Tuesday, 25 March 2014

On the night train

My grandmother Olga, died in 1990. Before she died she gave me two books of Australian poetry. In the cover of one she wrote 'M -  may you find the spirit of Australia in Henry Lawson's lines.'

Many years later I read from that book at the funeral of my other grandmother Jess. Both my grandmothers loved this land with a passion. Here is the poem.


On the night Train

Have you seen the bush by moonlight from the train go running by,
Here a patch of glassy water, there a glimpse of mystic sky?
Have you heard the still voice calling, yet so warm and yet so cold
'I'm the mother bush that bore you! Come to me when you are old?'

Did you see the bush below you sweeping darkly to the range,
All unchanged and all unchanging, yet so very old and strange
Did you hear the bush a calling, when your heart was young and bold;
'I'm the mother bush that nursed you! Come to me when you are old?'

Through the long vociferous cutting as the night train swiftly sped,
Did you hear the grey bush calling from the pine ridge overhead
'You have seen the seas and cities; all seems done and all seems told;
I'm the mother bush that loves you! Come to me now you are old?'

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