The Kookaburras [poem by John O’Brien]

[Editor: This poem by John O’Brien was published in Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, 1921.]

The Kookaburras

Fall the shadows on the gullies, fades the purple from the mountain;
And the day that’s passing outwards down the stairways of the sky,
With its kindly deeds and sordid on its folded page recorded,
Waves a friendly hand across the range to bid the world “good-bye.”
Comes a buoyant peal of laughter from the tall, white, slender timber,
Rugged mirth that floods the bushland with the joy of brotherhood,
With the rustic notes sonorous of a happy laughing chorus,
When the kookaburras bless the world because the world is good.

Oh, ’tis good and clean and wholesome when we take the sheep-track homewards,
And the kindly kitchen chimney flaps its homely bannerets;
All our twigs of effort, shooting golden promise for the fruiting,
Bring a night in peace enfolded that a useful day begets.
Hopeful dreams, their visions weaving, steel our hearts against to-morrow,
And we dare the challenge, strengthened by to-day’s assaults withstood;
Beam the pregnant days before us; and another laughing chorus
Wraps the world in rippling revelry, because the world is good.

Loving eyes to watch our coming, loving arms to twine around us —
Tender tendrils, soft and silken, firmer far than iron stay —
All our little world upholding, gentle hearts and home enfolding.
And a cheery, friendly neighbour dropping in upon his way:
Mellow joy the soul refreshes with the scented breath of heaven,
With the whispered songs of other spheres, hereafter understood:
Angels keep their sure watch o’er us: and another laughing chorus
Flings a vesper blessing round the world, because the world is good.

Published in:
John O’Brien. Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1921


  1. Margaret Bensley says:

    A ‘Leunig’ poem and one of my favourites from my father’s copies of Around the Boree Log and The Parish of St Mels. ‘His Father’ is another beauty, telling the story of relationship between parent and child…somewhat like Cat Stevens’ song Father & Son with the exception being the poem relates the full circle account whereas the song only deals with the butting heads stage in a young man’s development.

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