The English Blackbird [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in The Singing Garden (1935).]

The English Blackbird

Sweet singer of an older land;
Thro’ countless centuries
A greener and a colder land
Loved well by melodies;
And with her venturers came I
To seek beneath a sunny sky
A home, and croon my lullaby
Amid these alien trees.

No interloper, scorning here
The unfamiliar way;
No exile, ever mourning here
Joys of an older day;
The feathered folk have welcomed me
Into their joyous company
To join their chorus, fluting free
My ever liquid lay.

At dawning and at evening
Up from the gully floats
My song, a gentle leavening
To wilder woodland notes —
Up from the gully ’mid the gums
Where mountain torrents roll their drums
I join the chorusing that comes
From twice a hundred throats.

Alien no longer, merrily
My melodies I’ve brought;
The bushland offers cheerily
The sanctu’ry I’ve sought.
And, where the swift creek sings and turns
’Mid wattle-trees and nodding ferns,
My brood awakens and relearns
The songs old England taught.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 45-46

Editor’s notes:
lay = song, tune; ballad (may also refer to ballads or narrative poems, as sung by medieval minstrels or bards)

’mid = an abbreviation of “amid” or “amidst”: of or in the middle of an area, group, position, etc.

venturer = adventurer; someone who ventures; explorer; traveller (may also refer to someone who takes part in a business venture)

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