Dowell O'Reilly

(18 July 1865 - 5 November 1923 / Sydney / Australia)

Australia


WHAT can we give in return
For her beauty and mystery
Of flowering forest, infinite plain,
Deep sky and distant mountain-chain,
And her triumphant sea,
Thundering old songs of liberty?

Love—steadfast as her stars,
And passionate as her sun,
And joyous as the winds, that fling
The golden petals of her spring
By gully, spur, and run,
On dreaming age, and little one:

Courage—when courage fails
In the blind smoke and pain
Of raging fire, and lurid sky,
And dumb thirst-driven agony—
Till river and creek again
Swirl seaward through the teeming rain.

Faith—wild flower of the soul,
Thrilling the breathless night
With fragrance, and the desolate ways
Where silence fears to whisper praise,
With radiant delight
Of wonder—worship in God’s sight.

Duty—O great white stars,
And glorious red cross, shine
On victory, when, rushing forth
Against the peril of the North,
Australia’s battle-line
Flings out Trafalgar’s deathless sign.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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