Yenra : Quotations : Australian Poetry Quotations : Brief selections of Australian verse


From The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, Chosen by Les A. Murray. Oxford UP, 1986. Melbourne.

Ian Mudie (1911-1976):

This Land

Give me a harsh land to wring music from,
brown hills, and dust, with dead grass
straw to my bricks.

Give me words that are cutting-harsh
as wattle-bird notes in dusty gums
crying at noon.

Give me a harsh land, a land that
swings, like heart and blood,
from heat to mist.

Give me a land that like my heart
scorches its flowers of spring,
then floods upon its summer ardour.

Give me a land where rain
is rain that would beat high heads low.
Where wind howls at the windows
and patters dust on tin roofs
while it hides the summer sun
in a mud-red shirt.

Give my words sun and rain,
desert and heat and mist,
spring flowers, and dead grass,
blue sea and dusty sky,

song-birds and harsh cries,
strength and austerity
that this land has.

Richard Allen (b. 1960):

Epitaph for the Western Intelligentsia

what we come round to
in the end
is that all our thinking
has brought us nowhere

that the trail-blazing journey
has ended where it began
that thought is at best
a protection against further thought

that the heathens we sought to save
the masses to educate
need neither our salvation
nor our education

that we therefore
serve no particular purpose
perform no particular function
have no particular place to go

& we roll to the ground
& we cry out like children
& we bark like dogs
& we learn to wag our tails

Jennifer Rankin, The Sea and other stories

"struggling with moonrise and storms" (314).

"I watched from my deck chair. My brother is calling.

Three sailors are climbing the cliff" (315).

Judith Rodrigues:

"I smile up Madison's

bright miles, among crowds changingly beautiful."