[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]
The Western Road
There’s a Road goes west o’ Sydney, o’er the rugged mountain-tiers ;
But the Nation is not marching — Progress stands by Sydney’s piers !
For Her feet are chained and shackled, and She looks with yearning eyes
Towards the Road that stretches westward, where Australia’s future lies !
Progress waits in ancient shackles —
They have tied Her there with tackles,
While the Western Road is calling, Progress beats
Her breast and sighs !
There’s another Road that stretches from a City by the sea ;
But I hear that Nation marching — Progress there is fair and free !
Though Her eager feet were fettered for a hundred galling years,
Progress gained at last Her freedom, and She crossed the mountain-tiers !
Progress passed the Hudson River —
Now the steel-mills clang and quiver,
While that Western Road is roaring with the freight that seeks the piers !
When that Road led west of Harlem, west o’ Broadway and the quays,
Lo, the thund’ring mills of Pittsburg flung their challenge over-seas !
Progress, freed from olden bondage, towards the future led the way ;
And the Men Who Followed After built the mighty U.S.A.
They were Makers, Nation-Makers —
They were strong tradition-breakers,
And the Road they built from Harlem ends at San Francisco Bay !
There’s a Road goes west o’ Sydney, but our by-gone, shameless seers
Bade this Nation cease from marching, chaining Progress by the piers !
So . . . it’s time we broke Her fetters — ancient fetters that corrode
It is time we paid the gaolers the blood debt we long have owed.
For Her eyes are westward yearning —
It is time for fetich-spurning,
And the Nation’s freights should thunder on Australia’s Western Road !
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 147-148
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