Treasure Island

Dorothea Mackeller

(1885 - 1968)

My Country


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!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
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.

**

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004
Edited: Monday, September 22, 2008

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Comments about this poem (My Country by Dorothea Mackeller )

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  • John Sharman (9/11/2006 4:41:00 PM)

    one of my favourite poems about Australia, but the word 'ragged' in the second verse was originally written as 'rugged'. A check of the dictionary will show that 'rugged' is more appropriate

    John S (Report) Reply

  • Christine Bartle (9/3/2006 8:56:00 PM)

    I think this is the best poem ever written about Australia. Dorothea had a love for this 'wide brown land' that I share myself. ' I love a sunburnt country' that one line says it all. Brilliant! (Report) Reply

  • Vorn Peace (3/8/2006 2:08:00 AM)

    I love this poem! It tells people what Australia is all about, and how much we love it so. Dorothea Mackeller is one of the many poets who will be remembered thoughout history, for the amazing poems of Austalia they write and how much they love our country. Those who do not live in Australia cannot understand, but think of the love you have for your country, that is what myself and many others feel for Australia!
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo (Report) Reply

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