The Hot Place [poem, 30 August 1905]

[Editor: A poem comparing the hot spells of Australia and London; originally published in England.]

The Hot Place.

The Darling River runs between
Long plains aglow with heat,
The climate of that Western land
Is very hard to beat ;
Out there the callow emu birds
Have blisters on their feet.

The Murrumbidgee flows by Hay,
And Hay is third from Hell.
And Booligal comes in between —
(The Cornstalks know this well).
There is a thirst in Riverine
Of which the poets tell.

The Bogan pine trees catch alight
When summer breezes pass,
And send the roaring flames abroad
To eat the precious grass,
And to cremate the precious sheep
That are the squatters’ “brass.”

I’ve ridden where the Darling winds,
I’ve driven down the Bland,
And I know well the awful heat
Of all that Western land —
Which no man knows who has not felt,
Nor can he understand.

I’ve been in Hay, and I have known
That dire and dreadful thirst
That takes the strong man in its grip,
And sets him “on the burst.”
But here, in ancient London town,
O, I have found the worst.

Of Bourke, and Hay, and Booligal,
Let sweating poets sing
It is by yellow, flowing Thames
You find the real thing.
The stale, dead days that June, July,
And swelt’ring August bring.

The gleaming plains are nothing much,
Compared to London’s clime —
When eighty in the shade the glass
Records in summer time ;
One fifteen out at Bourke is not
A subject for a rhyme.

O gracious fate, I beg that you
Will take me far away,
And plant me down in Booligal,
Or, even better, Hay
Where heat like this is never found,
Whatever poets say.

— J. H. M. A., in the “British-Australasian,” London.

The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), Wednesday 30 August 1905, page 22

Also published in:
The Clipper (Hobart, Tas.) Saturday 7 October 1905, page 1

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