So I sit and write and ponder, while the house is deaf and dumb,
Seeing visions "over yonder" of the war I know must come.
In the corner - not a vision - but a sign for coming days
Stand a box of ammunition and a rifle in green baize.
The old year went, and the new returned, in the withering weeks of drought,
The cheque was spent that the shearer earned,
and the sheds were all cut out;
The publican's words were short and few,
Wide lies Australia! The seas that surround her
Flow for her unity – all states in one.
Never has Custom nor Tyranny bound her –
Never was conquest so peacefully won.
The squatter saw his pastures wide
Decrease, as one by one
The farmers moving to the west
I am back from up the country -- very sorry that I went --
Seeking for the Southern poets' land whereon to pitch my tent;
I have lost a lot of idols, which were broken on the track,
As it was in the beginning, so we’ll find it in the end,
For a lover, or a brother, or a sweetheart, or a friend;
As it was in the beginning, so we’ll find it by-and-bye,
Jack Denver died on Talbragar when Christmas Eve began,
And there was sorrow round the place, for Denver was a man;
Jack Denver's wife bowed down her head -- her daughter's grief was wild,
Have you seen the bush by moonlight, from the train, go running by?
Blackened log and stump and sapling, ghostly trees all dead and dry;
Here a patch of glassy water; there a glimpse of mystic sky?
Have you heard the still voice calling – yet so warm, and yet so cold:
Spirit girl to whom 'twas given
To revisit scenes of pain,
From the hell I thought was Heaven
You have lifted me again;
Though poor and in trouble I wander alone,
With rebel cockade in my hat,
Though friends may desert me, and kindred disown,
My country will never do that!