"In the beginning"

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Monday, October 24, 2005

My Country

As seen through the window at holtieshouse


While
Australia as a land mass is one of the oldest in the world it was uninhabited until about 50,000 years ago when aboriginal settlement occurred, white settlement is as recent as 235 years ago.

As an introduction to this series I am going to introduce you to a young lady named Dorethea Mackellar who as a visionary youngster of about 20 wrote;


My Country



The love of field and coppice,

Of green and shaded lanes,

Of ordered woods and gardens

Is running through your veins.

Strong love of grey-blue distance,

Brown streams and soft, dim skies-

I know but cannot share it,

My love is otherwise.


I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains,

I love her far horizons,

I love her jewel-sea,

Her beauty and her terror-

The wide brown land for me.


The stark white ring-barked forests,

All tragic to the moon,

The sapphire-misted mountains,

The hot gold rush of noon,

Green tangle of the brushes

Where lithe lianas coil

And orchids deck the treetops,

And ferns the warm dark soil.


Core of my heart, my country!

Her pitiless blue sky,

When, sick at heart, around us

We see the cattle die-

But then the grey clouds gather,

And we can bless again

The drumming of an army,

The steady soaking rain.


Core of my heart my country!

Land of the rainbow gold,

For flood and fire and famine

She pays us back threefold.

Over the thirsty paddocks,

Watch, after many days,

The filmy veil of greenness

That thickens as we gaze.


An opal hearted country,

A willful, lavish land-

All those who have not loved her,

You will not understand-

Though Earth holds many splendors,

Wherever I may die,

I know to what brown country

My homing thoughts will fly.


Dorothea Mackellar 1885 – 1968.


Unlike many of her contemporaries, Dorothea was able to see below the harsh surface of a newly settled land and show us the beauty beneath.

Children of my era, a looong time ago, were fairly familiar with the first verse of this poem, knew the second verse by heart, knew the fourth and fifth verses vaguely, but had little concept of the truly beautiful whole poem.

I’m not going to clutter this space with anything else; it could detract from the poems effect.

8 comments:

Merle said...

Hi Peter - Great to see that poem
Have always loved it.
Was Dorothea Mackellar English. I
think she probably was by the first verse which seems to be about England. But like us her love was otherwise.

Humour and last laugh said...

Thanks peter! we will be in touch. keep writing!

Merle said...

Hi Peter - I just looked up Dorothea Mackellar and she was 3rd generation Australia. Her
ancestorscame from Scotland.
So I beg her pardon.

Marcus said...

Could be an opening there for a research assistant at Holtieshouse if you keep that up Auntie Merle!
I don't think I've ever read the whole poem before.
rstkj

bubba said...

beautiful.

Carolyn said...

Very pretty! Picturesque :)

Old Horsetail Snake said...

Okay, so I won't, either.

Ms. Vickie said...

What a beautiful poem, Peter. Thank you for sharing it here with us. You know I love it.