From The Old Whim Horse by Edward Dyson


He’s an old grey horse, with his head bowed sadly,

And with dim old eyes and a queer roll aft,

With the off-fore sprung and the hind screwed badly

And he bears all over the brands of graft;

And he lifts his head from the grass to wonder

Why by night and day now the whim is still,

Why the silence is, and the stampers’ thunder

Sounds forth no more from the shattered mill.

In that whim he worked when the night winds bellowed

On the riven summit of Giant’s Hand,

And by day when prodigal Spring had yellowed

All the wide, long sweep of enchanted land;

And he knew his shift, and the whistle’s warning,

And he knew the calls of the boys below;

Through the years, unbidden, at night or morning,

He had taken his stand by the old whim bow.

But the whim stands still, and the wheeling swallow

In the silent shaft hangs her home of clay,

And the lizards flirt and the swift snakes follow

O’er the grass-grown brace in the summer day;

And the corn springs high in the cracks and corners

Of the forge, and down where the timber lies;

And the crows are perched like a band of mourners

On the broken hut on the Hermit’s Rise.


Source: The ABC Book of Australian Poetry: a treasury for young people compiled by Libby Hathorn (ABC Books 2010)


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