Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Australian Poetry

Dorothea MacKellar (1885 - 1968)

Dorothea McKellar was born in Sydney in 1858 into a well-established, wealthy family, and was educated privately at the University of Sydney. At 19 years old she wrote a poem, 'My Country', the second verse of which is perhaps the best known stanza in Australian poetry. Her family owned substantial properties in the Gunnedah district of New South Wales and it is in this town which claims her as their own, there a statue of her on horseback has been erected. Dorothea died in 1968

In a Southern Garden by Dorothea MacKellar

WHEN the tall bamboos are clicking to the restless little breeze,
And bats begin their jerky skimming flight,
And the creamy scented blossoms of the dark pittosporum trees,
Grow sweeter with the coming of the night.
And the harbour in the distance lies beneath a purple pall,
And nearer, at the garden’s lowest fringe,
Loud the water soughs and gurgles ’mid the rocks below the wall,
Dark-heaving, with a dim uncanny tinge
Of a green as pale as beryls, like the strange faint-coloured flame
That burns around the Women of the Sea:
And the strip of sky to westward which the camphorlaurels frame,
Has turned to ash-of-rose and ivory—
And a chorus rises valiantly from where the crickets hide,
Close-shaded by the balsams drooping down—
It is evening in a garden by the kindly water-side,
A garden near the lights of Sydney town!


A Cuban In London said...

Loved the poem, didn't know who she was. Thanks a lot for this beautiful post.

Greetings from London.

Sandradb said...

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Denise said...

This is a lovely post. I enjoyed the history of this lady and also the beautiful poem. Thank you very much for sharing it.

Arija said...

Titania, that is a real gardener's delight poem. I had not seen that one before. Have you a book of her poems, I'd be interested to read more.

It was lovely in the mountains, but it's also good to be back.