Saturday, 16 January 2010

For Merle, Krissie and Grizz.

Here is the "My Country " poem by Dorothea Mackellar. In my last post I got comments saying that this was a favourite of my blogging friends Krissie and Merle. Grizz ,who most likely has never heard of Dorothea before as he lives in the U.S. found it listed as Australia's favorite. Most, if not all Australians know by heart the second verse but not the rest of the poem, so for you, here it is.

My Country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lane,
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 can not share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jeweled seas,
Her beauty and her terror-
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring -barked forest,
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 three fold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze...

An open hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land-
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand-
Though earth holds many splendors,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Well that is it. Dinkum Aussie favorite patriotic poem. One that every school child in Australia knows by heart and has settle in their hearts. As in my last post, consider what was said about her country men believing England to be their homeland still, and pining for that country, not seeing the beauty around them. Probably very politically incorrect for her social upper class of the time, to write about such things, maybe that is why the rest of the poem isn't so well known or as popular as the well known second verse. A lot of her writing has a similar message. Yes this country is harsh, but it is kind and beautiful too.
I also love this poem, from the same book of Dorothea Mackellar's work. I think this ladies work has had a big influence on the Australian psyche. She has to mine, but I think the things she writes about where in my heart long before I read some of her stuff. In my profile on this blog I wrote that I would love my writing to be able to paint pictures with words. She does that for me.


The lovely things that I have watched unthinking,
Unknowing, day by day,
That their soft dyes had steeped my soul in colour
That will not pass away:-

Great saffron sunset clouds, and larkspur mountains,
And fenceless miles of plain,
And hillsides golden -green in that unearthly
clear shining after rain;

And lights of blue and pearl, and long smooth beaches,
Yellow as sunburnt wheat,
Edged with a line of foam that creams and hisses,
Enticing weary feet.

And emeralds, and sunset hearted opals,
And Asian marble veined
With scarlet flame, and cool green jade, and moonstones
Misty and azure stained;

And almond trees in bloom, and oleanders,
Or a wide purple sea,
Of plain land gorgeous with a lovely poison,
The evil Darling Pea.

If I am tired I call on these to help me
To dream- and dawn lit skies,
Lemon and pink, or faintest, coolest lilac,
Float on my soothed eyes.

There is no night so black but you shine through it,
There is no morn so drear,
O colour of the world that I can find you,
Most tender pure and clear

Thanks be to god, Who gave this gift of colour,
Which who shall seek to find;
Thanks be to God, Who gives me strength to hold it,
Though I were stricken blind.

I don't know if Dorothea became blind in her latter years but it says in the book that she spent many years, after all her family was gone, in a nursing home in Randwick in Sydney where she died. I went to school at Randwick girl's high, in the early 70's, that was my favorite school of all the ones I attended. From this poem I can see her there watching her memories of this..... colour.
Lovely Colour.
Love Linda.


spottedwolf said...

The impression made by our respective environments can create places of absolute renewal for our souls.....great poetry Lin.

Merle said...

Dear Linda ~~ Thank you so much for posting My Country as it is a wonderful poem by Dorothea Mackellar
I can see why you treasure that book of hers. She really does show us
pictures with her words, doesn't she?
Hope all is well with you and Peter
All OK her, few cooler days.
Take care, dear friend, Love, Merle.

Winterwood said...

linda - thank you for writing that poem out- I just read it and close to australia day its a fitting summary of our beautiful if a tiny bit sunburnt - or a lot sunburnt over! thank you its a gift of a poem, she was a brilliant writer!