Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems



The Bush, my Lover


The camp-fire gleams resistance

To every twinkling star:

The horse-bells, in the distance

Are jangling faint and far:

Through gum-boughs lorn and lonely

The passing breezes sigh:

In all the world are only

My star-crowned Love and I.


The still night wraps Macquarie;

The white moon, drifting slow,

Takes back her silver glory

From the watching waves below;

To dalliance I give over

Though half the world may chide,

And clasp my one true Lover

Here on Macquarie side.


The loves of earth grow olden

Or kneel at some new shrine;

Her locks are always golden---

This brave Bush-Love of mine;

And for her starlit beauty

And for her dawns dew-pearled,

Her name in love and duty

I guard against the world.


They curse her desert places!

How can they understand

Who know not what her face is

And never held her hand?---

Who may have heard the meeting

Of boughs the wind has stirred,

Yet missed the whispered greeting

Our listening hearts have heard.


For some have travelled over

The long miles at her side,

Yet claimed her not as Lover

Nor thought of her as bride:

And some have followed after

Through sun and mist for years,

Nor held the sunshine laughter,

Nor guessed the raindrops tears.

* * *

And if her droughts are bitter,

Her dancing mirage vain---

Are all things gold that glitter?

What pleasure but hath pain?

And since among Love's blisses

Love's penalties must live

Shall we not take her kisses,

And, taking them, forgive?


The winds of dawn are roving

The river-oaks astir...

What hearts were lorn of loving

That had no Love but her?

Till last red stars are lighted

And last winds wander West,

Her troth and mine are plighted---

The lover I love best!


    Will H. Ogilvie, 21.8.1869 (Scotland) to 1963

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