[Editor: This poem by John O’Brien was published in Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, 1921.]
The Wiree’s Song
The wiree sang that Christmas Day,
A rippling, limpid, liquid lay
In clump and cover trilling;
On ripened grain and gleaming road
The molten, golden sunlight glowed,
The lone land’s rapture stifling.
And health and strength and youth and grace
Were gathered down at Casey’s place
In mirthful mood of madness;
While, hidden in the currajong,
The wiree sang his limpid song,
Responsive to the gladness.
And Mary sparkled everywhere,
The sunlight weaving through her hair
The colours of December;
Ah, two shall strive — but one shall win
And one shall feel the javelin
’Twere poison to remember!
The silent bush that Christmas Day
In molten, golden sunlight lay,
Nor bough nor leaf a-tremble;
All hushed and mute, it scented asleep,
Or wrapped away in musings deep
That sleep itself resemble.
One voice the outer spaces filled —
That lilting lay the wiree trilled,
Like raptures of a lover,
“Wir-ree, Wir-ree, Itchong, Itchong” —
Then rippled through its liquid song,
Leaf-hidden in the cover.
And one has seen the love arise
To shade the light of laughing eyes
Like white clouds in December;
But one has felt the piercing pang
That thrilled the song the wiree sang —
And he shall still remember.
John O’Brien. Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1921
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