The Way Of The Bush
A night of storm and wind and rain,
by Alice Guerin Crist
Tall trees bowing beneath the blast
That shakes and rattles the window-pane,
And a thunderous roar as the creek goes past.
Inside there a pictures and flowers and books,
And a slim girl-wife with shingled hair;
The lamplight glimmers on cosy nooks,
And Desmond Keene in his easy chair
Thanks God for home and the days toil o’er;
When on the verandah a tramp of feet,
A frenzied knock on the kitchen door
Wondering he goes a neighbour to greet.
“The missus is dyin’ ” poor Simpson says,
‘Down in the ‘orspital-sent for me,
I gathered the kids, and brought ‘’em ‘ere,
I thought your missus might mind ‘em – see!”
“Mind them, of course, and I’ll go with you,
You’ll need a mate on a night like this.”
And soon the neighbours are ‘battling through’
Young Desmond cheered by his wife’s last kiss.
For this is the way of the bush my friends
Neighbourly service prompt at need
Freely given and freely sought,
For the bush recks nothing of caste or creed.
And the young wife’s hands are steady and firm
Though here soft lips tremble in voiceless prayer
As she smooths the wet and tangled curls
Of the young ones left in her gentle care.
There’s a solemn hush in the hospital ward
Where a grey-haired bushman bends in woe
Over the toil-worn face of one
Who has come to the journey we all must go.
But ‘Mother’ still has a smile for him,
And the kind grey eyes show a soul at rest,
While the poor thin hands that have toiled so long
Lie idly now on her quiet breast.
For this is the way of the bush my friends,
To struggle and strive year out year in,
And often to die and leave it all
When the lean years end and the good begin.
They brought her back to the home she loved,
And the neighbours came for miles around,
There were cars and buggies and horses ranged
Round the rough rail fence of the burying ground.
They smothered the children with gifts and tears
In the way of the bush that is dear to God,
And their homely kindness was pure and sweet
As the flowers they placed on the new-turned sod.
Courage and patience and sturdy toil
And kindness unstinted in others’ needs—
How the God that made them must love them all!
For the ‘way of the bush’ is His way indeed.