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Sunday, 4 July 2004

Happy July 4!

(Originally uploaded by alba.)

Here's my own little July 4 oratory... even though i'm not particularly patriotic, I have met a few Americanos who are, and many Canadians who do things like tattoo the maple leaf flag on themselves in a large, prominent position... not in the "I love Bush/Martin/Howard" way, but rather in the "I love a sunburnt country" way... on that note, here's a poem that most Australian kiddies learn while studying Australian poetry.
My Country by Dorothy McKellar

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where the lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze...

The opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

I'm not sure that the "core of my heart" is my country, but it's certainly in there somewhere.

Posted at 6:36 pm

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