I Love a Sunburnt Country

It will come as no surprise to readers of the archive that I love my country.

Sometimes a few of my fellow countrymen aggravate me. More often I am proud of the tasks they accomplish.

Yet to me Australia is not just people. It is a living, breathing, cantankerous continent. With resources and wonderful vistas where mankind has touched lightly upon its surface.

Even today with people dying in the increasingly serious Queensland floods and property and livestock being destroyed in Western Australia’s bush fires. True heroism is being shown by all the police, fireys, defence personnel and volunteers who are helping in terrible conditions.

I love my country. As did Dorothea Mackellar who wrote the poem below.

I love every part of this poem. Yet the line which is running through my head today is “Her beauty and her terror.”

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Thanks to @lakitambourke for the original thought which went on to produce this post.

3 responses to “I Love a Sunburnt Country

  1. The longer I live here, the more I understand and appreciate that poem.

    Pictures coming out of Brissie today are appalling.


  2. (wipes tears from eyes) My country as well … and I’d never, ever live anywhere else. I know why my great-great-great-grandfathers came … and stayed! And I thank them.


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