Henry Lawson

17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922 / Grenfell, New South Wales

The First Dingo

The kangaroo was formed to run,
but not from man alone -
it ran before the horse or gun
or native dog was known.
It ran when drought left waterholes
three hundred miles between -
from great floods and greater fires
than we have ever seen.

The blacks beside the coastal springs,
where mountain sides are steep,
they bred and kept their kangaroo
much tamer than are sheep.
And when the men fought inland tribes
or when they roamed at large,
they drove their flocks down to the sea
and left the gins in charge.

And so, alert, with startled eyes
the shepherdess in fear
perceives with wonder and surprise
some foreign beats appear.
She watches, creeping through the trees,
and round the blackened logs
the strangest sight by southern seas -
the stranded Dutchmans's dogs.
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