushes the wind with its garment of cloud-wrack sable and sombre ---
   Sulphurous mantle of vapour hiding the fire in its sheath.

Whisperings low change to wailing, murmurings deepen to moaning;
   There is swaying of branches, screaming of birds, the sudden splash of the rain;
Quivering gleam of the lightning in fitful and tremulous splendour,
   Rumble and crash of thunder, resounding again and again.

Nearer, still nearer the tumult, closer, still closer the roar;
   Surging the contest, baleful the fires that incessantly light
Lurid recesses of Hell, displacing bright mansions of Heaven,
   Or yawning abysses of darkness wrapt in the mantle of night.

Forth bursts the levin-bolt from the blackness above the pine-tops,
   And the aisles of the forest lament as the brave trees bend to their doom,
Mid the dirge of the blast and the roll of the storm fiend's chariot
   As he speeds on his wreck-strewn path through the maze of the glowering gloom.

Placid, tranquil the woodland, chequered with sunshine and shadow;
   Sweet exhalations from flowers are wafted upon the breeze;
The winds intone a paean, telling of freshness and gladness,
   Blent with the anthems of birds and rhythmical cadence of trees.

Fresh is the verdurous pasture, gladsome the ripple of brooklets,
   Purling and babbling the gentle laughter of waters that lave;
Tokens of plenitude vast pouring from bounteous Earth's bosom,
   Earth, fertile mother of fruits, bright blossoms, and branches that wave.

Such is the season of summer, charged with the storm or the drought,
   Fraught with the fate of flowers, green pastures, and cattle, and man:
Send us, beneficent God, abundant all-comforting showers;
   Grant us, O God, in the drear time of drought, release from Thy ban.

First published in The Queenslander, 7 March 1881

Note: the author of this poem is not known.

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