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Lola Ridge

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The Song of the Bush

(Under Song)

The Australian Bush, that remarkable land of silence, the domain of the Never-Never, has been chronicled by prose writers, who have described its weird enchantment They have spoken eloquently of the great purple distances peopled with the murmuring ghosts of the host of dead aborigine, the babel of the forest leaves unswept by winds, the uncanny stillness that speaks as with a thousand tongues from flitting elfin shadows. Mrs.Ridge, in the "Under Song,” gives us a poet’s appreciation of the great Australian mystery.
   – Editor Overland Monthly.





The mystical, the strong
      Deep-throated Bush,
      Is humming in the hush
Low bars of song:
Far singing in the trees
      In tongues unknown –
      A reminiscent tone
      On minor keys.

Boughs swaying to and fro,
      Though no winds pass,
      Strange odors in the grass
Where no flowers grow,
Faint fluttering of wings,
      And birds' sweet vows,
      Once babbled on the boughs
      Of faded springs.

The murmur in the air
      That ebbs and waves,
      Is music from the graves
Of all things fair;
And mingles in the still
      Of twilight's hush,
      With voices of the Bush
      From swamp and hill.

One seeking through the hush
      Of darkness thrown,
      May hear it through the lone
Grave halls of dusk,
Low ringing in his ears;
      And ponder long
      The meaning of the song
      He faintly hears.


‘The Song of the Bush,’ Overland Monthly 51 (Jun 1908): 540.
See ‘Under Song,’ Verses 1905: 1; ‘Under-Song,’ The Ghetto 1918: 95-96.

Last updated 30 May, 2013