[Editor: A poem by Roderic Quinn.]
The Border Route
Nursed onward weary mile on mile
A laggard mob and slow,
Along the dusty Border route
The travelling wethers go.
The grassless earth, made bare by drought,
Burns hot beneath their feet;
A sun-browned drover rides behind,
Red-eyed with dust and heat.
Grey fences stretch on either side,
The sun fierce radiance pours
Upon their backs, while overhead,
Wide-winged, an eagle soars.
Around about them, far and wide,
The plains lie still and mute;
Three weeks with little rest between
They’ve trudged the Border route.
When stars take up the vigil-task
Abandoned by the sun,
They’ll camp to-night, another stage
Of heat and famine done.
Maybe, they’ll dream of Mitchell grass —
Tall grass and cooling streams,
While he who rides behind dreams, too,
A lonely drover’s dreams.
— Roderic Quinn.
The Worker (Brisbane, Qld.), Thursday 15 January 1925, page 3
laggard = someone who lags behind; a dawdler, a straggler
wethers = castrated rams