January 26th

Bush Poetry



My Country
Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but I cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding plains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold rush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back three-fold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze ...

A opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.



The Vagabond
Henry Lawson

Once a jolly swagman camped by a Billabong
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

Down come a jumbuck to drink at the water hole
Up jumped a swagman and grabbed him in glee
And he sang as he stowed him away in his tucker bag
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me'".

Up rode the Squatter a riding his thoroughbred
Up rode the Trooper - one, two, three
"Where's that jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?",
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me".

But the swagman he up and jumped in the water hole
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree,
And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the Billabong,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"