Could I hear the Kookaburras once again

May a fading fancy hover round a gladness that is over?
May a dreamer in the silence rake the ashes of the past?
So a spirit might awaken in the best the years have taken,
And the Jove that left him lonely might be with him at the last.
While he searches in the by-ways, shall his heart forget the highways
Where the sunburnt arms are toiling in the sun-shine and the rain,
Where the simple things and lowly make their lives sublime and holy,
And the kookaburras chorus once again?

There's a little house a-peeping o'er the swaying and the sweeping
Of the wheat that nods and ripples as the breezes skim its top;
And the days of pioneering in the ringing and the clearing
See the first-born of their labours in the house behind the crop.
There the fallow land is showing where the box and pine were growing,
And a sweet hope gilds the future with the colour of the grain;
Gentle visions softly tripping in the ploughing and the stripping,
While the kookaburras chorus once again.

Let a, dying fancy hover round the glories that are over;
Lift a song to sing the present - to the hopeless hope impart -
For above the past's bewailing, golden-writ but unavailing,
Is the simple little ditty that can cheer a drooping heart.
Lift it high for all to hear it. In the Helper's love endear it,
And my ageing heart shall hasten to applaud the sweet refrain;
Yes, I'd feel the pulses stirring to the splendid truth recurring,
Could I hear the kookaburras once again.

Could I hear them as I heard them when the joy of living spurred them,
When the world was clean and wholesome and they laughed the gloom away,
All the fatal fiction scorning that the canvas of the morning
Is but splashed with faded colours from the brush of yesterday.
Oh, I'd bless them and I'd cheer them, could I wander off and hear them
Boom the head-lights of the coming day that sweep the hills amain,
For I'd know the tocsin sounding of a fuller hope abounding,
Could I hear them hail the dawning once again.

To no age in all the story of the bearded years and hoary
Would I yield the future's promise in the mould of progress cast;
Still, a fading fancy lingers, while the touch of gentle angers
Moves aside the sombre curtain that was drawn across the past.
Come the fairy visions winging, come the laughter and the singing,
But the shadows fall around me and the echo dies in pain;
Yet I'd feel the wings that bore me when the world was all before me,
Could I hear the kookaburras once again.

John O'Grady


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2008 Selected Poetry
The Poets Garret
Tir Na nOg Poetry Community