The Country Calls Me [poem by Agnes L. Storrie]

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

The Country Calls Me.

The country calls me,
Not the town,
Where all day long
The people throng
And myriad feet
Impatient beat
An endless pattern on the street.
They come, they go,
How can one know
From whence or why
They hurry by?

They go, they come,
And still the hum
Assaults mine ear.
I hear, I hear
Half-strangled notes
From human throats,
God help them! What is it they say?
And ’mid the roar
I hear the sore
Sore weeping of down-trodden lives,
And worse, ah worse!
I feel the curse
Of vice, exultant as it thrives,
And how am I
To crush it — I,
Whose instinct is to turn and fly?

Alas! the town,
As up and down
It passes, hurrying to its goal,
Is treading, treading, treading on my soul.
The country calls me,
But the town, the town appals me.
The country calls me.

I hear her calling
From far, from far,
Across the blue of the rolling plain
Where the heat-haze shimmers like golden rain,
In silver tones from the hidden creek
Where a bell-bird is dipping his eager beak,
And in whispers, soft as kisses,
From the gorge where the pine grows straight and tall
And the fearless fronds of fern-trees fall
O’er the lips of precipices,
From the wide, sweet breath of her dusky dells
Where a curlew ringeth her nightly knells,
From out of her great, sad, brooding heart
Where never man hath lot or part,
From the wind, from the cloud, from the leafless tree,
From the desert sands where no footprints be,
From her solitude and her mystery
The country calls me.

Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 94-96

Editor’s notes:
appal = to be filled with dismay, horror; or shock; a variant spelling of “appall”

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