Bernard O'Dowd

Rating: 4.33
Rating: 4.33

Bernard O'Dowd Poems

This love, that dares not warm before its flame
   Our yearning hands, or from its tempting tree
Yield fruit we may consume, or let us claim
   In Hymen's scroll of happy heraldry

CAN we not consecrate
To man and God above
This volume of our great
Supernal tide of love?

THIS is a rune I ravelled in the still,
Arrogant stare of an Australian cow—
‘These prankt intruders of the hornless brow,
Puffed up with strange illusions of their skill

LAST sea-thing dredged by sailor Time from Space,
Are you a drift Sargasso, where the West
In halcyon calm rebuilds her fatal nest?
Or Delos of a coming Sun-God’s race?

OUR manlier spirits hear and will obey
The Word YOU waft Australia o’er the sea—
‘Be true, be brave, be merciful, be free!’
Not you, who, braggart, sent this wan array

Yet what were Love if man remains unfree,
   And woman's sunshine sordid merchandise:
If children's Hope is blasted ere they see
   Its shoots of youth from out the branchlets rise:

Come Jack, our place is with the ruck
On the open road today,
Not with the tepid "footpath sneak"
Or with the wise who stop away.

WHERE is Australia, singer, do you know?
These sordid farms and joyless factories,
Mephitic mines and lanes of pallid woe?
Those ugly towns and cities such as these

HARK! Young Democracy from sleep
Our careless sentries raps:
A backwash from the Future’s deep
Our Evil’s foreland laps.

Sloth (I)
Too many a Samsan lip your teeth indent:
Too many a Sybil girl you lure to make
The Great Refusal for a fireside sake:

THE SUNNY rounds of Earth contain
An obverse to its Day,
Our fertile Vagrancy’s domain,
Wan Proletaria.


Black drips the ooze that you secrete on all
That Honour's burin graves or Love holds dear:
At sacrifice you laugh, at virtue sneer,
And sour rebellion's must, the waking thrall

THEY tell you the poet is useless and empty the sound of his lyre,
That science has made him a phantom, and thinned to a shadow his fire:
Yet reformer has never demolished a dungeon or den of the foe
But the flame of the soul of a poet pulsated in every blow.

A larger Argo ploughs our clearer blue!
Your Zephyr won no such auroral bride
As her I woo! The South is whence the tide
Springs downhill to refresh the North and you!

I know not why I love your baffling face,
Or, lonely, to your cold caresses steal,
Or what the charm persuades my wearied eyes
Follow the clues that gleam and, wavering, go,

Enlaced with gardened jewelry
My basking villas nest
Where sifted sunshine soothes the eye
And cosy hillocks rest.

I wonder if the spell, the mystery,
That like a haze about your silence clings,
Moulding your void until we seem to see
Tangible Presences of Deathless Things,

Trembling Creation's omnipresent sun,
Immanent Harmonist, Whose rhythms run.
Alike where midge pursues his swift romance,
Or grave stars cluster for their midnight dance 1

I am the gift of tongues that flame
Inspired resolve above:
I wither the weeds of paltry aim
That choke the growth of love.

Heard, from the speaking stones that strew
The hillside of Success;
From spheres whose harmonies anew
Can those who listen bless;

Bernard O'Dowd Biography

Bernard Patrick O'Dowd was an Australian activist, educator, poet, journalist, and author of several law books and poetry books. O'Dowd worked as an assistant-librarian and later Chief Parliamentary Draughtsman in the Supreme Court at Melbourne for 48 years; he was also a co-publisher and writer for the radical paper Tocsin. Bernard O'Dowd lived to age 87. Bernard O'Dowd was born in Beaufort, Victoria, Australia in 1866. He was a child prodigy that read Milton's, "Paradise Lost", at age 8. He was employed as a head teacher at a Catholic School in Ballarat, but was dismissed for heresy. He opened up his own school in Beaufort. In 1886, at age 20, he moved to Melbourne where he found employment in 1887 as an Assistant - Librarian in the Supreme Court Library, working for the Victorian colonial and State government until 1935, retiring as Chief Parliamentary Draughtsman. He joined the Melbourne Lyceum, the educational and social arm of the Australian Secular Society in 1886. In 1888, a number of anarchists associated with the A.S.A, who were members of the Melbourne Anarchist club (Australia's first anarchist group formed in 1886) were expelled from the A.S.A. O'Dowd joined the progressive Lyceum, which was made up of the anarchists Monty Miller, Upham, Brookhouse and Nicholls, as well as other radical members who had been expelled from the Melbourne Lyceum. He had become the editor of the Tetor in 1888 just before the split. His poem "Hoist the Flag" Lyceum published in the Lyceum Tutor in 1888, outlined ideas that were very similar to anarchism. O'Dowd had become a friend of the Melbourne anarcho-communist Jack Andrews, and in 1897, O'Dowd and two others set up the radical paper Tocsin. In 1898, he was co-editor of Tocsin with Jack Andrews. He continued to be an editor, contributor and financial supporter of Tocsin until Andrews died of tuberculosis in 1903. During these six years, he published numerous radical poems, and used the pages of the Tocsin to express his opposition to Federation and The Boer War. In 1902, he issued a pamphlet "Conscience and Democracy" which opposed the Boer War. Like Chummy Fleming who protested the opening of the first parliament in 1901, O'Dowd saw grave problems in Federation and wrote a clause by clause critique of the draft Federal Bill. He saw StateFederal rivalry as a future danger to working people. He warned of the unspecified powers given to the Governor General, which were ultimately used by Sir John Kerr, the CIA's 'Our Man in Australia', in dismissing the Whitlam Labor Government in 1975. Between 1903 to 1921, O'Dowd turned his attention to poetry and published six poetry books. Dawnward (1903), The Silent Land (1906), Dominion of the Boundary (1907), The Seven Deadly Sins (1909), The Bush (1912) and Alma Venus (1921). His most well known pamphlet "a plea for purpose in poetry", Poetry Militant, was published in 1909. In it he asks, "Why should poetry be militant nowadays? I hear some ask Because This is an Age of Revolt and Reconstruction, because the Poet is the father and mother of wise rebellion and because he, being in touch with the Infinite, the Permanent is most potent and far-reaching stimulator of Reconstruction". O'Dowd was married and had five sons. In 1920, he left his wife and moved in with Marie Pitt, the editor of the Victorian Socialist and also a poet. He lived with her until her death in 1948. He and Pitt became members of the Unitarian church, denied the trinity and saw the historical Jesus Christ as an anarchist. Although O'Dowd grappled constantly with the conflict between his work for the government and his radical politics, according to the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) "His optimism about human destiny never failed", and a few months before his death at 87, "he affirmed his almost religious belief in anarchist communism.)

The Best Poem Of Bernard O'Dowd

Love's Substitute

This love, that dares not warm before its flame
   Our yearning hands, or from its tempting tree
Yield fruit we may consume, or let us claim
   In Hymen's scroll of happy heraldry
   The twining glyphs of perfect you and me --
May kindle social fires whence curls no blame,
   Find gardens where no fruits forbidden be,
And mottoes weave, unsullied by a shame.

For, love, unmothered Childhood wanly waits
   For such as you to cherish it to Youth:
   Raw social soils untilled need Love's own verve
That Peace a-flower may oust their weedy hates:
   And where Distress would faint from wolfish sleuth
   The perfect lovers' symbol is "We serve!"

Bernard O'Dowd Comments

yttjuh 01 April 2019

hi misstrtytytytygfytyytytytyfrgtytfddsfrtfdf

0 0 Reply

Bernard O'Dowd Popularity

Bernard O'Dowd Popularity

Error Success