Spring Creek 

                   By Lydia M. D. O'Neil

 

LORD, I have laboured for years upon years;

Spring Creek now 
 

I've had my full portion of trouble , and tears.

Now- may I rest for an hour or so

Up at Spring Creek, where the raspberries grow?

 

Lord, I am weary in body and brain;

Let me turn to Apollo the Healer again.

Let me feel his warm fingers caressing my cheek,

As I rest in the grasses that girdle Spring Creek.

 

A mile from the border and two from the town,

I know where a pathway runs over and down,

To a rift in the hills that no other may know

Save I, and the hawk, and the wandering crow.

 

Let me lie lazy beside that soft stream,

While yet there is time to be lazy and dream,

Watching the pictures that form in the sky, 

As the cloud-mists assemble, and alter, and die.

 

Let me remember all lovely things yet:

And let me forget what I want to forget —

Years barren and bitter, days dreary and bleak— '?

Let the memory pass like the winds at Spring Creek.

 

Walls and foundations of jasper and glass —

Ay, it were lovely, bat Lord, let it pass.

If I may but rest for an hour or so,

Up at Spring Creek, where the raspberries grow.

                                                    Courier Mail, 17 April 1937, p23

 

Return to poets

 

 

Leave-taking

 

Farewell, old hills! No more my feet shall tread you

To find the dingo’s den or emu’s nest;

Beneath the eucalypts that overspread you, 

No twilight-time shall find me there at rest. 

But I shall think of you in far-off islands, 

And love you still though seas between us swell. 

The wind that blows across the lonely highlands

Echoes, ‘Farewell!’

 

Good-bye old hills! Long since I learned to love you, 

In calm or when the lightnings wreathed you ‘round;

When summer’s happy song-birds flew above you,

Or when your rocks hurled back the thunder’s sound. 

And I shall think of you where I am going,

And dream of you beneath an alien sky.

The wind across the lonely highlands blowing 

Answers, ‘Goodbye!’

 

                                              Lydia O'Neil (1924)

 

Next poem by Lydia O'Neil

 

 

Queensland

 

From the land beyond the sunset, out beyond the Coral Sea,

There’s a balmy breeze a-blowing, and it seems to call to me

Through the magic of the sunset and the ocean’s briny spray-

‘Come you back, you lonesome wand’rer – back to Queensland, far away!

                Back to Queensland far away,

                Out beyond the twilight grey,

Where the southern sun is shining, and the warm winds pout and play

             Through the mangroves where they sway

On the shores of Moreton Bay,

In the wonderland called Queensland, far away and far away!’

 

And I see the hills of Queensland, and I see the twinkling towns, 

And I see Canopus[1] shining softly on the Darling Downs;

Hear the kookaburras calling where the Queensland rivers flow,

And the dingo’s dreary wailing on the night-wind drifting low.

                And the lilies bend and sway

                Where the shining waters stray, 

As the rosy sunset closes on the golden-gleaming day;

                And the soft sea-breezes play;

                Blowing in from Moreton Bay,

In the wonderland called Queensland, far away and far away!

 

And above the crimson waters there’s a black swan sailing high;

There’s a flash of gaudy colour and a parrot screaming by;

There’s a ripple in the river where the barramundi gleams,

And the call me back to Queensland, to her hills and shores and streams!

                Where the warm winds pout and play,

                And the mangroves swing and sway,

And the Southern Cross is mirrored in the waves of Moreton Bay;

                Where the tossing foam and spray

                Shimmer ‘neath the Milky Way,

And the great white moon of Queensland climbs her silver sandalled way!

 

And there’s no place just like Queensland, and there’s no place quite so grand,

In the northland or the southland, any clime or any land;

And I’m looking toward the sunset, and I know each crimson ray

Falls upon the walls of Brisbane and the waves of Moreton Bay. 

                And the eucalypts that sway

                In the twilight seem to say,

‘Come you back you lonesome wand’rer – back to Queensland far away!’ 

                And I’m going back to-day

                Out beyond the twilight grey,

To the wonderland called Queensland, far away and far away!

                                                                        Lydia O'Neil (1924)

 

Next poem  by Lydia O'Neil



[1] The brightest star in the constellation Carina.

 

 

Dinkum Aussie 

 

He is long, he is lean, he is wiry;

From Smith's Weekly

He is loose-limbed and carelessly hung;

He is quick on the flare-up and fiery;

He swears with an eloquent tongue.

He’s at home on a horse or a camel;

He could sleep in the top of a tree;

He’ll try anything twice, and again if it’s nice,

For a dinkum Australian is he.

 

His skin is as brown as a gipsy’s;

Like a gipsy he’s thoroughly versed

In the lore of the high-stepping ponies;

He is blessed with a marvellous thirst. 

He smokes cigarettes by the thousands;

He is happy-go-lucky and free;

Independent and shows it, and ‘don’t care who knows it,’

For a thoroughbred Aussie is he.

 

His fingers were born to a rifle;

His long legs for marching were made;

He’ll stand up the world to a finish,

And go down, if he goes, unafraid.

For he’s lord of the earth and its master, 

The mountains thereof, and the sea;

Don’t dispute or forget it, or he’ll make you regret it,

For a dinkum Australian is he.

 

 

 

In love as in war, he’s a terror, 

Whom nothing can daunt or dismay;

If he doesn’t run after the sheilas, 

He never, at least, runs away.

His eyes are brown blossoms of passion,

Gold-glinting, a glory to see;

Sparkling and sprightful, and wholly delightful,

For a red-blooded Aussie is he.

 

He may hail you in French or Egyptian, 

As suits his immediate whim;

The slang of Port Said and Toowoomba

Alike are familiar to him. 

For he’s gone where his banners have beckoned, 

And his tremulous drums made their plea;

And he’s picked up the patter of half the world’s chatter,

For a dinkum Australian is he.

 

Right down to his toes he’d a gambler, 

A sport to his very last breath;

He will laugh in the face of disaster,

Toss pennies or guineas with Death.

He puts not his trust in his princes,

But dare to asperse them and see

With what personal feeling he’ll send you far-reeling,

For a loyal Australian is he.

 

He is lovable, natural, forceful;

He is versatile, vivid, alert;

Audacious, courageous, resourceful,

Aspiring, inquiring, expert.

He’s at home in the air or the water,

For a dinkum Australian is he;

And I’ve done some hard thinking, and I’ll say without winking,

It’s a dinkum Australian for me! 

                                                       by Lydia O'Neil (1924)

 

Next poem by Lydia O'Neil

 

 

When the Drought Breaks 

 

By Lydia M. D. O'Neil

 

‘WHEN the drought breaks, 

Drought, 1920s, SLQ Image

And the grass grows,

And the cows are deep in clover,

I'll take you then for a trip to town

You shall buy new shoes, and a new blue gown —

New things to wear all over,

And a rose-bowl,

And a glass vase.

And a basket for your mending;

When the rain falls, 

And the grass grows,

There'll be coin for my lady's spending.’

 

And the drought broke, 

And the grass grew,

And the cows in clover waded;

But there was no time for the trip to town,

And no one cared that the old blue gown

Was fashionless and faded.

With rates to pay,

A barn to build,

And a fence that's wanting mending.

Though the rain falls,

And the cows thrive,

There is little left for spending.

 

Oh, the drought breaks,

And the grass grows

In the pastures clean and shady;

And to-day there's time for a trip to town;

To-day at last there's a fine new gown,

And slippers for my lady.

But she cares naught

For the gay shops,

And she has no need for spending

In the cool grave

Where the rain falls

And the white-rose bush is bending.

 

 

Courier Mail, 7 November 1936, p23