[Editor: A poem by George W. Ayliffe, an expatriate Australian living in Penang (now part of Malaysia). Published in The Register, 3 July 1906.]
To a Sprig of Wattle!
From “Geo. W. Ayliffe,” Penang, Straits Settlements:—
Oh, Little Sprig-o’-Wattle! You came from a land afar,
Where the magpies wild are calling, and the well-fed cattle are;
Where the foals are running races, and the buttercups still bloom —
You came across the ocean wide to cheer an exile’s gloom.
You tell me of a father, so old, but ah! so dear;
You whisper of a mother — Do you blame me for the tear?
And I know the hand that plucked you, oh, the maid is dear to me,
And I would that I were with them in my homeland o’er the sea.
Oh, answer, Sprig-o’-Wattle! Ere you left that land so dear,
Was there one who ever sighed for me? Was there one who shed a tear?
Or have they all forgotten me — an exile far away?
Oh, tell me, Sprig-o’-Wattle, are they happy, are they gay?
You set my thoughts a-turning to the days of long ago,
And I wonder, are they living, the friends I used to know?
Do they tread the old familiar paths we trod in days of old?
Or have they, like their comrade, wandered off in quest of gold?
* * * * * *
Oh, little Sprig-o’-Wattle, I’m going home again;
I’ve had my fill of roaming, and my search has been in vain.
And I hear the magpies calling, and it’s there that I would be,
Where the golden wattles blossom in my Homeland o’er the sea.
The Register (Adelaide, SA), 3 July 1906, p. 7
Also published in:
The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld.), 8 September 1906, p. 8