Thursday, October 13, 2011

Poetry Friday: A Poem for a Place

Today, I talked to a lot of six-year olds about brains and punctuation and fairytales. I was reasonably well-prepared. Part of that preparation involved visiting a used and rare book store. My intent was to find either primers or fairytale books. I had luck with that, and the visit was a success.
But I'm not a paragon of restraint. I also acquired several other books including The Fifth Book of the Swan School Readers, compiled and edited for the Education Department of Western Australia by J. Reford Corr, M.A., LL.B., printed here in Perth in 1920.

First off, this caught my eye on the front end paper

"My Country" by Dorothea Mackellar

Western Australian Wilflowers,
colour plate facing Mackeller's poem
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 willful lavish land—
All you you have not loved her
You will not understand—
Though earth holds many splendours,
Whenever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My loving thoughts will fly.

Dorothea Mackellar earned her place in this reader alongside Dickens, Bunyan, and Tennyson. There is something tough and true in her poem that fully deserves the ornery pride in the inscription.

Poetry Friday
Today is Poetry Friday.
Delzey is hosting at Fomagrams, and
considering Halloween and
why robots might want candy,
among deeper issues.
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