The bowl is shattered
The great blue bowl;
Where it held roses – bronze and burning,
Summer's heat caught in a clump of petals,
Giving to lips of a bending woman
Warmth in change for a cold hard kiss-
There lies a puddle of shivering water,
Menacing edges of pottery broken,
And a thorny mess of bedraggled blooms.

"What a bowl it was,
The great blue bowl,"
The curio collector cupped his hands.
"One had never noticed for the roses brimmed over-
One had never noticed for the roses glowed so."

Mocking were the lips of the painted women,
Heavy on the arms of their querulous lovers;
They always said that the bowl would be broken;
They always wished that it would be broke,
For the roses glowed so.

Why did you break, O great blue bowl:
Was it for bearing of too much beauty?
Was it for hearing of people praising
The flowers you fed from your welling heart?

Pieces of bowl and petals of roses
Are swept up together with a dirty big broom.

                                                         Colin Bingham (1929)

Next poem by Colin Bingham.


My child's warm hand is such a thing
That holding it I long to sing
My faith in dark futurity

My child's warm hand is such a thing
That holding it I long to bring
Her treasure of obscurity.

                                   Colin Bingham  (1929)

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SLQ Neg 201331


University Prize Poem, 1924

                              by Colin Bingham


A hundred year ago the tireless tide,
That rose and fell between unquarried banks,
Felt on its breast the convict galleys ride,
And heard the chains of men beside the cranks-
Grim engines of punition; curlews cried
In magic copses on the serried ranks
Of unillumined hills, when daylight died;
Winds from the island-bounded bay gave thanks
In whispers for the freedom of the land;
But Prophecy within the hearts of those
Who lived in fetters and despair lay dead,
And scarely one was there whose restless hand
Lend labour where the giant gum-trees rose,
Who looked not through the years with vision red.


And now, to-day, beside the winding stream
Where once untrammelled Nature frowned disdain
Upon the road gang and the settler's team,
A broad and thriving City, born in pain,
Lifts to the sky its building tops agleam
With health-compelling sunlight.  From the main
Unceasingly the ships of Commerce steam
And fill their roomy holds with wool and grain
The prosp'rous hinterland supplies; the feet
Of Progress, She whose goal no eyes have seen,
Tread day by day through counting house and street,
Through school and council hail to where lie green
The pasture fields of that Ambition sweet
Which scorns the Past as if it had not been.


Keep free the civic life from tainted gold,
From that dishonesty which wrecks the State-
The secret contract and the service sold
For doubtful ends, and thou must yet be great,
O Brisbane; let thy eager Youth behold
The best in Art-stone inarticulate
May speak as loud as if the heavens told-
And hear the Music which survives the hate
Of warring nations; seek that all the world
Shall know thy culture, honour, too, thy name
When petty jealousies have ceased to be,
When battleflags for ever have been furled
And Men arch not through human blood to Fame,
But o'er the gods of their idolatry.

                                           Colin Bingham, 1925


Next poem  by Colin Bingham.

Townsville Bulletin, 3/5/15,p4


A Fragment

Upon the crimson-mottled landing beach,
The dying groan among the stiff'ning dead,
And here and there a one as if to teach
The way, half scrambles from his bloody bed
Of yielding sand, towards those rugged slopes-
Then sinking down with gurgling sob, he turns
His eyes upon the sky, and feebly gropes
The air, quite heedless of the sun that burns
And crusts the blood upon his fevered cheek.

                                                              Colin Bingham (1925)


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                  by Colin Bingham (1929)


A storm came o'er the hills to-day,
And broke in sweeping rain and crashing hail;
The great earth shook, and in dismay
We watched the mad wind like a tireless flail
Flatten the garden shrubs and whip the grass
Where shivered ice-or broken glass-
Tumbled and danced as if alive.

Meg turned to me in whispered fear:
"We won't miss Mass again this year."


A storm came o'er the hills to-day;
The lightning split a vault of swirling cloud; 
Men, dashing homeward, turned away
Before the lashing rain, with shoulders bowed,
And ran.  Along the wires above the street
The wild wind screamed and veered to beat
The tangled tops of frightened trees.

Meg turned to me-not now thirteen-:
"This rain will wash the city clean."

                                            Colin Bingham (1929)

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