My Country

In honor of Canberra Day, we offer this widely-loved work of Australian patriotism.

Dorothea MacKellar
Australian
1885 – 1968

 

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in 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 hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
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 wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

2 thoughts on “My Country

  1. The meter puts me strongly in mind of Kipling. “The White Man’s Burden” is built on this same three-and-a-half iamb/three iamb pattern.

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    1. Since beginning this blog in January, I have fallen utterly in love with the Australian poets. Their meter tends to have a lot to do with that. You’re right that it is very Kiplinqesque, and I find many of the Aussies have a bit of Robert Service’s musicality as well. More coming soon!

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