Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems



There used to be a red road running o'er the rise,

Dipping down to fernland and climbing to the skies;

And there among the tall trees the sleepy shadows lay,

And the forest birds were singing there the livelong day.

I used to like to walk there as the days grew old,

Beneath the stately gum-trees afire with sunset gold;

And watch the pale stars steal there, beyond the eastern hill,

Then trim my lamp, a nearer star, within my window-sill.

I used to hear the storm-winds among the ravaged trees;

I used to see the spring spread her dainty tapastries;

I used to watch the summer come with anger in her eye;

I breathed the very breath of life beneath my virgin sky.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There isn't any forest there beside the cottage now;

The trees have bowed before the blade, the shrubs before the plough;

There isn't any red road; they've covered it with tar.

And the birds that come to steal the grain are strangers from afar.

The fallow lies behind me, my face is to the east;

I'm going from the haunts of man to haunts of bird and beast;

And somewhere near the sunrise, before my days are done

I'll build myself a resting place where still the red roads run.


  John K Ewers

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