Address to Mount Bogong

Stentorian mountain, resonant as your name,
I greet you with joy, I greet you, I give you thanks
With joy for being and sounding what you are –
Black whale-back, dugong, sea lion, walrus rising
Out of your element a ponderous island, scattering
In spume the forests dripping from your flanks.

As once I saw, in another world and time,
Atlantic ranges stampeded by the gale
Whelming from dark to dark, from nothing to nothing,
Savagely flecked, self-purposed, and then one wave
Blacker, more huge than all – Well met, O enemy!
So you among your brothers whelm and rise.

Indigenous mountain in your name and nature,
Whose roots suck up their legend from this soil.
An air of breeding haunts the height of Hotham,
Buffalo blows another West than ours,
Salute Kosciusko’s gallant alien laurel!
Your name louder than all echoes and towers.

Your name, that on the Aboriginal tongue
Was food and life, feeds now my hungry ear
With promise of a music bold and strong,
The authentic prophet voices of our land
Joined to mankind. Burred on our speech, your name
Softens to moth. Hear then that older tone,
That Behemoth who drinks the rivers up!
Deep at your root reveal the Sanskrit stock
That yokes your name for ever with the ox,
Man’s early friend. Great Bogong! You I bring
This praise of joy. Rise, lower, and, like a bell,
Utter your name till all the ranges ring.

Poems of Nature