Oh, there were fifteen men in green,
Each with a tommy-gun,
Who leapt into my plane at dawn;
We rose to meet the sun.
The sun was in the summer grass,
the Coolibahs* were twisted steel;
the stockman paused beneath their shade
and sat upon his heel,
Beachcomber on the shores of tears
Limning the gestures of defeat
In dancers, whores, and opera-stars –
The lonely, lighted various street
The cruel girls we loved
Are over forty,
Their subtle daughters
Have stolen their beauty;
I sat beside the red stock route
and chewed a blade of bitter grass
and saw in mirage on the plain
a bullock wagon pass.
Oh, Bill and Joe to the north have gone,
A green shirt on their back;
There are not many ewes and lambs
Along Kokoda track.
What ancestors unite
Here in this red and white
Kelpie to define
His symmetry of line,
Her green eyes change to yellow. This
Is open season. In a glass maze
Lovers play a cat and mouse.
Good cat! He coaxes sparks from her fur.