Throughout his writing life, the author returned time and again to themes of nationhood, purpose and national character of his Australian home.
I am so old, oh very old, my children,
Ye that are so young,
Slow in the golden morning sun
He lays them tenderly, one by one,
..By a blue winking sea,
The church stands in a green place,
Green as Calvary.
This mountain means discovery, since the day
I climbed it first in boyhood and alone,
From this rock spine, not three feet wide,
Rivers of a continent divide
Heavy at heart I felt that sombre story
Close in a creeping numbness on my brain;
A worn-out body laid in quiet earth,
Attendant trees, a wattle’s throb of gold,
You may not pass this place. Here you must stop,
Though all the world’s great tides run heedless by
On the mountain-top, before the coming of snow,
The everlastings starred the tufty grass,
Lord of earth and all creation
let your love possess our land;
At first it seemed a trek of migrant ants
climbing the skyline of this great red rock
How name a capital city where kangaroos
stare between leaves, past dome, construction cranes,
Crossing the highway, furtive as a snake,
it slips through bush towards indeterminate hills.
Come down from that Crest! It’s Australia Day, Emu –
We just want to say, mate, how much we esteem you.
Land of the singing light
Light that first I saw
Eighty years and more