Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems


(written in the Tasmanian bush.)


Through the valleys, softly creeping

‘Mid the tree-tops, tempest-tossed,

see the cloud-forms seeking, peeping

For the loved ones that are lost.

Not for storm or sunshine resting,

Will they slacken or desist,

Or grow weary in their questing

For the children of the mist.


Where are those children hiding?

Surely they will soon return,

In the gorge again abiding

‘Mid the myrtle and the fern.

Ah! the dusky forms departed

Nevermore will keep their tryst,

And the clouds, alone, sad-hearted,

mourn the Children of the Mist.


E’en the wild bush-creatures, scattered,

Ere they die renew their race,

And the pine, by levin shattered,

Leaves an heir to take his place.

Though each forest thing, forth stealing,

Year by year the clouds have kissed,

Vainly are those white arms feeling

For the children of the mist.


Dead the race, beyond awaking,

Ere its task was well begun;

Human hearts that throbbed to breaking

Are but dust beneath the sun.

Past all dreams of vengeance-wreaking,

Blown where’er the tempests list.

. . . . . . . .

But the cloud-forms still are seeking

For the children of the mist.


John Sandes

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