Bush Goblins



The Locust drones along the drowsy noon,  
The brown bee lingers in the yellow foam,  
Blossom on blossom searching deep, but soon  
 Slides heavy-wingèd home.  
 
The vacant air, half visible, complains          
All overburdened of its noontide hour;  
Sound after sound in heavy silence wanes  
 At the strong sun’s burning power.  
 
Let the strong sun burn down the barren plain  
And scour the empty heaven, and twist the air          
To filmiest flickerings, o’er us in vain  
 His hollow vault doth glare.  
 
For us gnarled boughs and massive boles o’ershade,  
And tall bulrushes guard us with green spears  
From the grim noon; our dewy jewelled glade          
 Never a footstep nears.  
 
Come feast with us; behold our fragrant store  
Of candied locusts, that no longer drone  
Through summer eves, but transmigrated, pour  
 Thin goblin monotone          
 
Through eucalyptine stillness as we rouse  
Our gnomy anthem to the answering trees,  
While gold-eyed toad-guards of our hidden house  
 Croak full-fed choruses.  
 
Come visit us; O follow till you find          
In some green shade our secret banquetings,  
Where brolgas dance, and, some great stem behind,  
 A hidden lyrebird sings.  
 
Ask of the eaglehawk in the blue air,  
Ask of the chattering parrot, he should tell;          
Fat possum in the tree bole, furry bear,  
 Us beast and bird know well.  
 
The silver lizard on the sun-baked stone,  
The green-flecked tree-snake in his circle coiled,  
Dreaming of evil, man, and man alone          
 Missed us, howe’er he toiled.  
 
Come feast thou with us; ancient kings of all,  
We are the mystery at the heart of noon,  
Weird unseen chucklers when long shadows fall  
 From the misleading moon.          
 
We are the spirits of distorted trees;  
We beckon down dim gullies, far astray,  
Till lost, deep lost, the wild-eyed traveller sees  
 Dark at the heart of day.  
 
And oh, we laughed about his last choked groans          
Beside the water that he sought so long,  
And oh, we danced about his clean-picked bones  
 To a gnomy undersong.  
 
For all the day we chuckle and provoke  
With mocking shapes and noises each bright hour,          
But when dark even from his grave hath broke  
 Then are we lords of power.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:47 min read
104

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH IJIJ KLKX GCGX FMFM JGJG NANA LXLG OPOP QDQD
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,222
Words 357
Stanzas 13
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Henry Mackenzie Green

Henry Mackenzie Green was a journalist, librarian and literary historian born in Sydney. He is the great grandfather of authors John Green and Hank Green. In 1921 Green succeeded John Le Gay Brereton as librarian at the University of Sydney. In 1944 he married Dorothy Auchterlonie. His An Outline of Australian Literature was published in 1930 and Australian Literature 1900–1950 was published in 1951. His two-volume A History of Australian Literature Pure and Applied was first published by Angus & Robertson in 1961. It was reprinted, with corrections, in 1962. It was reprinted again in 1966, 1968, 1971 and 1974. A revised edition appeared in 1984. more…

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