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Henry Mackenzie Green

Cunningham's Gap

As I came over Cunningham's Gap
a skin of time peeled off the map
The fern's green ocean overflowed
the hard black surface of the road
and lapped the wheel rims of the dray
and the sweating bullocks where they lay,
and washed the car out of today.
A cloud of cockatoos, snow on the hill
shrieked out of distance and were still.
Cedar, sassafras, bunya pine,
stinging nettle and lawyer-vine
baffled my passage and blocked my sight
as I swarmed the hummocks and climbed the height.
But long months' labour through wood and waste
dropped from my bones as I gazed at last.
round to round, to the rim of the sun,
on a world of richness not yet won;
broad fat pastures and rolling downs,
Wheat fields and Orchards, farms and towns,
ghosts of the future surged at the gate

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Bush Goblins

The Locust drones along the drowsy noon,
The brown bee lingers in the yellow foam,
Blossom on blossom searching deep, but soon
Slides heavy-wingèd home.

The vacant air, half visible, complains
All overburdened of its noontide hour;
Sound after sound in heavy silence wanes
At the strong sun’s burning power.

Let the strong sun burn down the barren plain
And scour the empty heaven, and twist the air
To filmiest flickerings, o’er us in vain
His hollow vault doth glare.

For us gnarled boughs and massive boles o’ershade,
And tall bulrushes guard us with green spears
From the grim noon; our dewy jewelled glade
Never a footstep nears.

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