Vale, “Crosscut”! [poem by “Dryblower” Murphy, 25 January 1925]

[Editor: A poem by “Dryblower” Murphy about the poet Thomas Henry Wilson, known as “Crosscut”, who died on 10 January 1925. Published in The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 25 January 1925.]

Vale, “Crosscut”!

Ceased is your singing, silent your song,
Good-bye to your galloping rhyme;
Yet shall your verses that lilted along,
Live with the passing of time.
Poem and pastoral, lyric and lay,
Came to your beck and behest;
Tuneful December and musical May,
Ballads of East and of West.
Out on Gallipoli’s holocaust heights,
Blackened by gunpowder grime;
Men knew your poetry’s tenderest flights,
Sung in a stanza sublime.
Though broken in body, out of the wrack
Came you with laughter elate;
A legion that loved you to welcome you back —
Singer, Soldier and Mate!

Simple and strong were the rhymes that you wrote,
Purposeful, pregnant and bold;
Never a base, unbenevolent note,
A sentiment callous and cold.
City and bushland, and Mulgaland mine
Gave your afflatus its fill;
The song of the stamps or the tang of the pine
Were slaves of your wisdom and will.
Tramping the track or astray in a crowd,
They were glad of the grip of your hand;
Your laurels were laid on a pinnacle proud,
Your sonnets a continent spanned.
And though what was human is coffined and clayed,
No epitaph cold could relate
The man that you were, the part that you played,
Singer, Soldier, and Mate!


The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 25 January 1925, p. 17

Editor’s notes:
afflatus = inspiration or creative impulse, especially in art or poetry; inspiration from a heavenly source, such as used in the phrase “divine afflatus” (Latin, blowing or breathing on)

stamp = a heavy mining stamp, large machines used to crush rocks, etc.

wrack = an alternative spelling of “rack”; also: wreck, wreckage, especially a wrecked ship; something destroyed, or a remnant thereof (such as a shipwreck, or a piece of wreckage); collapse, destruction, or ruin (as in the phrase “wrack and ruin”); a group of wind-blown clouds (a cloud rack, or cloud-wrack); seaweed or other marine vegetation which is floating on the sea or which has been washed ashore from the sea (such as Fucus serratus, also known as “toothed wrack” or “serrated wrack”)

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