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The Telegram.

Across the desolation of waste and silent land,
Above a narrow bridle-track grooved in the clogging sand,
And into ridgy country, where stunted grass trees grow,
And by the shallow-bedded creeks where muddy waters flow—
It flies, to move the stoutest heart to sorrow or for weal,
The message of the written thought along the wires of steel.
In hottest night it speeds between the clearings in the scrub,
Along the main road, where the lights are flaring in the pub,
Over the scented timber flats, by sandalwoods in bloom,
Where wallaby flit silently, grey shadows in the gloom;

Or, climbing high the crested hill, it moves along the line
Where bush fires swept the grassy slope about the blackened pine;
And where the bark-walled farmhouse lies, and where the sorghum grows,
And where the wash-pool drafts out sheep as white as mountain snows,
Until by plains of waving grass and bush roads hard and brown,
The message of the wired thought has reached the humming town.
It clicks and clatters to the ears of an impatient clerk,
It leaves upon the running tape the import of its mark,
And once again the pregnant words on paper gathered down,
The message of the written thought goes out into the town.

In uniform of blue and red, the youngster rides the street,
By the smart car and shabby 'bus he hurries, sure and fleet,
Till, where dark firs across the road their slender shadows cast,
The message of the wired thought has found its goal at last.
The hand that grasps it hesitates, the heart that waited fears,
A moment, ere the die is flung for laughter or for tears—
The loved one grasps at life again, and all the dread is o'er—
The dear one who went far afield will touch our lips no more—
So, each day, through the drowsy air, the word that binds or parts
Is flashed across the wind-swept bush to heal or break our hearts.

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