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Dame Mary Gilmore

Nationality

I have grown past hate and bitterness,
I see the world as one;
But though I can no longer hate,
My son is still my son.

All men at God's round table sit,
and all men must be fed;
But this loaf in my hand,
This loaf is my son's bread.

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O Singer in Brown

O, singer in brown!
O, bird o' th' morn!
O, heart of delight
In th' deep o' th' thorn!

Glad is thy song
Thou joy o' th' morn,
Thou palpitant throat
In the heart o' th' thorn!

Thy song of the nest,
O, sweet o' th' morn!
A nest and an egg
In the thick o' th' thorn.

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The Waradgery Tribe

Harried we were, and spent,
broken and falling,
ere as the cranes we went,
crying and calling.

Summer shall see the bird
backward returning;
never shall there be heard
those, who went yearning.

Emptied of us the land;
ghostly our going;
fallen like spears the hand
dropped in the throwing.

We are the lost who went,
like the cranes, crying;
hunted, lonely and spent
broken and dying.

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Old Botany Bay

"I'm old
Botany Bay;
stiff in the joints,
little to say.

I am he
who paved the way,
that you might walk
at your ease to-day;

I was the conscript
sent to hell
to make in the desert
the living well;

I bore the heat,
I blazed the track-
furrowed and bloody
upon my back.

[...] Read more

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Sweethearts

IT’S gettin’ bits o’ posies,
’N’ feelin’ mighty good;
A-thrillin’ ’cause she loves you,
An’ wond’rin’ why she should;

An’ stoppin’ sort o’ sudden,
Because you’re full o’ thought;
An’ quick with res’less feelin’s
That make life seem too short!

It’s feelin’ ’s if she’d loved you
Before the world was made;
As if she still would love you,
When all our debts are paid;

As if there’s nothin’ mattered,
As if the world was good,
As if the Lord was lookin’,
An’ sort o’ understood.

[...] Read more

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The First Thrush

Though leaves have fallen long since,
The wagtails flirt and flit,
Glad in the morning sun;
While, on the knotted quince,
The dewdrops, pearled on it,
Bead to a little run. . . .

Soft as a breathing air
There came a lovely sound
Out of the branches bare;
So rich it was, and round,
Sense stood, in listening bound,
Stilled to its sweetness there!
It was the thrush's note,

That seemed as though his heart
On some loved thing did dote;
As though he yearned apart,
Knowing some hidden smart,
Pain in the long sweet rote.

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A Little Ghost

The moonlight flutters from the sky
To meet her at the door,
A little ghost, whose steps have passed
Across the creaking floor.

And rustling vines that lightly tap
Against the window-pane,
Throw shadows on the white-washed walls
To blot them out again.

The moonlight leads her as she goes
Across a narrow plain,
By all the old, familiar ways
That know her steps again.

And through the scrub it leads her on
And brings her to the creek,
But by the broken dam she stops
And seems as she would speak.

[...] Read more

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No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest

Sons of the mountains of Scotland,
Welshmen of coomb and defile,
Breed of the moors of England,
Children of Erin's green isle,
We stand four square to the tempest,
Whatever the battering hail-
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

Our women shall walk in honour,
Our children shall know no chain,
This land, that is ours forever,
The invader shall strike at in vain.
Anzac!...Tobruk!...and Kokoda!...
Could ever the old blood fail?
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

So hail-fellow-met we muster,
And hail-fellow-met fall in,

[...] Read more

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Eve- Song

I span and Eve span
A thread to bind the heart of man;
But the heart of man was a wandering thing
That came and went with little to bring:
Nothing he minded what we made,
As here he loitered, and there he stayed.
I span and Eve span
A thread to bind the heart of man;
But the more we span the more we found
It wasn't his heart but ours we bound.
For children gathered about our knees:
The thread was a chain that stole our ease.
And one of us learned in our children's eyes
That more than man was love and prize.
But deep in the heart of one of us lay
A root of loss and hidden dismay.

He said he was strong. He had no strength
But that which comes of breadth and length.
He said he was fond. But his fondness proved

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Pejar Creek

Deep in the meadow grass
Easy stand the cattle,
Lightly lock the young bulls
In a mimic battle,
Pride gathers with each shock,
Every break and rally -
That’s where the Pejar runs,

Runs like a slip of silver through the valley.
Softly as a thrush sings
In the morning hushes,
Softly sing the waters
Round the reedy rushes,
Softly at the sand-bar,
Softly at the sally -
That’s where the Pejar runs,
Runs like a slip of silver through the valley.

Where awakes the morning
To dapple all the hills,

[...] Read more

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