My Country by Dorothea Mackellar

Acrylic Painting Australian flag over uluru by PeterKraayvanger - Free Creative Commons Public Domain Image from Pixabay

My Country

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 cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged 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! Continue reading

A Bush Christening By Banjo Patterson

abushchristening

A Bush Christening

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross’d ‘cept by folk that are lost,
One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten year old lad,
Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
For the youngster had never been christened. Continue reading

Phar Lap In The Melbourne Museum by Peter Porter

Unfortunately, this poem is more recent than I had realised and is still under copyright. However, it can be read at the Australian Poetry Library, where you can also download it for a small (around $2) fee. I highly recommend taking the time to read it. It is an excellent piece.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

christmas-carolers

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too–
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes–how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight–
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

— Clement Clark Moore

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/twas-the-night-before-christmas-by-clement-clarke-moore#ixzz3toyKX4B2

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

two-roads-diverged-marissa-cecil

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost

Great poet discovered

Professor: ‘Did you write this poem without any outside help?’
Student: ‘I did.’
Professor: ‘To think I would be lucky enough to have Lord Byron in my class!’

— Herbert V Prochnow & Herbert V Prochnow Jr. in Jokes, Quotes & One Liners Volume 2

The Bushman’s Farewell to Queensland

Queensland, thou art a land of pests;
Fo flies and fleas one never rests.
E’en now mosquitos round me revel —
In fact they are the very devil.
Sandflies and hornets just as bad —
They nearly drive a fellow mad;
With scorpion and centipede
And stinging ants of every breed;
Fever and ague, with the shakes,
Tarantulas and poisonous snakes;
Iguanas, lizards, cockatoos,
Bushrangers and jackeroos;
Bandicoots and swarms of rats,
Bulldog ants and native cats;
Stunted timber, thirsty plains,
Parched-up deserts, scanty rains;
There’s rivers here you can’t sail ships on
There’s native women without shifts on;
There’s humpies, huts, and wooden houses,
And native men who don’t wear trousers;
There’s Barcoo rot and sandy-blight,
There’s dingoes howling all the night;
There’s curlew’s wail, and croaking frogs,
There’s savage blacks and native dogs;
There’s scentless flowers and stinging trees,
There’s poisonous grass and darling peas
Which drive the cattle raving mad,
Make sheep and horses just as bad;
And then it never rains in reason —
There’s drought one year and flood next season,
Which sweep the squatters’ sheep away
And then there is the devil to pay.
To stay in thee, O land of mutton,
I would not give a single button,
But bid thee now a long farewell,
Thou scorching, sunburnt land of hell!

— Anon. taken from Bill Wannan’s Come in Spinner

The Italian Cocky’s Lament

Me blooda full of da Queensland,
Your country verra dry;
Me never maka no fortune
No matter how me try.

Banana getta da buncha top,
Tomato getta da blight;
Cabbage getta da avis
He looka da rotten sight.

Grub he eata da peanut,
I losa da crop of corn;
Cockatoo he eata da crop
At night and early morn.

One week verra cold,
Da next week verra hot:
Den you getta da thunderstorm
And drowna da bloody lot.

Someone doctor my red bull,
Maka him verra sick:
Cow she kicka da bucket, too,
Too much da cattle tick.

Just den I getta da cart horse,
I call ‘im Star d’ Stripes:
Only drive him two time twice,
Den da cussa getta da gripes.

I getta dam disgusted,
I gonna maka da tracks,
When da Labour Party write to me
Abouta da income tax.

Dey writa da nasty letter
To givva da man da fright,
So I writa back to tell ‘im
Da money blooda tight.

Shire Council writa too,
Dey sticka up da rate:
So I writa back to tell ‘im
To putta ‘im on da slate.

Now watta in hell to grin about,
‘Tain’t no time to laugh —
Your country blooda rotten
No doubt in more than half.

I go up to da auctioneer,
And tella him dis yarn:
I hope da cripes you blooda quick
To sella da rotten farm.

I mortgage every blooda thing
To da Agricultural Bank…
Twenty year in Quuensland
An’ I drawa da blooda blank.

— Mr. Matt Ferris in Bill Wannan’s Come in Spinner

A toast

Now Lois likes his native wine,
And Otto likes his beer;
The Pommy goes for half and half
Because it gives him cheer,

While Angus likes his whisky neat,
And Paddy likes his tot —
The Aussie has no drink at all:
He likes the bloody lot!

— Stan Wakefield in Bill Wannan’s Come in Spinner

Cats Creep the Fire to Art by Matthew Ward

Cats Creep the Fire to Art

Opening Sentence: Slit scars across your wrists must mean you tried. Synopsis: N/A Genre: Poetry Rating: @@@@ Pages: 132 BCID: xxx-6265782 ISBN: 978-1-934209-22-6 Year: 2008 Format: Paperback Comments: Cats Creep the Fire to Art is a collection of the works … Continue reading

‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen

Remembrance Arch Dunedin - Otago Boys' High Sc...

Remembrance Arch Dunedin – Otago Boys’ High School war memorial “Dulce et decorum est Pro patria. mori” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.*

* This translates approximately as: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”, “It is noble and glorious to die for your fatherland.” or “It is beautiful and honourable to die for your fatherland.”

Buffalo Dusk by Carl Sandburg

English: Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), Thai...

The buffaloes are gone.
And those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
Those who saw the buffaloes by thousands and how they
pawed the prairie sod into dust with their hoofs,
their great heads down pawing on in a great pageant
of dusk,
Those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
And the buffaloes are gone.

For the Fallen

Portrait of Laurence Binyon by William Strang

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Please take time out today to give thanks to those who have served our country, and those who are still serving. Please take time to remember and mourn those who never returned.

Lest We Forget