Poem of the week
Have you heard the bell-birds calling, thro' the grey Australian bush,
On some blue September morning, from the trees?
Have you heard a creek go brawling, thro' the noonday's golden hush,
Or the drowsy hum of nesting native bees?
Have you heard the stock-whip cracking like short, sharp pistol shot;
And the thunder of the cattle, rushing by-
When, with saddle, just of sacking, you follow fast and hot,
As you ride and ride beneath the open sky?
Have you seen the White Cross burning in the night, and in the day...
Lydia O’Neil (1892-1974)
The last balladeer?
Lydia O’Neil enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame over a few months in 1936, when she was briefly at the centre of a battle between modernist and traditionalist poets. But for more than 30 years on either side of that controversy, she produced widely read, much admired poetry for the readers of Queensland.