(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

The Boobook Owl

Not for any airs and graces
When, to lonely, silent places
Men return in memory,
Come these kindly thoughts of me.
But they hear again my calling
Where the dappled moonlight, falling
Mid the shadows of the gums,
Weaves strange patterns; and there comes,
Blending with the hobble's jingle,
As the faint bush odors mingle
With the smell of wood-fire smoke,
Suddenly my call - 'Mo-poke!'

Now a weary swagman camping
After miles of mountain tramping;
Now, mid spinifex and sand,
A drover of the overland;
Now a timber-getter sitting
In his hut, the firelight flitting
O'er his old face, lost in dreams;
Now the man who punches teams
Where the blacksoil plains go rolling;
Now a fossicker, pot-holing,
Hopeful ever, ever broke
Hears me in the night - 'Mo-poke!'

Never while one bushland lover
Camps beneath the great sky's cover,
And my call comes once again
To the ears of lonely men:
Never while to silent places
Memory of old day traces
Olden pictures in the fire,
And men dream of youth's desire,
Dream again of youth's high daring:
Never while men yet go faring
Forth beyond the ken of folk,
Shall my night call fail - 'Mo-poke!'

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