Tag Archives: Mary Hannay-Foott

Where the Pelican Builds by Mary Hannay Foott

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The horses were ready, the rails were down,
 But the riders lingered still --
  One had a parting word to say,
 And one had his pipe to fill.
Then they mounted, one with a granted prayer,
 And one with a grief unguessed.
  "We are going," they said, as they rode away --
 "Where the pelican builds her nest!"

They had told us of pastures wide and green,
 To be sought past the sunset's glow;
  Of rifts in the ranges by opal lit;
 And gold 'neath the river's flow.
And thirst and hunger were banished words
 When they spoke of that unknown West;
  No drought they dreaded, no flood they feared,
 Where the pelican builds her nest!

The creek at the ford was but fetlock deep
 When we watched them crossing there;
  The rains have replenished it thrice since then,
 And thrice has the rock lain bare.
But the waters of Hope have flowed and fled,
 And never from blue hill's breast
  Come back -- by the sun and the sands devoured --
 Where the pelican builds her nest.

The Bulletin (1881)

Where the Pelican Builds Her Nest by Mary Hannay-Foott

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The horses were ready, the rails were down,

But the riders lingered still

One had a parting word to say,

And one had his pipe to fill.

Then they mounted, one with a granted prayer,

And one with a grief unguessed.

‘We are going,’ they said, as they rode away

‘Where the pelican builds her nest!’

They had told us of pastures wide and green,

To be sought past the sunset’s glow;

Of rifts in the ranges by opal lit;

And gold ‘neath the river’s flow.

And thirst and hunger were banished words

When they spoke of that unknown West;

No drought they dreaded, no flood they feared,

Where the pelican builds her nest!

The creek at the ford was but fetlock deep

When we watched them crossing there;

The rains have replenished it thrice since then,

And thrice has the rock lain bare.

But the waters of Hope have flowed and fled,

And never from blue hill’s breast

Come back – by the sun and the sands devoured –

Where the pelican builds her nest.

 

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

In Time of Drought by Mary Hannay-Foott

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The river of God is full of water – Psalm

 

The rushes are black by the river bed,

And the sheep and the cattle stand

Wistful-eyed, where the waters were –

In a waste of gravel and sand;

Or pass o’er their dying and dead to slake

Their thirst at the slimy pool.

Shall they pine and perish in pangs of drought,

While Thy river, O God, is full!

 

The fields are furrowed, the seed is sown,

But no dews from the heavens are shed;

And where shall the grain for the harvest be -?

And how shall the poor be fed?

In waterless gullies they winnow the earth,

New-turned by the miner’s tool’

And the wayfarer faints ‘neath his lightened load –

Yet the river of God is full