The Singing Garden

The Coachwhip Bird

C.J. Dennis

EARLY on a soft spring morning
    As the dawn climbs up the sky,
With its radiant light adorning
    Hill and tree-top, here am I,
Urging on my phantom horses
    Where no road has ever run,
And the laughing river courses
    Merrily from shade to sun.

Ere the earliest sun-shafts peeping
    Paint the gum-trees’ furthest tip,
I arouse the bush from sleeping
    With the cracking of my whip.
First a long-drawn swish ascending,
    Then, as it swells to the crack,
Like an echo at its ending,
    Promptly my hen twitters back.

Crest erect and proud tail spreading,
    Perched upon a myrtle-tree.
I am coachman at a wedding
    In a cockade and livery.
For now wed with soft embraces
    Ardent sun and blushing earth;
While my team tugs at the traces
    To the kookaburra’s mirth.

You may hear the coach wheels rumbling
    Over stones upon the road
In the mountain waters tumbling
    By my trackless bush abode.
Tumbling by green banks and ferny.
    Who’s awake? The hour grows late,
Who begins the glad day’s journey?
    All aboard! The horses wait.

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