Australian Dreaming

This poem won First Prize in the Poetry section of the annual Sydney Bush Music Club “Song, Tune and Poetry Competition” earlier this year.


Australian Dreaming


You talk of old Australia, with the flooding rain and drought;

Of the shearer, of the drover; of the cook, the rouseabout;

You talk of paddle steamer, or of bullock team and dray;

It’s the noisy, smoggy city where we congregate today.


You talk of red Australia, and the hulking Uluru;

Of the emu and the brolga, of the bounding kangaroo;

You talk of Kata Tjuta, like a buried monster’s spine.

It’s in the boutique restaurants we like to meet and dine.


You talk of white Australia, and the mountains capped with snow,

Where only hardy currawongs and wombats care to go;

Or hibernating possums fast asleep beneath a drift.

We like a bright skyscraper with a fast ascending lift.


You talk of blue Australia, with its narrow rim of sand,

Where breaching humpback whales provide performances so grand;

Whale sharks up at Ningaloo, or dolphins in the surf.

The bitumen and footpath offer more familiar turf.


You talk of green Australia, with the moss, the ferns, the trees;

The dew drops in the morning, and the cool and healing breeze;

The nesting cassowaries, or the stealthy thylacine,

But we prefer the steady purr of petrol-fuelled machine.


We don’t think of Australia as we make our busy way

Through the surging hordes and traffic of another hectic day.

“No room for sentiment,” we say, but all’s not as it seems.

Australia comes, with scented gums, and greets us in our dreams.


© Stephen Whiteside   07.11.2013

About Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside is primarily a writer of rhyming verse. He has been writing for over thirty years, and writes for both adults and children. Many of his poems have been published in magazines and anthologies, both in Australia and overseas, or won awards. His collection of rhyming verse for children, "'The Billy That Died With Its Boots On' and Other Australian Verse", was published by Walker Books in May 2014. Stephen performs regularly at folk festivals around the country - mostly in Victoria. He is also a great fan of the Australian poet C. J. Dennis. He is a foundation member of the C. J. Dennis Society, and is closely involved in the organisation of the annual Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival. Stephen is a long-suffering Melbourne supporter.

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