Saturday, June 1, 2013

Literary Australia

It's a cold and rainy day at the moment, so unlikely we'll do much - catch up on computer stuff, read the information we gathered from the info center, maybe even napping.

So I thought I'd share a quotation from Joseph Conrad, who visited Sydney and commented on the harbour - as well as a poem that speaks to the essence of Australia.

Sydney Harbour ........  one of the finest, most beautiful, vast, and safe bays the sun had ever shone upon.

          - Joseph Conrad, "Mirror of 
            the Sea," 1906 

Dorothea MacKellar was born in Sydney in 1883 and died in 1968.
This cherished timeless poem speaks to the core of the Australian heart with its line "I love a sunburnt country. 

My Country 
The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
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 cannot share it,
   My love is otherwise.

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

A 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 threefold-
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

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

                      - Dorothea Mackellar

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