John Philip Bourke

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

With Head Erect I Fought The Fight - Poem by John Philip Bourke

With head erect I fought the fight
Or mingled with the dance,
And now I merge into the night
With utter nonchalance.
We singers standing on the outer rim,
Who touch the fringe of poesy at times
With half-formed thoughts, rough-set in halting rhymes,
Through which no airy flights of fancy skim

We write 'just so,' an hour to while away,
And turn the well-thumbed stock still o'er and o'er,
As men have done a thousand times before,
And will again, just as we do to-day . . .
If I could take that rosebud from its stem,
And weare its petals in a simple rhyme,
So you could hear the bells of springtime chime
And you could see the flower soul in them

Or else, we'll say, a magpie on the limb,
Greeting the sunrise with its matin song
To catch the music as it floats along,
And link its spirit to a bush-child's hymn.
Or, if but then the limitations rise,
Like barriers across the mental plain,
And mists and things obscure the rhymer's brain,
And dull his ears, and cloud his blinking eyes.

And so we write as Nature sets her gauge
No worse than most, and better, p'raps, than some;
But should a man remain for ever dumb
When only rhyming fills his aimless page?

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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