Katoomba [poem by Mary E. Richmond, 1903]

[Editor: Mary E. Richmond was a New Zealander who visited Australia in 1897, and wrote several poems about the places she visited, later published in her book Poems (1903).]


(A gorge in the Blue Mountains, N.S.W.)

O strange Katoomba ! did the savage creep,
Who saw thee first, up some dark waterway,
Under dense foliage to the upper day,
And turning gaze upon the conquered steep ?

Did he behold the rivulets that leap
Down the brown rocks, in shining clouds of spray,
And far below, the olive, rose, and grey
Of dim Australian woods in noontide sleep ?

Or did he sail here in his light canoe,
When ocean filled these valleys deep and wide,
And round about these cliffs great seabirds flew ?

Then all these hill tops shewed like islands fair,
These clefts and chasms felt the echoing tide,
And far below the mermaids combed their hair.

Mary E. Richmond. Poems, Elkin Mathews, London, 1903, pages 79-80

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