Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more

Yorkshire Pudding is always taking us along on his walks through the English countryside. I thought today I would take us someplace else.

My Country
by Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror --
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die --
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold --
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze ...

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land --
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand --
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Stumped? It could almost be somewhere in the American West -- Arizona maybe, except for the jewel sea -- but it is not.

Dorothea Mackellar (1885 - 1968), author of the poem, was from Australia. She began writing the poem in 1904 while visiting London, England. The spectacular 12-foot-high metal sculpture of a phrase from the second stanza is located at Australia's National Arboretum in Weston, a suburb of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Thank you, Sue (Elephant's Child), for introducing me to this beautiful poem.

1 comment:

  1. That is a fine poem - filled with affection for the homeland she was clearly missing. Sometimes you have to leave a place to see it clearly. Perhaps you could write a similar poem about the Texas you remember.