Disinherited [poem by Marie E. J. Pitt]

[Editor: This poem by Marie E. J. Pitt was published in The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses (1911).]

Disinherited.

(Here and there, a little apart from the laughing crowd that surged in the traffic-ways of Melbourne streets during Fleet Week, little groups of Aborigines in gaudy second-hand apparel, stood and watched the illuminations.)

’Mid her radiant raiment of laughter and light,
Of her splendour the pity,
You are drifting like ghosts of the carnival night
Of the beautiful city.

As a wan wind of March when the forest is stirred
With Autumnal foretoken,
You pass, and the lights and the laughter are blurred
With a sorrow unspoken.

Sere Autumn leaves whirled on the eddying stream
Of the conquering races,
Sad elves from a wistful, wild glamour of Dream,
O faces, brown faces!

High over the mirth and the merriment, hark
O’er the gay saturnalia
The cry of a spirit that moans in the dark —
“Australia, Australia!”

The croon of a mother fast clutched by despair
That shall never know healing,
A Hagar’s lament for the child that she bare
Thro’ the music is stealing.

But deep in the dark of your slumbering eyes
Burn no Sibylline traces,
Where the lost Alcheringa fire smoulders and dies,
O faces, brown faces!

Deaf, deaf are your ears to the passion and pain
Of a grief unavailing,
Dumb syllables set to the sobbing refrain
Of swans sunward sailing.

Wild children, sad children, deep whelmed by the roar
Of the tide that effaces,
You shall pass and your forest shall know you no more,
Brown faces! Brown faces!

’Mid her radiant raiment of laughter and light,
Of her splendour the pity,
You are drifting like ghosts of the carnival night
Of the beautiful city.



Source:
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 92-93

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