My Country [poem by Agnes L. Storrie]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes L. Storrie was published in Poems, 1909.]

My Country.

Sod sown with happy little flower faces,
Singing of shallow creeks in ti-tree shaded places,

Giant boles of ragged bark in chocolate soils embedded,
Flickering gleams of shine and shade on laughing breezes threaded,

Golden rain of wattle, fairy globes of perfumed splendour
Waking wordless harmonies, and childish longings tender,

This was My Country, cradle, home, Australia, the nearest
To Paradise of all the earth, my country, best and dearest.

Then, rising through these rosy mists, a clearer, sharper vision,
A definite conception soon emerging with precision,

My Country, now no longer just a place for happy living,
But asking more, and in return a poignant rapture giving,

My Country, mine, yet other, strange, and may be hostile nations,
Mine only one of many composite creations.

Yet mine, more mine! hot blood aflame, asking just to defend her
And the dear sum of all my joy unshrinkingly to lend her,

For so the young heart seeks to pour its own insurgent glory
Into a splendid deed, and write its memorable story

In letters that itself can read by native intuition,
And through its own fused passions bring ideals to fruition.

My Country! as she lies within the circling arms of ocean
The thought of her was islanded in the deeps of my emotion,

And like her matchless cobalt skies my spirit brooded over
As broods the deeper instincts in the passion of a lover,

And from the warm moist pregnant soil teeming with seeds of beauty
There germinated one live plant — the thin straight stalk of Duty.

My Country is myself, in me she falls or is exalted.
I am a grain of the true salt wherewith she must be salted.

I am my country, and in me her spirit is reflected,
My character and hers are indissolubly connected.

This is the lesson that I learned, a sharp one and a bitter,
The naked path of honour, stripped of its metricious glitter,

An ardent love of country lighted by poetic fervour,
But with the deeper knowledge that to love her is to serve her

Not only when by foes beset her need becomes my honour,
Not only when I openly may spend my best upon her,

But through slow years of peace wherein her life in mine I nourish
And she must sink, as sink my aims, or flourish as they flourish.

The Patriot is no sudden flower that war’s red soil produces
Spontaneously, long years the seed lies ripening for its uses

In silence and obscurity, its life shut fast within it
Till the heroic moment brings the hero forth to win it.

To sow this seed, and foster it with every high endeavour
That deep beneath all other thoughts its roots may live for ever,

This is the patriotic love with which I would possess her,
My Country! kernel of my heart! Australia! God bless her!

Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 177-180

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