Poem – A Fair Exchange

Would you be much impressed, my dear,
Now you’ve adopted shorts,
If males like me came dressed, my dear,
In skirts, to divers sports?
With gussets, flares and pleats and things
Like that, we’d give our fancy wings
To grace the links and courts.

You should not worry very much,
Since male attire you choose,
If, with a chic Parisian touch
And taste in cut and hues,
We garbed ourselves, from neck to knees,
In crepe de chine or ‘summer breeze’
Of pretty pinks and blues.

Would frills and flounces seem absurd
Upon the manly form?
I don’t see why, upon my word,
Such gads, should raise a storm
Of ridicule. And, if they do,
Scorn coming from one garbed like you
Is really rather warm.

Think the position out, my dear,
And be consistent, please.
And, while you dash about, my dear,
In pants shorn to the knees,
You’re drawing from the normal male
The same loud laugh with which you’d hail
A man in fripperies.

Poem – Autumn Interlude

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week,
To blooms, and to things like these, for Winter bleak
Was shouting loud from the hills, and flinging high
His gossamer net that fills frail Autumn’s sky.
So I said goodbye to the bees; for I knew that soon
I should bask no more ‘neath the trees on some high noon
And hark to the drowsy hum close overhead.
For the cold and rain must come, now Summer’s dead.

So I wallowed a while in woe and wooed unease;
And I rather liked it so; for it seemed to please
Some clamoring inner urge – some need apart,
And I felt self-pity surge, here, in my heart
As I said goodbye to the bees, my tireless friends
Who toil mid the flowers and the trees till daylight ends
Who toil in the sun, yet seem to find no irk,
While I loll in the shade and dream; for I do love work.

Ah, fate and the falling leaf! How dear is woe.
How subtly sweet is grief (Synthetic). So
I said goodbye to the bees; and then I wrote
This crown of threhodies, while in my throat
I choked back many a sob and salt tears spent.
But I felt I’d done my job, and was content.
For I’d penned my piece to the bees – the poet’s tosh
Of the Autumn’s drear unease. Ah, me! Oh, gosh!

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week….
Then the tempest shook the trees, the swollen creek
Went thundering down to the plain, the wind shrieked past,
And the cold, and the wet, wet rain were here at last….
Then, a hot sun, scorning rules, shone forth, alack!
And those blundering, blithering fools, the bees came back,
Humming a song inance in the rain-washed trees. . . .
Now it’s all to do again. . . . Oh, blast the bees!

Poem – The Lips Of Ages

Down thro’ the ages these same sticks
Have played on man their knavish tricks.
Down thro’ the ages these false lips
Have been as blessings or as whips
To scourge poor man to actions rash
In waging wars or wasting cash.
Down thro’ the years, when Adam grieves,
Look to those painted lips of Eve’s.

Once, modesty suggested stealth
In simulating glowing health;
But now, alas, no shame restrains
Toilets performed in trams, in trains,
At table; for these candid days
Make nothing of the frank displays
Of carmine, lard and lanoline
To make plain Jane a beauteous queen.

Down thro’ the ages pig and sheep
Have tribute paid that men might weep
Or laugh or love or go quite mad
Because of lips in grease-paint clad.
Down thro’ the years, when heroes fall
Look not for mortal wound at all
Seek on his brow the thin red line
Of carmined lips – Eve’s fatal sign.

Poem – One Dull Man

 

Why did you play your spade in there? (said she).
I can’t think why you don’t take care (said she).
You fuss and fiddle with every card
As tho’ you found the game too hard
You hung on to your trumps until
They caught you napping. Really, Will,
You think and hesitate so long;
Then in the end you play it wrong.
Why, you can’t even call your hand.
You men! I cannot understand.
You are so stupid, dull and dense.
The game requires just common-sense.
But Bridge for you holds little gain:
Yet you’re supposed to have a brain (said she).

Tired? You? I hope I am no cat (said she)
But I must say I do like that (said she)
What about me? You go to town,
And gossip there with Smith and Brown.
And go to lunch and have a drink,
Yet in the evening you can’t think.
What about me? Your life’s the best.
Why should you crave for so much rest?
Ask any doctor. He will say
A business man should always play.
You should play more. You know you should.
A change of occupation’s good.
Yet, when I ask you to go out,
You say you’re tired and moon about.
What about me? Do I complain?
Why, it’s a wonder I keep sane
With all the dull monotony
That this existence holds for me.
You’ll tell me that I’m lazy soon.
Why, I played all the afternoon! (said she).

Did you, my dear? I didn’t know (said he).
Well, I suppose I must be slow (said he).
Yes, slow and dull. Again you’re right –
You always are . . .Heigh, ho! . . . Good night (said he).

Poem – The Alcoholic Albatross

Brothers, what are we to think
When we muse upon strong drink?
Is it bad or is it good?
Is it poison or is it food?

Albatrosses, so say some,
Find great benefit in rum,
And, in gratitude for nips,
Bring fair winds to troubled ships.

Others say the cocktail shaker
Is a noted trouble maker;
And declare that men stir up
Woe in every claret-cup.

But, so far as I’m concerned,
I may say I’ve never learned
Whether alcohol, in place,
Benefits the human race.

Take your choice. If you should think
Drink is good, why, have a drink;
But, if you are at a loss,
Give it to some albatross.

Poem – The Lost Drink

I had spent the night in the watch-house —
My head was the size of three —
So I went and asked the chemist
To fix up a drink for me;
And he brewed it from various bottles
With soda and plenty of ice,
With something that smelt like lemon,
And something that seemed like spice.
It fell on my parching palate
Like the dew on a sunbaked plain,
And my system began to flourish
Like the grass in the soft spring rain;
It wandered throughout my being,
Suffusing my soul with rest,
And I felt as I “scoffed” that liquid
That life had a new-found zest.

I have been on the razzle-dazzle
Full many a time since then
But I never could get the chemist
To brew me that drink again.
He says he’s forgotten the notion —
‘Twas only by chance it came —
He’s tried me with various liquids
But oh! they are not the same.

We have sought, but we sought it vainly,
That one lost drink divine;
We have sampled his various bottles,
But somehow they don’t combine:
Yet I know when I cross the River
And stand on the Golden Shore
I shall meet with an angel chemist
To brew me that drink once more.

Poem – Our Mat

It came from the prison this morning,
Close-twisted, neat-lettered, and flat;
It lies the hall doorway adorning,
A very good style of a mat.

Prison-made! how the spirit is moven
As we think of its story of dread —
What wiles of the wicked are woven
And spun in its intricate thread!

The letters are new, neat and nobby,
Suggesting a masterly hand —
Was it Sikes, who half-murdered the bobby,
That put the neat D on the “and”?

Some banker found guilty of laches —
It’s always called laches, you know —
Had Holt any hand in those Hs?
Did Bertrand illumine that O?

That T has a look of the gallows,
That A’s a triangle, I guess;
Was it one of the Mount Rennie fellows
Who twisted the strands of the S?

Was it made by some “highly connected”,
Who is doing his spell “on his head”,
Or some wretched woman detected
In stealing her children some bread?

Does it speak of a bitter repentance
For the crime that so easily came?
Of the wearisome length of the sentence,
Of the sin, and the sorrow, and shame?

A mat! I should call it a sermon
On sin, to all sinners addressed;
It would take a keen judge to determine
Whether writer or reader is best.

Though the doorway be hard as a pavestone,
I rather would use it than that —
I’d as soon wipe my boots on a gravestone,
As I would on that Darlinghurst mat!

Poem – Driver Smith

Twas Driver Smith of Battery A was anxious to see a fight;
He thought of the Transvaal all the day, he thought of it all the night —
“Well, if the battery’s left behind, I’ll go to the war,” says he,
“I’ll go a-driving and ambulance in the ranks of the A.M.C.
“I’m fairly sick of these here parades — it’s want of a change that kills —
A-charging the Randwick Rifle Range and aiming at Surry Hills.
And I think if I go with the ambulance I’m certain to find a show,
For they have to send the Medical men wherever the troops can go.

“Wherever the rifle bullets flash and the Maxims raise a din,
It’s here you’ll find the Medical men a-raking the wounded in —
A-raking ’em in like human flies — and a driver smart like me
Will find some scope for his extra skill in the ranks of the A.M.C.”

So Driver Smith he went to war a-cracking his driver’s whip,
From ambulance to collecting base they showed him his regular trip.
And he said to the boys that were marching past, as he gave his whip a crack,
“You’ll walk yourselves to the fight,” says he — “Lord spare me, I’ll drive you back.”

Now the fight went on in the Transvaal hills for the half of a day or more,
And Driver Smith he worked his trip — all aboard for the seat of war!
He took his load from the stretcher men and hurried ’em homeward fast
Till he heard a sound that he knew full well — a battery rolling past.

He heard the clink of the leading chains and the roll of the guns behind —
He heard the crack of the drivers’ whips, and he says to ’em, “Strike me blind,
I’ll miss me trip with this ambulance, although I don’t care to shirk,
But I’ll take the car off the line today and follow the guns at work.”

Then up the Battery Colonel came a-cursing ’em black in the face.
“Sit down and shift ‘e,, you drivers there, and gallop ’em into place.”
So off the Battery rolled and swung, a-going a merry dance,
And holding his own with the leading gun goes Smith with his ambulance.

They opened fire on the mountain side, a-peppering by and large,
When over the hill above their flank the Boers came down at the charge;
They rushed the guns with a daring rush, a-volleying left and right,
And Driver Smith and his ambulance moved up to the edge of the fight.

The gunners stuck to their guns like men, and fought as the wild cats fight,
For a Battery man don’t leave his gun with ever a hope in sight;
But the bullets sang and the Mausers cracked and the Battery men gave away,
Till Driver Smith with his ambulance drove into the thick of the fray.

He saw the head of the Transvaal troop a-thundering to and fro,
A hard old face with a monkey beard — a face that he seemed to know;
“Now who’s that leader?” said Driver Smith. “I’ve seen him before today.
Why, bless my heart, but it’s Kruger’s self,” and he jumped for him straight away.

He collared old Kruger round the waist and hustled him into the van.
It wasn’t according to stretcher drill for raising a wounded man;
But he forced him in and said, “All aboard, we’re off for a little ride,
And you’ll have the car to yourself,” says he, “I reckon we’re full inside.”

He wheeled his team on the mountain side and set ’em a merry pace,
A-galloping over the rocks and stones, and a lot of the Boers gave chase;
Bur Driver Smith had a fairish start, and he said to the Boers, “Good-day,
You have Buckley’s chance for to catch a man that was trained in Battery A.”

He drove his team to the hospital bed and said to the P.M.O.,
“Beg pardon, sir, but I missed the trip, mistaking the way to go;
And Kruger came to the ambulance and asked could we spare a bed,
So I fetched him here, and we’ll take him home to show for a bob a head.”

So the word went round to the English troops to say they need fight no more,
For Driver Smith with his ambulance had ended the blooming war.
And in London now at the music halls he’s starring it every night,
And drawing a hundred pounds a week to tell how he won the fight.

Poem – Hard Luck

I left the course, and by my side
There walked a ruined tout —
A hungry creature, evil-eyed,
Who poured this story out.
“You see,” he said, “there came a swell
To Kensington today,
And, if I picked the winners well,
A crown at least he’s pay.

“I picked three winners straight, I did;
I filled his purse with pelf,
And then he gave me half-a-quid
To back one for myself.

“A half-a-quid to me he cast —
I wanted it indeed;
So help me Bob, for two days past
I haven’t had a feed.

“But still I thought my luck was in,
I couldn’t go astray —
I put it all on Little Min,
And lost it straightaway.

“I haven’t got a bite or bed,
I’m absolutely stuck;
So keep this lesson in your head:
Don’t over-trust your luck!”

The folks went homeward, near and far,
The tout, oh! where is he?
Ask where the empty boilers are
Beside the Circular Quay.

Poem – The Flying Gang

I served my time, in the days gone by,
In the railway’s clash and clang,
And I worked my way to the end, and I
Was the head of the “Flying Gang”.
‘Twas a chosen band that was kept at hand
In case of an urgent need;
Was it south or north, we were started forth
And away at our utmost speed.
If word reached town that a bridge was down,
The imperious summons rang —
“Come out with the pilot engine sharp,
And away with the flying gang.”
Then a piercing scream and a rush of steam
As the engine moved ahead;
With measured beat by the slum and street
Of the busy town we fled,
By the uplands bright and the homesteads white,
With the rush of the western gale —
And the pilot swayed with the pace we made
As she rocked on the ringing rail.
And the country children clapped their hands
As the engine’s echoes rang,
But their elders said: “There is work ahead
When they send for the flying gang.”

Then across the miles of the saltbush plain
That gleamed with the morning dew,
Where the grasses waved like the ripening grain
The pilot engine flew —
A fiery rush in the open bush
Where the grade marks seemed to fly,
And the order sped on the wires ahead,
The pilot must go by.
The Governor’s special must stand aside,
And the fast express go hang;
Let your orders be that the line is free
For the boys in the flying gang.

Poem – The Rum Parade

Now ye gallant Sydney boys, who have left your household joys
To march across the sea in search of glory,
I am very much afraid that you do not love parade,
But the rum parade is quite another story.
For the influenza came and to spoil its little game,
They ordered us to drink a curious mixture;
Though at first it frightened some, when we found it mostly rum,
Parade became a very pleasant fixture.

Chorus

So it’s forward the Brigade, if they’ll hold a rum parade
At Pretoria there’s nothing to alarm ye;
And it’s easy to be seen if they leave the quinine,
Ye’ll be there before the blessed British Army.
Then a corporal he come and he said I drank the rum,
But the quinine never reached its destination;
For begob he up and swored that I threw it overboard,
Sure my heart was filled with grief and indignation.
For I’m different to some, I prefer quinine to rum,
And I only take the rum just as a favour,
And it’s easy to be seen I’m so fond of the quinine,
That I keep it lest the rum should spoil its flavour.

When we get to Africay we’ll be landed straight away,
And quartered with the troops of Queen Victoria;
And we hope they’ll understand that the moment that we land
We are ready for a march upon Pretoria.
And we’ll pay off all the scores on old Kruger and his Boers,
And just to prove our manners aren’t a failure,
And to show we are not mean, shure we’ll give them the quinine,
And drink the rum in honour of Australia.

Poem – Love Sonnet LX

My mind and heart both love you utterly.
And so each thought of mine is doubly yours,
And all my will about your body pours
Scents of my blood and fires that flow from me.
Who has created me, so young, so free,
Eager to-day to close convention’s doors,
To-morrow to return and sweep the floors
With my loose hair in blinding memory?

Dearest, you have, who gave my heart such love,
It sang the marriage of our mingling blood;
Sweeping us on in a supreme control,
To those vast stillnesses that move above;
And in the wonder of its mighty flood
My mind drew God from your eternal soul.

Poem – Elegy on an Australian Schoolboy

I would not curse your England, wise as slow,
Just as unjust in deed.
I can believe that from her heart may flow
The truest human creed.
She sounded one high call of Liberty
That despots heard with dread;
I know not what high purpose to be free
Crowns yet her starry head.

Do I but raise a ghost? Is England dead?
Lies she in lands forlorn?
Shall Kentish orchards never hear the tread
Of eager life at morn?
Is she but memories of old men and sad
Since youth has left her side?
Has that vast glory that you dreamed she had
But perished crucified?

England! Though all her vaunted heroes rise
From Nile to Flanders red
Calling you from the long, red sunset skies
You shall remain still dead.
You shall not touch her woods and flowers again,
You shall not sail her Thames,
You shall not see in her soft April rain
The fairy diadems.

She cannot honour you. You do not feel
Her tears and pity deep.
Though all her multitudes in homage kneel,
That cannot break your sleep,
That cannot give you back the dew of earth
The light upon the sea,
The soft, sweet ripple of your child’s first mirth—
Your immortality.

In every man there is a great, new world—
Perhaps a glorious race.
How can we tell the hero that war hurled
To death bore not Christ’s face?
How can we tell what nobler nations lie
Now on the fields of France,
What unborn masters of creation cry
Through murdered, white romance?

I only know you, brother of my blood,
Have gone; and many a friend,
Trampled and broken in the Flanders mud,
Found Youth’s most bitter end.
God! You are not yet one with the kind dust
Before new war-horns blow
And sleek-limbed statesmen in their halls break trust
To tell of other woe.

I speak as if you heard me, O my dear,
From England’s far-off shore,
As if that land fills me with such fear
Held you not evermore.
I live too much to feel that death must be,
Though men make death to-day;
I will not set the blame on Deity
Of murder tunes they play.

And yet you have not uttered one poor word
While these harsh thoughts I weave.
Silent as God! No murmur have I heard;
’Tis I, not you, who grieve.
How should I move that vast eternity,
Enough loud my cries and wild?
No more am I regarded than the sea
Regards a brawling child.

Poem – Love Sonnet XIII

My true mind makes as many loves of you
As my full heart contentedly can hold.
And when the one grows dull, the other cold,
Yet comes another swifter in to woo.
I could not rue such changing retinue
Nor chastise circumstance that keeps me bold.
I make you young or middle-aged or old
Just as it pleases my own whim to do.

And then to counterbalance what you give
Thus all unwittingly, I smile or frown,
Am thoughtful, mirthful, grave or sunny-eyed
To meet your mood and help you best to live.
In me, all women to your wish bow down.
In you, all men at my desire abide.

Poem – Love Sonnet XXXV

I cannot find a fault in you; and yet
I think you are not perfect many ways.
I have seen lips more meet for maiden praise
And eyes less shadowed with a grey regret.
But pure perfection of your love has let
The tenant mirrors of my mind such rays,
All other men reflect a smoky haze
And in the murk their virtues I forget.

He knows not perfect who has found the best,
Nor worth who would deny unworthiness.
But meanest flowers are fair as any rose
When blowing fragrant to our least behest.
So you are perfect in my heart no less
For that unworthiness my poor mind knows.

Poem – Love Sonnet LIV

What have you more than I, who crave you so?
Have I not hands and feet and thoughts to tell?
All my sweet senses and fine dreams that swell
Rich with contentments that the star-winds blow?
Yet do I need you everywhere I go,
As if you held me in some stinging spell;
And nothing living but yourself could quell
The conscious longings that tumultuous flow.

I am myself; and yet I cannot move
Hand, foot or eye but I am drawn to you.
I want you all—dreams, kisses, thoughts and eyes.
Dearest, it seems, my very wants would prove
I am yourself, dreaming we measure two;
And lack myself, that which yourself supplies.

Poem – Love Sonnet XV

Love, you have brought to me my perfect soul,
More sweet than earthly things, more precious rare,
Hiding its fragrance in my loosened hair
And folding up my body like a scroll.
O, lie with me all night, and let the roll
Of Rapture’s waves wash over us, as, bare
Of anything save Love, we haply share
The joys of our first parents’ chaste control.

My Love, my piece of Heaven God has spilled
Upon my outstretched hands, O, kiss me yet.
Here, lying close to you, I feel—I know,
My being, even now, is charged and filled
With light and bliss it never will forget
Though aeons over my cold corpse should flow.

Poem – Girl Gladness

It’s holiday time on the hollyhock hills,
And I wish you would come with me laddie-love, now,
The butterfly-bells, from the Folly-fool rills,
Will ring if you listen, and drop on your brow.
So, dear come along,
I’ve a kiss and a song,
And I know where the fairies are forging a gong
To ring up the elves to a festival fair
Of snippets of sunshine and apples of air.
O laddie, my laddie, quick, run out of school,
And away with a shout and a shake of the head;
I’ll pick you a pearl from the pigeon-pink pool
Where cuddles and kisses are going to bed,
Away, come away To the lands of the fay,
For the afternoon tinkles your lassie-love’s lay.
Play truant with Time, and while Age is asleep
I’ll give you the heart of my girlhood to keep.

The Fairie’s Fair – Zora Bernice May Cross

Who’s that dancing on the moonlight air, 

Heel tapping, Toe-heel rapping? 

Oberon opening the fairies’ fair 

To jig away sorrow on the grave of Care.

Come along, old folk, cold fork, bold folk, 

Drop your shears at the midnight stroke. 

Elves are crying: “Who’ll come buying 

Jugs of Joy from a fairy’s cloak?” 

Mab is sitting on a silver shoe, 

Bright eyes laughing, Light lips quaffing 

Airy bubbles from a cup of dew, 

Her bracelets tinkle with delights for you. 

Come along tall folk, small folk, all folk, 

Race the stream where the fat frogs croak, 

Buy a bobbin! There goes Robin 

Tying Time to a daisy’s yoke! 

Sonnet of Motherhood XI  – Zora Bernice May Cross

A miracle of miracles is here.

Take off your shoes. This place is holy ground.

No man-child ours like that the shepherd found

By dreaming Mary when the Star burned clear.

Our God has given us a woman, dear,

With satin skin her dimpling shoulders round.

No pinkest shell with sea-blown bubbles crowned

Could match the marvel of her tiny ear.
How like to me, and yet ’tis you—all you.

I dare not touch her. Take your soul, My Own.

Set in my body with your mind, your sight,

Your dreams and thoughts with every promise true—

A queen to sit upon a regal throne

With a man’s soul won out of woman’s right. 

Zora Bernice May Cross

Sonnet of Motherhood XXIX – Zora Bernice May Cross 

How strangely lone unto myself I grow,

Listening and looking for I know not what;

Turning my head with terror cold and hot

At wandering whispers of a music low!

Familiar pieces of my being flow

Far, far away, to thymy hill and plot,

While chained to patience in this close-shut spot

I sit apart from everything I know.
O Love, I fear the loneness of my limbs

Leaning to nothing to their solitude.

Draw up the blinds and let the stars rush in,

The mournful moon and all the air she swims.

I would not languish in my mother-mood

While just without earth makes her old, mad din. 

Sonnet of Motherhood XXXI – Zora Bernice May Cross

Beloved, I who shall be mother soon 

Need mothering myself this tired hour,

As heavily the sweet and precious power

Weighs on my heart till I am near to swoon.

Console me, soothe me, Dearest, with the boon

Of your firm strength, and little comforts shower

Soft on the drifting doubtings that devour

Patience and courage when the death-winds croon.
You are your mother, Dear, as I am mine.

And, as we slumber to our souls’ caress,

Those two who panged for us and weeping smiled,

Draw near and bind us in a peace divine.

O mother me; all else is comfortless

As painted lips above a dying child. 

The New Moon – Zora Bernice May Cross

What have you got in your knapsack fair,

White moon, bright moon, pearling the air,

Spinning your bobbins and fabrics free,

Fleet moon, sweet moon, in to the sea?

Turquoise and beryl and rings of gold,

Clear moon, dear moon, ne’er to be sold?

Roses and lilies, romance and love,

Still moon, chill moon, swinging above?

Slender your feet as a white birds throat,

High moon, shy moon, drifting your boat

Into the murk of the world awhile,

Slim moon, dim moon, adding a smile.

Tender your eyes as a maiden’s kiss,

Fine moon, wine moon, no one knows this,

Under the spell of your witchery,

Dream moon, cream moon, first he kissed me. 

The Shrine – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

For them we have builded a temple 

To stand as a visible sign. 

For them we have builded a temple, 

And set in its great heart a shrine. 

Ere the dull years shall tarnish their story, 

While the spirit bides close to us yet, 

We have set up a shrine to their glory, 

Lest men should forget. 
We have raised upa visible temple, 

Hewn from impermanent stone; 

And the spirit shall dwell in the temple; 

Yet not in the temple alone. 

Lest the spirit of that great oblation, 

Eternal, transcending all pride, 

Dwell, too, in the heart of their nation, 

In vain they have died. 
For a holier place has enshrined them 

From treacherous time’s swift decay: 

A temple more hallowed has held them 

Inviolate unto today. 

But the friends of their friends, too, shall perish, 

The seed of their seed shall grow old, 

While for ever the flame that these cherish 

A nation must hold. 
So soon do their feet grow aweary 

Of treading where glory had birth, 

So soon do their souls grow aweary 

Of transient things of the earth. 

And they go to the great consummating, 

The goal of their pilgrimage won, 

To triumphant battalions awaiting 

They drift one by one. 
When the last tired veteran totters 

From this, fame’s unstable abode; 

When the last tired footfall has echoed 

And died in the dust of the road; 

Tho’ they boast down the years of his story, 

If the spirit he left us shall fail 

No shrine may envision that glory 

No temple avail. 
We have builded a visible temple; 

We have set us a tangible sign 

For a symbol of that truer temple, 

A mark of that holier shrine; 

And nought of war’s long tarnished story 

Dwells there, not of pride nor of pain, 

But all that remains of their glory 

Who died not in vain.

The New Moon – Zora Bernice May Cross

What have you got in your knapsack fair, 

White moon, bright moon, pearling the air, 

Spinning your bobbins and fabrics free, 

Fleet moon, sweet moon, in to the sea? 

Turquoise and beryl and rings of gold, 

Clear moon, dear moon, ne’er to be sold? 

Roses and lilies, romance and love, 

Still moon, chill moon, swinging above? 

Slender your feet as a white birds throat, 

High moon, shy moon, drifting your boat 

Into the murk of the world awhile, 

Slim moon, dim moon, adding a smile. 

Tender your eyes as a maiden’s kiss, 

Fine moon, wine moon, no one knows this, 

Under the spell of your witchery, 

Dream moon, cream moon, first he kissed me.

Books – Zora Bernice May Cross

Oh! Bury me in books when I am dead, 

Fair quarto leaves of ivory and gold, 

And silk octavos, bound in brown and red, 

That tales of love and chivalry unfold. 

Heap me in volumes of fine vellum wrought, 

Creamed with the close content of silent speech; 

Wrap me in sapphire tapestries of thought 

From some old epic out of common reach. 

I would my shroud were verse-embroidered too— 

Your verse for preference—in starry stitch, 

And powdered o’er with rhymes that poets woo, 

Breathing dream-lyrics in moon-measures rich. 

Night holds me with a horror of the grave 

That knows not poetry, nor song, nor you; 

Nor leaves of love that down the ages weave 

Romance and fire in burnished cloths of blue. 

Oh, bury me in books, and I’ll not mind 

The cold, slow worms that coil around my head; 

Since my lone soul may turn the page and find 

The lines you wrote to me, when I am dead.

A Bush Christmas – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums 

As down the road old Rogan comes 

The hatter from the lonely hut 

Beside the track to Woollybutt. 

He likes to spend his Christmas with us here. 

He says a man gets sort of strange 

Living alone without a change, 

Gets sort of settled in his way; 

And so he comes each Christmas day 

To share a bite of tucker and a beer. 
Dad and the boys have nought to do, 

Except a stray odd job or two. 

Along the fence or in the yard, 

‘It ain’t a day for workin’ hard.’ 

Says Dad. ‘One day a year don’t matter much.’ 

And then dishevelled, hot and red, 

Mum, thro’ the doorway puts her head 

And says, ‘This Christmas cooking, My! 

The sun’s near fit for cooking by.’ 

Upon her word she never did see such. 
Your fault,’ says Dad, ‘you know it is. 

Plum puddin’! on a day like this, 

And roasted turkeys! Spare me days, 

I can’t get over women’s ways. 

In climates such as this the thing’s all wrong. 

A bit of cold corned beef an’ bread 

Would do us very well instead.’ 

Then Rogan said, ‘You’re right; it’s hot. 

It makes a feller drink a lot.’ 

And Dad gets up and says, ‘Well, come along.’ 
The dinner’s served – full bite and sup. 

‘Come on,’ says Mum, ‘Now all sit up.’ 

The meal takes on a festive air; 

And even father eats his share 

And passes up his plate to have some more. 

He laughs and says it’s Christmas time, 

‘That’s cookin’, Mum. The stuffin’s prime.’ 

But Rogan pauses once to praise, 

Then eats as tho’ he’d starved for days. 

And pitches turkey bones outside the door. 
The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums, 

The chirping of the locusts comes 

Across the paddocks, parched and grey. 

‘Whew!’ wheezes Father. ‘What a day!’ 

And sheds his vest. For coats no man had need. 

Then Rogan shoves his plate aside 

And sighs, as sated men have sighed, 

At many boards in many climes 

On many other Christmas times. 

‘By gum!’ he says, ‘That was a slap-up feed!’ 
Then, with his black pipe well alight, 

Old Rogan brings the kids delight 

By telling o’er again his yarns 

Of Christmas tide ‘mid English barns 

When he was, long ago, a farmer’s boy. 

His old eyes glisten as he sees 

Half glimpses of old memories, 

Of whitened fields and winter snows, 

And yuletide logs and mistletoes, 

And all that half-forgotten, hallowed joy. 
The children listen, mouths agape, 

And see a land with no escape 

Fro biting cold and snow and frost 

A land to all earth’s brightness lost, 

A strange and freakish Christmas land to them. 

But Rogan, with his dim old eyes 

Grown far away and strangely wise 

Talks on; and pauses but to ask 

‘Ain’t there a dropp more in that cask?’ 

And father nods; but Mother says ‘Ahem!’ 
The sun slants redly thro’ the gums 

As quietly the evening comes, 

And Rogan gets his old grey mare, 

That matches well his own grey hair, 

And rides away into the setting sun. 

‘Ah, well,’ says Dad. ‘I got to say 

I never spent a lazier day. 

We ought to get that top fence wired.’ 

‘My!’ sighs poor Mum. ‘But I am tired! 

An’ all that washing up still to be done.’