Roderic Quinn

1867 - 1949 / Australia

By Momba Tracks

THE hearts of the everlasting-flowers
Shall steal the gold o' the sun
When the winter rains have done their work
And the winter days are done,
And the desert pea shall hue the rocks
By the tracks of Momba run.
The dew shall gleam on the silken webs
That the night-time spider weaves,
And scatter its gems on the saltbush plains
And drip from the homestead eaves,
And the quandong fruit take ruddy fire
In the green of the quandong leaves.
The bees shall saunter from bloom to bloom
And burthen their honey-sacs;
And the drovers ride in the sunset light
On the long, long winding tracks;
But never a man shall pause to pray
By the graves of the Barrier blacks.
Deep dug they lie in the mulga scrub,
These graves of a dwindling race,
Stone-piled and bare, where the windy noons
Swift lights and shadows trace!
And the lone, heaped mound is the only sign
Of a dead man's burial-place.
They passed away like a feeble flame
Before the white man's breath
(Wherever the white man sets his feet
The white man comes with death):
And they lie deep-celled in the moisty mould,
And the wind their requiem saith.
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