Banjo Paterson

(17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941 / New South Wales)

Hawker, The Standard Bearer - Poem by Banjo Paterson

The grey gull sat on a floating whale,
On a floating whale sat he,
And he told his tale of the storm and the gale,
And the ships that he saw with steam and sail,
As he flew by the Northern Sea.
"I have seen a sign that is strange and new,
That I never before did see:
A flying ship that roared as it flew,
The storm and the tempest driving through,
It carried a flag and it carried a crew,
Now what would that be?" said he.

"And the flag was a Jack with stars displayed,
A flag that is new to me;
For it does not ply in the Northern trade,
But it drove through the storm-wrack unafraid,
Now, what is that flag?" said he.

"I have seen that flag that is starred with white,"
Said a southern gull, said he,
"And saw it fly in a bloody fight,
When the raider Emden turned in flight,
And crashed on the Cocos lee."

"And who are these folk whose flag is first
Of all the flags that fly
To dare the storm and the fog accurst,
Of the great North Sea where the bergs are nursed,
And the Northern Lights ride high?"

"The Australian folk," said a lone sea-mew,
"The Australian flag," said he.
"It is strange that a folk that is far and few
Should fly their flag where there never flew
Another flag!" said he.

"I have followed their flag in the fields of France,
With its white stars flying free,
And no misfortune and no mischance
Could turn them back from their line of advance,
Or the line that they held," said he.

"Whenever there's ever rule to break,
Wherever they oughtn't to be,
With a death to dare and a risk to take,
A track to find or a way to make,
You will find them there," said he.

"They come from a land that is parched with thirst,
An inland land," said he,
"On risk and danger their breed is nursed,
And thus it happens their flag is first
To fly in the Northern Sea."

"Though Hawker perished, he overcame
The risks of the storm and the sea,
And his name shall be written in stars of flame,
On the topmost walls of the Temple of Fame,
For the rest of the world to see."


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Read poems about / on: sea, fog, death, world, star



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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