Verse > Anthologies > Walter Murdoch, comp. > The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse
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Walter Murdoch (1874–1970).  The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse.  1918.
 
155. The Mallee Fire
 
By Charles Henry Souter
 
 
I SUPPOSE it just depends on where you’re raised,
  Once I met a cove as swore by green belar!
Couldn’t sight the good old mallee-stump I praised;
  Well!—I couldn’t sight belar, and there you are!
But the faces in the fire where the mallee stump’s a-blinking        5
Are the friendliest I ever seen, to my way o’ thinking!
 
In the city where the fires is mostly coal—
  There! I can’t a-bear to go and warm my feet!
Spitting, fizzing things as hasn’t got no soul!
  Things as puffs out yaller smoke instead of heat!        10
But at home—well, it is home when the mallee-stump’s a-burning,
And the evenin’s drawing chilly and the season is a-turning.
 
And there’s some as runs ’em down because they’re tough.
  Well? And what’s the good of anythink as ain’t?
No. It’s nary use to serve ’em any bluff,        15
  For they’d use up all the patience of a saint.
But they’ll split as sweet as sugar if you know the way to take ’em;
If you don’t, there isn’t nothink in the world as’ll make ’em.
 
They’re tremenjus hard to kindle, tho’, at first:
  Like the friendship of the kind that comes to stay.        20
You can blow and blow and blow until you burst,
  And when they won’t, they won’t burn, anyway!
But when once they gets a start, tho’ they make no showy flashes,
Well, they’ll serve you true and honest to the last pinch of ashes.
 

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