[Editor: This poem about W. T. Goodge was published in The Illawarra Mercury, 21 December 1909.]
In Memoriam: W. T. Goodge.
He watched those faces round the camp —
The miner, drover, bushman, tramp —
And sealed their stories with his stamp.
And in some circulating page
The actors found a wider stage,
And sang within a larger cage.
We listen’d and we heard the strain
Of love or sorrow, joy or pain;
So old, and yet so fresh again.
We know by some far distant shore
We’ve heard those sparkling tales before;
What is it makes us love them more?
Goodge — that’s the man! He gave them power
And brightness of a fresh-blown flower,
And merry made a lonely hour.
The little lives around us set,
All but our own we soon, forget,
He made them living with us yet.
And now his little life is o’er,
And here beside this southern shore
The red dust gathers round my door;
Blown from the dry hot western plain
The humor of a desert rain,
By tracks he will not tread again.
Nor mark the fierce dim sun o’erhead,
When drought is nigh and hope has fled,
The living humor of the dead.
Poor Goodge! Who drew life’s varied scene,
Some darker shades you too have seen,
And brighter tints that “might have been.”
Take this poor tribute for those hours
In which you changed our weeds for flowers,
And brighter made this world of ours.
The Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW), 21 December 1909, p. 4
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
o’erhead = overhead