New Country

A poem by Mary Hannay Foott

Condè had come with us all the way,
Eight hundred miles, but the fortnight’s rest
Made him fresh as a youngster, the sturdy bay!
And Lurline was looking her very best.

Weary and footsore, the cattle strayed
’Mid the silvery saltbush well content;
Where the creeks lay cool ’neath the gidya’s1 shade
The stock-horses clustered, travel-spent.

In the bright spring morning we left them all
Camp, and cattle, and white, and black
And rode for the Range’s westward fall,
Where the dingo’s trail was the only track.

Slow through the clay-pans,2 wet to the knee,
With the cane-grass rustling overhead;
Swift o’er the plains with never a tree;
Up the cliffs by a torrent’s bed.

Bridle on arm for a mile or more
We toiled, ere we reached Bindanna’s verge
And saw, as one sees a far-off shore,
The blue hills bounding the forest surge.

An ocean of trees, by the west wind stirred,
Rolled, ever rolled, to the great cliff’s base;
And its sound like the noise of waves was heard
’Mid the rocks and the caves of that lonely place.

- - - - - -

We recked not of wealth in stream or soil
As we heard on the heights the breezes sing;
We felt no longer our travel-toil;
We feared no more what the years might bring.

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