North Queensland Lullaby
By Lucille M Quinlan (1931)
Sleep, my birrahlee;1 hush, my soft grey dove!
Misty grows the cane-field, purple the range above.
From the scrub by the lily-swamp, curlews wail –
My birrahlee should never hear that heart-riven tale!
And see across the pale sky, dark shapes swoop-
The flying foxes, leather-winged, the silent troop!
Close your ears, my tender one – in the mango tall
The greedy ones are fighting now with bark and squall!
But now at last the fire-flies, with lights all lit,
From croton-bush to palm tree delicately flit;
They come to light my birra to his white-screened bed,
To make a dancing halo for his innocent head.
Sleep, my birrahlee; hush, my soft grey dove.
I cannot see the cane-field; the range is black above.
Lucille M. Quinlan (1931)
1 Birahlee: a babe in arms.