John Philip Bourke

(5 August 1860 – 13 January 1914 / New South Wales / Australia)

Upon The Pad To Carey - Poem by John Philip Bourke

They coiled the drams and filled the bags.
And whistled loud and gaily,
For now the rush was on at last
They'd been expecting daily ;
It lay beneath the northern star,
And watchful men and wary
Struck outward for the light afar
That beaconed on to Carey.

They'd rocked and riddled, dip and bar
And cursed the day they landed,
For luck, from Cue to Kurawa,
Had kept them fairly stranded.
But Rumor, often false as fleet,
This time had' brought no 'fairy,'
For gold, like spuds at Burrumbeep
Lay in the mud at Carey.

But weary days and goanna holes,
And spinifex, and sandal,
Wore such a darkness round their souls,
They had to light a candle;
In fact they weren't half as glad,
Nor light, and bright, and airy,
As on the day they struck the pad -
That blanky pad to Carey.

And soon, alas ! their lenten meals
Still shorter grew and shorter;
They pricked the blisters on their heels -
Their last supply of water.
And some grew of a prayerful mood,
Whilst sinners, lank and hairy,
Spat curses red at every rood
Upon the pad to Carey.

At last these heroes of the West -
This gallant band and hardy-.
Were sung to sleep that held no rest
By bell bird and by bardi ;
And midst the desert twilight-dim,
The obsequies to vary,
A crow cawed from a wambush limb
Beside the pad to Carey.

» Let those who scoff and those who doubt
This tragic tale of sorrow,
Just ask the 'man from, furthest out' -
The first they meet to-morrow -
Of grisly forms of skin and bone,
And ghostly shapes and eerie,
That haunt the death-like monotone
That rings the shores of Carey

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 21, 2012

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