Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems



This is not easy to understand

For you that come from a distant land

Where all the COLOURS are low in pitch -

Deep purples, emeralds deep and rich,

Where autumn's flaming and summer's green -

Here is a beauty you have not seen.


All is pitched in a higher key,

Lilac, topaz, and ivory,

Palest jade-green and pale clear blue

Like aquamarines that the sun shines through,

Golds and silvers, we have at will -

Silver and gold on each plain and hill,

Silver-green of the myall leaves,

Tawny gold of the garnered sheaves,

Silver rivers that silent slide,

Golden sands by the water-side,


Golden wattle, and golden broom,

Silver stars of the rosewood bloom;

Amber sunshine, and smoke-blue shade:

Opal colours that glow and fade;

On the gold of the upland grass

Blue cloud-shadows that swiftly pass;

Wood-smoke blown in an azure mist;

Hills of tenuous amethyst. . .


Oft the colours are pitched so high

The deepest note is the cobalt sky;

We have to wait till the sunset comes

For shades that feel like the beat of drums -

Or like organ notes in their rise and fall -

Purple and orange and cardinal,

Or the peacock-green that turns soft and slow

To peacock-blue as the great stars show . . .


Sugar-gum boles flushed to peach-blow pink;

Blue-gums, tall at the clearing's brink;

Ivory pillars, their smooth fine slope

Dappled with delicate heliotrope;

Grey of the twisted mulga-roots;

Golden-bronze of the budding shoots;

Tints of the lichens that cling and spread,

Nile-green, primrose, and palest red . . .


Sheen of the bronze-wing; blue of the crane;

Fawn and pearl of the lyrebird's train;

Cream of the plover; grey of the dove -

These are the hues of the land I love.

  Dorothea MacKellar


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