The Austral 'light'

We were standing by the fireside at the pub one wintry night
Drinking grog and 'pitching fairies' while the lengthening hours took flight,
And a stranger there was present, one who seemed quite city-bred---
There was little showed about him to denote him 'mulga-fed'.

For he wore a four-inch collar, tucked up pants, and boots of tan---
You might take him for a new-chum, or a Sydney city man---
But in spite of cuff or collar, Lord! he gave himself away
When he cut and rubbed and had filled his coloured clay.

For he never asked for matches--although in that boozing band
There was more than one man standing with a matchbox in his hand;
And I knew him for a bushman 'spite his tailor-made attire'.
As I saw him stoop and fossick for a fire-stick from the fire.

And that mode of weed-ignition to my memory brought back
Long nights when nags were hobbled on a far North-western track;
Recalled campfires in the timber, when the stars shone big and bright,
And we learned the matchless virtues of a glowing gidgee light.

And I thought of piney sand-ridges---and somehow I could swear
That this tailor-made Johnny had at one time been 'out there'.
And as he blew the white ash from the tapering, glowing coal,
Faith! my heart went out towards him for a kindred country soul.

Harry Morant (the breaker)

If you have any suggestions or questions regarding these poems please email me

2010 Selected Poetry
The Poets Garret
Tir Na nOg Poetry Community