My Country



I was never one for rote learning, too much of a free spirit I preferred to recall what actually moved me. Cept for this gem which dug in deep into my psyche, and remains lodged there. MacKellar wrote this while revisiting England and feeling homesick for Australia, and this poem is a rebuttal of her friend’s assumption that England was better. MacKellar responds without acrimony and draws on why she loves Australia rather than why she doesn’t write of England. In my personal view I prefer this to the bilge that is the pseudo 19th century hymn we have as a national anthem that only speaks in an English voice. Just saying.

My Country (Dorothea MacKellar)

The love of  field and coppice

Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.


great words,


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5 responses to “My Country

  1. thanks for that refresher Paul .. see you expressed similar thoughts about it being a far more worthy national anthem 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Memorizing more than things | parallax

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