Ballad of the Drums [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

Ballad of the Drums

Lo ! the thresher-drums are booming ’mid the hills at early morning —
’Tis the wheat that’s rolling mill-ward in a tawny, yellow stream !
Near the dawn our engine-whistles give their hasty toots of warning,
And the sheaves fly from the stack-tops as our pitchforks flash and gleam !
Marching down the teeming valley of the winding Wannon River —
Marching down upon the harvest that is waiting for our tread ;
Ho ! our threshers lift their drum-notes when the heat-rays dance and quiver —
Aye ! our drums throb on like thunder when the sun flames overhead !

Hear the music — roaring music that our rolling drums are playing
’Tis the Anthem of a Nation that is marching bravely on !
In mine ear the roaring threshers are forever grandly saying :
“March ! Australians — fight and conquer — care is dead, and fear is gone !”
As I tend my rocking engine all the world rolls on in glory —
Lo ! the pistons and the fly-wheel sing a splendid marching song ;
Aye they tell me that my country shall be famous yet in story —
For the wheat shall raise up Workers for the Nation stout and strong !

Ho ! my “blues” may be all oily, but I feel a king, right royal —
And my oil-can is a sceptre that controls the mighty earth !
Lo ! I thresh the food for millions — for the millions true and loyal —
And my hand hath fed the people in the days of drought and dearth !
There are kingships waiting for you on the thresher decks, my brothers —
Yea, the thresher deck were better than a crumbling, effete Throne ;
They are kings who flail the wheat out to sustain the hungry others —
And the drums extol our kingship in a roaring, major tone !

We are kings who rule in earnest — lo ! the mills are waiting for us —
We control the vastest kingdom that the world has ever seen ;
All the world strains for the music that we thunder forth in chorus —
For it lives upon the substance that we sweaty monarchs glean !
Better far to rule in denim than to rot in purple vestures —
Aye, the wheat-stacks left behind us are the Symbol of our might.
Let the politicians wrangle — let them make their signs and gestures —
For the men who feed the people are the kings in solid right !

Lo ! the thresher-drums are booming ’mid the hills at early morning —
’Tis the Wheat that’s rolling mill-ward in a tawny, yellow stream !
Near the dawn our engine-whistles give their hasty toots of warning,
And the sheaves fly from the stack-tops as our pitchforks flash and gleam !
Marching down the teeming valley of the winding Wannon River —
Marching down upon the Harvest that is waiting for our tread ;
Ho! our threshers lift their drum-notes when the heat-rays dance and quiver —
Aye! our Drums throb on like thunder when the sun flames overhead !




Source:
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 14-17

Speak Your Mind

*