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David Campbell

It has a really timeless feel.

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Discipline is remembering what you want.

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That's the dirty little secret of Mormon growth. Lots of baptisms don't necessarily translate into long-term membership.

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Mothers and Daughters

The cruel girls we loved
Are over forty,
Their subtle daughters
Have stolen their beauty;

And with a blue stare
Of cool surprise,
They mock their anxious mothers
With their mothers’ eyes.

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Harry Pearce

I sat beside the red stock route
and chewed a blade of bitter grass
and saw in mirage on the plain
a bullock wagon pass.
Old Harry Pearce was with his team.
"The flies are bad," I said to him.

The leaders felt his whip, It did
me good to hear old Harry swear,
and in the heat of noon it seemed
his bullocks walked on air.
Suspended in the amber sky
they hauled the wool to Gundagai.

He walked in Time across the plain,
and old man walking on the air,
for years he wandered in my brain;
and now he lodges there.
And he may drive his cattle still
when Time with us had had his will.

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The Stockman

The sun was in the summer grass,
the Coolibahs* were twisted steel;
the stockman paused beneath their shade
and sat upon his heel,
and with the reins looped through his arm
he rolled tobacco in his palm.

His horse stood still, His cattle-dog
tongued in the shadow of the tree,
and for a moment on the plain
Time waited for the three,
and then the stockman licked his fag
and Time took up his solar swag.

I saw the stockman mount and ride,
across the mirage on the plain;
and still that timeless moment brought
fresh ripples to my brain;
it seemed in that distorting air
I saw his grandson sitting there.

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Up North

Oh, Bill and Joe to the north have gone,
A green shirt on their back;
There are not many ewes and lambs
Along Kokoda track.

There are not many ewes and lambs,
But men in single file
Like sheep along a mountain pad
Walk mile on sweating mile;

And each half-hour they change the lead,
Though I have never read
Where any fat bell-whether was
Shot, in the mountains, dead.

The only sheep they muster there
Leap through the mind at night;
'Twould be as red as marking time
To change green shirt for white.

[...] Read more

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At The Sheep-Dog Trials

What ancestors unite
Here in this red and white
Kelpie to define
His symmetry of line,

As crouched in burning dust
He halts both Time and beast?
The wethers stamp the ground,
At his will turn around.

He is of collie stock:
Austerity of rock
Has lent his mind and bone
The toughness of its stone.

And though for Border flocks
The collie and the fox
Fought tooth to tooth, they joined
And have the kelpie coined

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To The Art of Edgar Degas

Beachcomber on the shores of tears
Limning the gestures of defeat
In dancers, whores, and opera-stars –
The lonely, lighted various street

You sauntered through, oblique, perverse,
In your home territory a spy,
Accosted you and with a curse
You froze it with your Gorgon’s eye.

With what tense patience you refine
The everyness of everyday
And with free colour and a line
Make my mysteries of flaccid clay!

By what strange enterprise you live!
Edgy, insatiably alone,
You choose your tenderness to give
To showgirls whom you turn to stone –

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Men in Green

Oh, there were fifteen men in green,
Each with a tommy-gun,
Who leapt into my plane at dawn;
We rose to meet the sun.

We set our course towards the east
And climbed into the day
Till the ribbed jungle underneath
Like a giant fossil lay.

We climbed towards the distant range,
Where two white paws of cloud
Clutched at the shoulders of the pass;
The green men laughed aloud.

They did not fear the ape-like cloud
That climbed the mountain crest
And hung from ropes invisible
With lightning in its breast.

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