Illawarra [poem by Philip Durham Lorimer]

[Editor: This poem by Philip Durham Lorimer was published in Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, 1901.]


I know of a place where my love cannot die,
In the depths of my nature it gleams,
So tenderly kissed by the smiles of the sky
Into magic of fairy-land dreams.
Unknown to the sight of the world and its press,
There in spirit I happily find
A joy ev’ry day, or some beauty to bless
The wondering depths of my mind.

Each morning when there I can breathe the new air
As it comes from its birth on the hills ;
I can hear its sweet song as my own I prepare
To the tune of the rippling rills ;
To the melody sweet as it drifts through the leaves
On the boughs overhead with the breeze ;
And mingling along in its flight, it receives
Ev’ry song at its birth from the trees.

My love cannot die, for on Beauty I rest,
While my heart she can win in return ;
For I dream of her still on her beautiful breast,
And in sleep I delightfully learn
How tender her touch in the aisles of the wood,
Where the flower is upraised by her glance ;
How freely she gives me food rich and good
Which brings to my soul a sweet trance.

And still as I sing, with my thoughts without rein,
As I gaze in the eyes of my love,
I am Nature’s own child, and I warble each strain
With her God as my guardian above.
She kissed me at birth, and I clung to her breast,
While I lived in the joys of her bowers,
Till she led me on here, with her charms for a rest,
To the land that is gay with her flowers !

Delight is a friend, if we use it aright,
When we hold up our hearts to the sun,
Though shades may be sought to relieve our weak sight
Ere the half of our journey is done.
But here as I sit my delight is abroad,
On its wing ev’ry wonder to trace ;
It brings to my soul the full presence of God,
And my joy is now bright on my face.

And I think you may wish to discover now where
Is that place where my love cannot die,
Where the moments are passed in a paradise rare,
’Neath the dome of a beautiful sky.
’Tis out in the wilds, in a range near the sea,
Where the slopes ever turn to the sun,
Where the birds in the forests make music for me
Ere the heat of the day has begun ;

Where cedars with oaks and the ’possum-wood grow,
As companions to palms that are rare ;
Where thickets are dense, and the evening’s glow
Is alive with sweet songs in the air ;
Where turpentine trees shadow streams that are clear,
As they hurry away to the sea ; —
Oh ! love cannot die, and there’s none held so dear
As thy name, Illawarra, by me !

Inverell, March 28, 1895.

E. A. Petherick (editor). Songs and Verses by Philip Durham Lorimer: An Australian Bush Poet, William Clowes and Sons, London, 1901, pages 225-227

Editor’s notes:
’possum-wood = from the tree “Quintinia sieberi”, known as the Possumwood, mostly found in rainforests at high altitudes in eastern Australia

rill = a very small brook, creek or stream (a rivulet)

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