Poetry

"Fair Australia, Oh what a dump.
All you get to eat is crocodile's rump,
Bandicoot's brains and catfish pie.
Let me go home again before I die."

ANON, ANON - Old Bush Ballad

"Damn the teamsters, damn the track,
Damn Coolgardie, there and back,
Damn the goldfields, damn the weather,
Damn the bloody country altogether."

ANON, ANON - a Western Australian prospector's toast

"At night in silence the tears trickle down my cheek,
This cancer inside my brain is called Medulloblastoma,
In my heart I know this is God's plan for me,
Yet I didn't know if I was ready to travel this journey...

I look in the mirror and hardly recognise myself,
The person I was is no longer there, the girl looking back is someone new,
Resilience is what I need now to fight this battle,
I need to find the power to be strong, positive and courageous.
So many people are praying for and thinking of me,
I am so touched by their kindness I shed another tear,
They give me the strength to carry on even on days when all goes wrong,
My light is rekindled and I want to keep it burning brightly.

I will keep fighting as hard as I possibly can,
There are dreams I have for my future and I want to achieve them,
Cancer is a demon that tries to take away happiness,
But it won't win "

DAINERE, ANTHONEY - You Have To Go Through A Storm To Get To A Rainbow

"And sees beyond the fire, when trees are bare,
Intention, naked, in the leafless air."

DOROTHY, AUCHTERLONIE - Autumn Drought

"Let the word: Australian!
Dignify the lowliest man."

ARTHUR, BALYDON - Australian! Collected Poems

"For we have here a beautiful land that none could e'er knock down,
The brightest jewel that ever was known in dear old George's crown;
The brightest jewel that ever was known and never can be a failure.
Although the damn Labor party is doing its best to ruin Australia..."

RANDOLPH, BEDFORD - The Prize Poem

"I am ever seeking the quieter beaches.
Do not believe, in Australia, there are miles
where at dawn you will not see the 'prints -
not on the East coast, leastwise. Here reaches
of sand are scarred from daybreak, the tiles
of footprints are laid down, the dents
made by feet in the sand are there; so stale to me,
such beaches are no longer virgin to we few - we
people who do not want to meet each other, ever."

JOHN, BLIGHT - Footprints

"When sleep shuts off
the winter gale
with its freezing rain
and hail that clatters
on the iron
then silence wakes me
to a still
a softest quiet
I smile to myself
knowing through the night
it's snowing."

BOB, BROWN - Winter night at Liffey

"A billion billion frigid prisms
wait ahead
as his unfelt frozen feet
are lifted ever more slowly
through the numbing blizzard's blackness
falling ever more leaden
ever freer
deeper
ever nearer never
like a clock's tick slowing
in a locked room's unheard emptiness."

BOB, BROWN - On Cradle Mountain

"But the bush hath moods and changes,
as the seasons rise and fall,
And the men who know the bush-land
- they are loyal through it all."

THE, BULLETIN - 23 July 1892, In Defence of the Bush

"I have loved them all, the battlers, the lonely men
Who are never alone, in the beating of their hearts
Are the strong men with the sun coming up in their eyes."

DOROTHY, COADE HEWETT - My Party is the Party of Aragon

"It's a country full of old men, with thumbscrews on their hunger,
Their crosses leaning sideways in the scrub.
My cousins spit to windward, great noses blue with moonlight,
Their shoulders propping up the Kunjin pub.
Once I rode with Clancy through the wet hills of Wickepin,
By Kunjin and Corrigin with moonlight of the roofs,
And the iron shone faint and ghostly on the lonely, moonlit siding
And the salt earth rang like crystal underneath our flying hoofs."

DOROTHY, COADE HEWETT - Once I Rode with Clancy...

"And the immortal swagman goes,
Singing down the centuries,
He hangs a sheepskin on the fence,
A shadow on the bluegum trees."

DOROTHY, COADE HEWETT - Bagman's Ballad

"... laughter is lovelier than tears in bed."

DOROTHY, COADE HEWETT - Unanswered Love Letter

"The young leaves is shootin' on the trees,
The air is like a long, cool swig o' beer,
The bonzer smell of flow'rs is on the breeze,
An' 'ere's me, 'ere
Jist moochin' round like some pore, barmy coot,
Of 'ope and joy, an' forchin destichoot."

C.J., DENNIS - A Spring Song

"I think of the spot
To which I return, from which long ago I was made,
Cooma, and wonder whether it made me or not.

Man is made by all that has made the history of man,
But here the Monaro claims me; I recognise
Beyond Khancoban the place where a mind began
Able to offer itself to the galaxies."

ALEC, DERWENT HOPE - Beyond Khancoban

"The gum tree is Australian, as Aussie as can be,
And there's no more Australian than the eucalyptus tree."

FRANCIS, DUGGAN - The Gum Tree is Australian

"Superstars may come and go
But there's no other
That folks identify with their own mother,
To think there's people in this room
Who wish they'd sprung out of my womb
That's what my public means to me."

DAME EDNA , EVERAGE -

"Not very far way a number of Banksia men were sitting
in a Banksia-tree, basking in the sun and planning mischief.

'Bunch and scrunch 'im!' shouted one.
'Hit and spit 'im!' growled another.
'String and ring 'im!' snarled a third.

Then they all jumped about, grunting and chattering
and shaking the bough till the leaves rattled."

MAY, GIBBS - The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie

"

Weep not for me for Death is
but the vehicle that unites my soul
with the Creative Essence, God.
My spiritual Being, my love, is
still with you, wherever you are
until forever.
You will find me in the quiet moments
In the trees, amidst the rocks,
the cloud and beams of sunshine
indeed, everywhere for I, too, am
a part of the total essence of
creation that radiates everywhere
about you, eternally.
Life, after all, is just a
passing phase.

"

KEVIN, GILBERT - Epitaph, Black From The Edge

"I'm the tree you are me
with the land and the sea
we are one life not three
in the essence of life
we are one."

KEVIN, GILBERT - Unity, Black from the Edge

"Yea! I have lived -
Have felt the husband-kiss upon my lips
Have felt the child's mouth pull upon my breast;
Have fought Death, have toiled and taken rest,
Have sinned most human sins, have felt the whips
Where conscience struck; have drunk of life
In laughter and in song, in tears that burned,
In Hope that sang, in peace, in plenitude of strife
That germined strength; have lost, and gained,
and learned..."

DAME MARY, GILMORE - Yea I have lived

"Making love for ten thousand years on a rockledge:
The boronia springs up purple
From the stone and we lay together briefly
For as long as those two lovers."

DAVID, GORDON CAMPBELL - Ku-Ring-Gai Rock Carvings

"Australia, to the people,
Who groan in every land,
Would send a friendly greeting,
Would give a brother's hand:-
Would bid them their great miseries
Forget a little while,
And learn that in her affluent land
They may both live and smile.
...
Come then, ye sufferers of the Earth,
Australia bids you haste,
To make your homes within her wilds,
Your cities in her waste:-
Come, for here Abundance spreads
A table for the poor -
And says, in blessing o'er their heads,
Ye Mourners, mourn no more!"

HENRY, HALLORAN - Australia's Welcome

"Poor fellow me,
Poor fellow me,
My country
It gave me
All that I see,
Gifts that I see,
All that I see,
Poor fellow me.
Now I'm alone,
Now I'm alone,
Now I'm alone,
Poor fellow me,
Nothing I own,
Spirit has slown,
Poor fellow me."

WILLIAM EDWARD, HARNEY - Wanderer's Lament

"A few tin strips of fleecy cloud lies long
And motionless above the eastern steeps,
Like shreds of silver lace: till suddenly,
Out from the flushing centre to the ends
On either hand, their lustrous layers become
Dipt in all crimson streaked with pink and gold;
And then, at last, are edged as with a band
Of crystal fire."

CHARLES, HARPUR - Dawn And Sunrise In The Snowy Mountains

"Words are deed. The words we hear
May revolutionize or rear
A mighty state."

CHARLES, HARPUR - Words

"Stale is their gladness who were never sad."

CHARLES, HARPUR - Love Sonnets

"All the birds and insects keep
Where the coolest shadows sleep;
Even the busy ants are found
Resting in their pebbled mound;
Even the locust clingeth now
Silent to the barky bough:
Over hills and over plains
Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns."

CHARLES, HARPUR - A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest

"Not a sound disturbs the air,
There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods
What a mighty stillness broods!

Only there's drowsy humming
From the yon warm lagoon slow coming:
Tis the dragon-hornet - see!
All bedaubed resplendently.

O 'tis easeful here to lie
Hidden from noon's scorching eye,
In the grassy cool recess
Musing thus of quietness."

CHARLES, HARPUR - A Midsummer Noon In The Australian Forest

"I've humped my billy in all the States
With my old black billy, the best of mates.
For years I have camped, and toiled, and tramped
On roads that are rough and hilly,
With my plain and sensible,
Indispensable,
Old black billy."

EDWARD, HARRINGTON - My Old Black Bill

"Certainly the dead will be our Judges
but the unborn are assembling in the Jury Room."

KEVIN, HART - The Jury

"The racehorses assemble at the starting barrier
in all the finery of a mediaeval pageant, the jockeys
in silks like figures from a Tarot pack, the bookies
in leather and tweeds standing beside their boards
each confident that the future has been controlled."

KEVIN, HART - Flemington Racecourse

"In the space between love and sleep
when heart mourns in its prison
eyes against shoulder keep
their blood-black curtains tight.
Body rolls back like a stone,
and risen spirit walks to Easter light;
away from its tomb of bone..."

GWENDOLINE, HARWOOD - Triste, Triste

"I must in this gross darkness cherish
more than all the plenitude the hunger
that drives the spirit. Flesh must perish
yet still, tomorrow and tomorrow

be faithful to the last, an old
blind dog that knows the stairs, and stays
obedient as it climbs and suffers."

GWENDOLINE, HARWOOD - The Wine is Drunk

"No need for language, the great mirror,
when the body's genius
lights us past logic into rapture."

GWENDOLINE, HARWOOD - Oyster Cove Pastorals

"My ghost, my self, most intimate stranger
standing beneath these lyric trees
with your one wineglassful of morning
snatched from the rushing galaxies,

bright-haired and satin-lipped you offer
the youth I shall not taste again.
I know, I bear to know, your future
unlooked-for love, undreamed-of pain."

GWENDOLINE, HARWOOD - In Brisbane

"My body wears
the light and substance of the dead.
Daughters and sons of Artemis
come close, and you, my hungry geese.
Here's wheat. The living must be fed."

GWENDOLINE, HARWOOD - Oyster Cove Pastorals

"I bit the core of pain, to find
this world's true sweetness on my lips,
the virtuoso senses priced
at nothing, in one vast eclipse.
A moving fingertip sufficed
to draw love's orbit through the mind."

GWENDOLINE, HARWOOD - The Old Wife's Tale

"You once smiled a friendly smile,
Said we were kin to one another,
Thus with guile for a short while
Became to me a brother.
Then you swamped my way of gladness,
Took my children from my side,
Snapped shut the law book, oh my sadness
At Yirrakalas’ plea denied.
So, I remember Lake George hills,
The thin stick bones of people.
Sudden death, and greed that kills,
That gave you church and steeple.
I cry again for Warrarra men,
Gone from kith and kind,
And I wondered when I would find a pen
To probe your freckled mind.
I mourned again for the Murray tribe,
Gone too without a trace.
I thought of the soldier’s diatribe,
The smile on the governor’s face.
You murdered me with rope, with gun
The massacre of my enclave,
You buried me deep on McLarty’s run
Flung into a common grave.

ZAHNEE, HAUPT - To the Others

"It's time.
Time to open the door to my heart
and let in the angel of love.
Time to love again.
Time to think about things
yet to be done.
Time to dream dreams
yet to be won.
In my heart I know...
the best is yet to come!"

SARA, HENDERSON - The Strength of our Dreams

"The thylacine is now so rare,
It maybe isn't even there.
Or if it is, it might well think
It's safer to pretend extinct."

JOHN, HEPWORTH - The Tasmanian Tiger

"There are three stages of history:
When the stars rule men, this is religion
When men rule men, this is politics;
And when men rule machines, this is anarchy..."

HARRY, HOOTON - Law and Disorder

"Every man is inferior to every other man - in some respects;
And every man is superior to every other man - in other respects.
We can't live without holding someone else up,
And we can't live without someone holding us up.
One man is just as good as another, in fact better."

HARRY, HOOTON - It is Great to be Alive

"I think that I could never spy
A poem as lovely as a pie
A banquet in a single course
Blushing with red tomato sauce
A pie whose crust is oven kissed
Whose gravy scalds the eater's wrist
The pastie and the sausage roll
Have not thy brown mysterious soul
The dark hues aborigine
Is less indigenous than thee;
As round and rich as Zara
As tasteful as Patrick White
With a glass of purple para
You're the great Australian bite."

BARRY, HUMPHRIES - Piece in the Form of a Meat Pie

"All the unhallowed beauty I have found;
All free - discordant shrills
and form-defying wonders above ground,
like writhen trees with draggled foliage
struggling along the courses of wayback creeks;
scarlet - and - green
sky - streaking parrot - fires with parrot shrieks
echo - shattering the shoulders of the hills;
and desert - sunset - rage
Rage for my mind, be clamant, do not cease
you are my holiest habitat of peace."

REX, INGAMELLS - Outback

"And sometimes lying there under the night,
wet by a passing shower, we see emerge
from milky cloud, a blown moon in full flight,
then suddenly the trees on either edge,

Stringy and scribbly and apple box
burn with the voltage of a million live
as though the stars had flown them in flocks
singing and sighing, glittering in the leaves."

FRANK, KELLAWAY - Identifications

"Grey winter hath gone like a wearisome guest,
And, behold for repayment
September comes in with the wind of the west
And the spring in her raiment...

O season of changes - of shadow and shine -
September the splendid!"

HENRY, KENDALL - Spring

"Though you tramp the wide land over,
Though you sail in many climes,
There is nothing half so precious
As the portrait of old times;

Of our Grandfather and Granny
In the clothes that then were worn;
Of the house that knew our boyhood,
Or the hut where we were born.

Of our parent, stiff and staring,
In the portrait-taker's den,
On the morning of their wedding -
God, they've seen some times since then!

O they wake the dead within us,
And they bring us back at last
To the courage of our fathers
And the best part of the past."

HENRY, LAWSON - Old Portraits

"They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone that want is here a stranger, and that misery's unknown; I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor? "

HENRY, LAWSON - Faces in the Street

"I wrote for her, I fought for her,
And when at last I lie,
Then who, to wear the wattle, has
A better right than I?"

HENRY, LAWSON - The Wattle

"Though poor and in trouble I wander alone,
With a rebel cockade in my hat;
Though friends may desert me, and kindred disown,
My country will never do that!
You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose,
Or the three in a bunch if you will;
But I know of a country that gathered all those,
And I love the great land where the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle bough blooms on the hill."

HENRY, LAWSON - Waratah And Wattle

"Australia! Australia! so fair to behold -
While the blue sky is arching above;
The stranger should never have need to be told,
That the Wattle-bloom means that her heart is of gold,
And the Waratah's red with her love."

HENRY, LAWSON - Waratah and Wattle

"For the sons of all Australia, they were born to conquer fate -
And, where charity and friendship are sincere,
Where sinner is a brother, and a stranger is a mate,
There the future of a nation is written clear."

HENRY, LAWSON -

"I saw it in the days gone by,
When the dead girl lay at rest,
And the wattle and the native rose
We placed upon her breast.

I saw it long ago
(And I've seen strong men die),
And who, to wear the wattle,
Hath better right than I?

I've fought it through the world since then,
And seen the best and worst,
But always in the lands of men
I held Australia first."

HENRY, LAWSON - The Wattle

"Let me slumber in the hollow where the wattle
blossoms wave,
With never stone or rail to fence my bed:
Should the sturdy station children pull the bush
flowers on my grave,
I may chance to hear them romping overhead."

ADAM, LINDSAY GORDON - The Sick Stock Rider

"Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
KINDNESS in another's trouble,
COURAGE in your own."

ADAM, LINDSAY GORDON - Ye Wearie Wayfarer

"This is the gentlest season of the year.
From mists of pearl and gold
The slow sweet hours unfold
To crystal colours, still
As a glass, but not so chill.

All birds speak softly in the Autumn bush.
One bellbird from the deep
Like a call heard in sleep
Chimes: in the bronze-gold gloom
Cool greenhood orchids bloom.

This is the kindliest season of the year.
The sun's gold arrows all
Have lost their barbs: thick fall
The berries ripe, and still
The birds may have their fill.

Now peace and plenteousness have spread their wings
After the blessed rains
On Autumn's hills and plains;
We too give thanks and bless
This southland's graciousness."

DOROTHEA, MACKELLAR - Australian Autumn

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

DOROTHEA, MACKELLAR - My Country

"This is not easy to understand
For you that come from a distant land
Where all thecolours are low in pitch
Deep purples, emeralds deep and rich
Where autumn's flaming and summer's green
Here is a beauty you have not seen.

Sugar-gum boles flushed to peach-blow pink;
Blue-gums, tall at the clearing's brink;
Ivory pillars, their smooth fine slope
Dappled with delicate heliotrope;
Grey of the twisted mulga-roots;
Golden-bronze of the budding shoots;
Tints of the lichens that cling and spread,
Nile-green, primrose, and palest red . ..

Sheen of the bronze-wing; blue of the crane;
Fawn and pearl of the lyrebird's train,
Cream of the plover; grey of the dove -
These are the hues of the land I love."

DOROTHEA, MACKELLAR - Colours of Light

"Somewhere between the job,
the television trance,
the few at five, the circumstance,
digressed a deeper bloke
who suffered life like some bad joke
and came to recognise his dreams
for what they were: abstract extremes
Against the wind his head was bent.
I guess you'd say: bad management."

ERIC, MACKENZIE - Death of a Builder's Labourer

"Gallipoli, how many are the graves
That in your barren furrows we have sown;
The broken rifle fashioned to a cross
For witness that the Lord may know his Own!"

ELLA, MCFADYEN - Crosses on Gallipoli

"Unto Thy Mercy we commit
The blossom of our nationhood
Behold how young and beautiful!
Oh, guide them as it seemeth good."

ELLA, MCFADYEN - A Prayer in War

"Inefficiency's the strength of socialism
it burns up Earth's resources slower -
"We won't see full employment again;
we've priced it away to the underpaid
in the police states and the bare-arse countries.
Work's emigrating now, out of our world -
"In that other Depression there was some kindness;
this one's like fellows crossing a plain
under sniper fire. One here, one there
goes down with the boat and colour TV
and he's ignored, or we're told to kick him -
"Unemployment's not allowed under socialism."

LES, MURRAY - The Boys who Stole the Funeral

"Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, planets, rivers time
know nothing else. They express it
moment by moment as the universe.
"

LES , MURRAY - The Meaning of Existence, Poems the Size of Photographs

"The scrubs are gone, the hunting and laughter.
The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place.
The bora ring is gone.
The corroboree is gone.
And we are going."

OODGEROO, NOONUCCAL - We Are Going

"It is Australian innocence to love
The naturally excessive and be proud
Of a thoroughbred gelding who ran fast."

PETER, PORTER - Phar Lap in the Melbourne Museum

"A young man in a young land, he
Dreams noble dreams of youth;
And, foremost in the van of years,
He sows the seeds of truth."

RODERIC, QUINN - The Australian

"This time I hear dingo
always at the edges slinking away."

JENNIFER, RANKIN - Littorals

"Black cockatoo
you have grafted yourself onto that tree

Yesterday you staked out your claim in the air.
Today you survey it."

JENNIFER, RANKIN - Black Cockatoo

"Sacred to Mirth let this Day be;
Let Music's sweetest Melody
Re-echo thro' the Vales
That gave Humanity's kind Son,
Array'd in Laurels he had won,
Safe wafted by the Gales.

See now the Sun shine on his Cot,
Whose Life has been Misfortune's Lot,
Reduc'd to Wretchedness.
The little Prattlers round him play,
And lisp that on this happy Day
The Friend came of Distress.

The woe-worn Wretch, from distant Shores,
Before thee out his Sufferings pours,
Thou hear'st his piteous Tale:
Thy ready Hand his Wants supply,
And Tears of Joy bedew his Eye,
Whilst Sympathy prevail."

MICHAEL MASSEY, ROBINSON - An Ode

"I write and write
Of patriarchy and oppression
The independent voice to discern
And from experience to learn

I write and write
Of the personal and political
A woman's life to portray
Cultural insights to convey."

LOULA, RODOPOULOS -

"Beauty imposes reverence in the Spring,
Grave as the urge within the honeybuds,
It wounds us as we sing.

Beauty is joy that stays not overlong.
Clad in the magic of sincerities,
It rides up in a song.

Beauty imposes chastenings on the heart,
Grave as the birds in last solemnities
Assembling to depart."

JOHN, SHAW NEILSON - Beauty Imposes

"I love a sunburnt kingdom
A land of sheepish brains
Of rugged online retail
Of banks and credit drains

I love her Chinese apples
Her flooding foreign debt
Her shrinking sovereign ownership
Why change her style just yet?"

JOHN, SPOONER - My Lifestyle

"The world has many festivals
But still there's none been found
To rival Melbourne's springtime
When Cup Day comes around.
Yes Melbourne in the springtime,
Australia shows the way,
They run the greatest race on earth
In Melbourne on Cup Day."

RICHARD, TREMBATH - Cup Day

"Through the mist of early morning
They come striding round the track,
Nostrils flared and flanks a'foaming,
Chestnut, brown and black,
But one among them stands out,
A mighty chestnut horse,
Whose name became a household word
And changed our history's course.

CHORUS:
Phar Lap means 'lightning'
He won the Melbourne Cup
Way back in nineteen-thirty
With jockey Jim Pike up,
Phar Lap means 'lightning'
And stamina and speed,
Australia salutes you
The finest of the breed.
"

RICHARD, TREMBATH - Phar Lap

"Australians love a gamble
And going to the trots,
They love to back a winner
No matter what the odds,
They love to find an idol,
A mighty superhorse,
And they all love a champion
Like Paleface Adios."

RICHARD, TREMBATH - Paleface Adios

"What is success? Is it the world's applause
Sometimes the world applauds with little cause
Is it then, titles gained and money made?
No! It means something more than trade.
Success is always something others grudge
And so it follows you must be your judge.
You've won success if, when you've run your race
You leave the world a slightly better place;
If looking back through years of toil and strife
You feel you've really made the most of life..."

ERNEST, WATT -

"O, I love to be by the Bindi, where the fragrant pastures are,
And the Tambo to his bosom takes the trembling Evening Star -
Just to hear the magpie's warble in the blue-gums on the hill,
When the frail green flower of twilight in the sky is lingering still."

FRANK, WILLIAMSON - The Magpie's Song

"Here in the slack of night
the tree breathes honey and moonlight.
Here in the blackened yard
smoke and time and use have marred.
leaning from that fantan gloom
the bent tree is heavy in bloom."

JUDITH, WRIGHT - Camphor Laurel

"Love is a very important part of life, and you have to give in to it. But after a while it ceases to be such an important force in life, and that's the time when you should give in to age and stop doing it, if you don't have the impulse any more."

JUDITH, WRIGHT -

"Wisdom can see the red, the rose,
the stained and sculptured curve of grey,
the charcoal scars of fire, and see
around that living tower of tree
the hermit tatters of old bark
split down and strip to end the season;
and can be quiet and not look
for reasons past the edge of reason."

JUDITH, WRIGHT - Gum-Trees Stripping

"I think through life you change all the time. Sometimes you know you're changing, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you just find that something isn't there any longer that was there. It isn't sad. It's just right."

JUDITH, WRIGHT -

"That impulse I think is a form of love. Poetry is something that comes to you, rather than your having to work out its form beforehand."

JUDITH, WRIGHT -