North Queensland Lullaby

Year: 1931

by Lucille M Quinlan   

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.