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Mabel Forrest

The Lonely Woman

WHERE the ironbarks are hanging leaves disconsolate and pale,
Where the wild vines o’er the ranges their spilt cream of blossom trail,
By the door of the bark humpey, by the rotting blood-wood gates,
On the river-bound selection, there a lonely woman waits,
Waits and watches gilded sunrise glow behind the mountain peak,
Hears the water hens’ shrill piping, in the rushes by the creek,
And by the sullen stormy sunsets, when the anxious cattle call,
Sees the everlasting gum-trees closing round her like a wall.
With the hunger of her bosom notes the wild birds seek their mates,
All alone and heavy-hearted, there the lonely woman waits.

Where the tall brown city buildings loom against a cloud-flecked sky,
Where along the curving tramlines brightly varnished cars rush by,
Where the call of petty traders echoes down the dusty street,
And forever comes the beating of the many passing feet,
Where the bamboo reeds are whispering by the green park’s iron gates,
By the muslin-curtained window, there a lonely woman waits.

Where the white caps lash the sea-wall, and the great waves thunder by,
Where the grey rains sweep the beaches underneath a sodden sky,

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Boy-Dreams

I was a Pirate once,
A blustering fellow with scarlet sash,
A ready cutlass and language rash;
From a ship with a rum-filled water-tank
I made the enemy walk the plank;
I marooned a man on an island bare,
And seized his wife by her long, dark hair;
Took treasure, such heaps of it!—wealth untold—
Bright bars of silver and chunks of gold!
Till my ship was choked to the decks with pelf,
And no one dare touch it except myself
And my black flag waved to the tearing breeze,
And I was the terror of all the seas!
I was a Fairy once.
I swung in the bows of the silky oak,
And the harebells rang to the words I spoke,
And my wings were fashioned of silver gauze,
And I knew no grief and no human laws.
And I lived where the laces of green leaves sway.
And my life was one long, long holiday.

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