Bushed [poem by Kenneth Mackay]

[Editor: This poem by Kenneth Mackay was published in Stirrup Jingles from the Bush and the Turf and Other Rhymes (1887).]

Bushed.

’Tis night once more, my horse is done,
No sign of life is there!
Surely I know that blasted gum —
I’ve seen that hill-top bare.
But why thus strain my wearied eye?
Why need I memory tax?
For there — in yonder basin dry,
I see my morning tracks.
Merciful God! Have pity on me!
Cooee! Cooee! Cooee-ee-ee!

I see my old horse prick his ears;
Is it an answering hail?
All no, alas! He only hears
Some wandering night-bird’s wail.
Oh Christ! And must I perish thus?
’Tis fearful here to die!
What, there again? Hush, old horse, hush!
I’ll give it one more try —
Merciful God! Have pity on me!
Cooee! Cooee! Cooee-ee-ee!

An answer! ’Tis the fiendish bird
That thus derides my pain;
And yet — I thought a voice I heard;
Yes — there it is again!
One effort more, your last and mine,
Truest of friends though dumb;

See through the trees, their torches shine,
At last relief has come!
Merciful God! Thanks unto Thee.
Cooee! Cooee! Cooee-ee-ee!



Source:
Kenneth Mackay, Stirrup Jingles from the Bush and the Turf and Other Rhymes, Sydney: Edwards, Dunlop & Co., 1887, pages 22-23

Editor’s notes:
bushed = lost (especially lost in the bush); not able to find the right direction; confused (may also refer to being exhausted or very tired)

cooee = a prolonged call used by Australian Aborigines to attract attention; the call of “coo-ee” was adopted by Europeans in Australia (also spelt “coo-ee”)

Old spelling in the original text:
thee (you)
tis (it is)

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