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The Vision Of Merungle (1935)

(BY JIM GRAHAME, for the "Irrigator")

The digger scanned the sky,
As far as he could see;
And on the horizon,
Where sunlight used to be
A dark cloud dimmed the sky,
Low-hanging like a pall
Ill-omened, sinister,
Like writing on a wall.

He glimpsed a message there--
A dark, foreboding sign,
And stood as one bemused
And read it line by line.
He shuddered as he read,
For he was getting old,
And quaked in dire alarm--
For this is what it told.

"What of the sustenance?
Fallen are you from grace,
Gone is the silver spoon
The thong is in its place.
Gone are the days of ease,
When the tape was long and red,
Sure were you a loan--
A roof above your head.

Gone are the old fat years
When milk and honey flowed;
Kathleen Mavourneen terms
For worldly goods bestowed.
Through many fitful years
A haven was the land;
But now the reckoning
Is mighty close at hand.

The milking cow is dry,
Hard fate has called a halt;
Now tabled are the cards
No matter whose the fault."
And long and long he read
'Till came another sign
In letters red as blood--
He read them line by line.

Bold were the words, and clear
Almost the sky aspan,
Blotting the morning sun
Plainly the warning ran:
"Soon will the jingoes rave
Screaming their battle cry,
Fish-blooded profiteers
Waving their flags on high.

Promise of moon and stars
As troops go tramping past;
Loudly they'll urge them on
Drowning the bugle's blast.
Rivers of wine will run
Gaily the bands will play
(Ah! There'll be tears aflow)
As the troops sail away.


From the Leeton NSW newspaper the Murrumbidgee Irrigator Friday 6 September 1935, p. 1.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory