Billy Gray [poem by Rex Ingamells]

[Editor: This poem by Rex Ingamells was published in Gumtops (1935).]

Billy Gray

With two sturdy camels,
A life ago,
Billy Gray struck westward
Where sunset’s glow
Gave promises fine,
In fiery stains,
Of easily rifted
Opal-veins.

The months moved slowly
Above his head . . . .
Billy Gray’d earned nothing
But daily bread,
When his first crazed beast
Sank down to die
Beneath the bare desert’s
Burning sky.

The years moved slowly
Across his brow,
While he brought stone eastward . . . .
He does so now.
Yet never a stone
Has Bill Gray grubbed
To bring him a thousand, when
Cut and rubbed.

Though many be camels
He’s lost in quest,
He’s prospecting still
In the gleaming west;
Though grudged is the little
That Fortune yields,
He still grubs his far-off
Opal-fields.

The tan on his features
Grooves deeper yet,
And his hair it whitens
That once was jet;
But ever the same
Is Billy Gray,
A-following his Dream
Of Yesterday.



Source:
Rex Ingamells. Gumtops, F. W. Preece & Sons, Adelaide, 1935, pages 12-13

Editor’s notes:
jet = deeply black, as in the phrase “jet black” (also refers to a densely black coal that is polished and used for jewelry)

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