― 16 ―

The Bush Girl

So you rode from the range where your brothers select,
Through the ghostly, grey Bush in the dawn—
You rode slowly at first, lest her heart should suspect
That you were so glad to be gone;
You had scarcely the courage to glance back at her
By the homestead receding from view,
And you breathed with relief as you rounded the spur,
For the world was a wide world to you.

Grey eyes that grow sadder than sunset or rain,
Fond heart that is ever more true,
Firm faith that grows firmer for watching in vain—
She'll wait by the slip-rails for you.

  ― 17 ―
Ah! the world is a new and a wide one to you,
But the world to your sweetheart is shut,
For a change never comes to the lonely Bush homes
Of the stockyard, the scrub, and the hut;
And the only relief from its dulness she feels
When the ridges grow softened and dim,
And away in the dusk to the slip-rails she steals
To dream of past hours ‘with him.’

Do you think, where, in place of bare fences, dry creeks,
Clear streams and green hedges are seen—
Where the girls have the lily and rose in their cheeks,
And the grass in mid-summer is green—
Do you think, now and then, now or then, in the whirl
Of the town life, while London is new,
Of the hut in the Bush and the freckled-faced girl
Who waits by the slip-rails for you?

Grey eyes that are sadder than sunset or rain,
Bruised heart that is ever more true,
Fond faith that is firmer for trusting in vain—
She waits by the slip-rails for you.