The Singing Garden

The Boobook Owl

C.J. Dennis

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 odours mingle
With the scented camp-fire smoke,
Suddenly my call—

Now a weary swag man 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—

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 days 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—

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