The Mallee Fire [poem by C.H. Souter]

[Editor: This poem by C.H. Souter was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]

The Mallee Fire.

I suppose it just depends on where you ’re raised.
Once I met a cove as swore by green belar !
Could n’t sight the good old mallee-stump I praised :
Well — I could n’t sight belar, and there you are !

But the faces in the fire where the mallee-stump’s a-blinking
Are the friendliest I ever seen, to my way o’ thinking !

In the city where the fires is mostly coal —
There ! I can’t abear to go and warm my feet !
Spitting, fizzing things as has n’t got no soul !
Things as puffs out yaller smoke instead of heat !

But at home — well, it is home when the mallee-stump ’s a-burning,
And the evening’s drawing chilly and the season is a- turning !

And there’s some as runs them down because they’re tough.
Well? And what’s the good of anythink as ain’t ?
No. It ’s nary use to serve ’em any bluff,
For they ’d use up all the patience of a saint.

But they ’ll split as sweet as sugar if you know the way to take ’em.
If you don’t there isn’t nothink in the world as ’ll make ’em !

They’re tremenjus hard to kindle, tho’, at first :
Like a friendship of the kind as comes to stay.
You can blow and blow and blow until you burst,
And when they won’t, they won’t burn, anyway !

But when once they gets a start, tho’ they make no showy flashes,
Well, they ’ll serve you true and honest to the last pinch of ashes !

C. H. Souter.

A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 152-153

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