|A crackling morning.
Crisp orders are issued on the edges of the cove.
A torpid grey gull hangs on a heat-bar in the blue
above the head of a statue of a man called Arthur
Marble pale, bewigged, he is a statue of a man.
There a rude red ensign that wears a union jack,
wilts on a sail-less mahogany vessel.
Some distance off, a kingfisher, on a branch, red,
white and blue feathered, flinches,
to see a long, hardened-by-fire spear, set with
teeth, whistle through the air into the pasty white
back of a European poor devil,
taken, bless us, naked under a hot antipodean sun.
Runts of men, small weary convicts, pus-faced, weep a
Their backs bleed as do the backs of their eyes.
Some cats with nine tails jig about, do a dance in
the air, like butterflies.
Rufous soldiers sweat up, itch badly in heavy melange
Have a good scratch, fellers.
It's a marvel all this.
Marvellous to trace spoors of strange marsupials, and
to watch, edgy-eyed, heavy scattering squatters,
those who plant stiff-leather boots onto the land,
any land they care for, or not care for.
'Spread out,' says the beneficent governor, bis dat
qui cito dat, one arm uplifted, aping a statue he
Far back in the black brush of the bush, whites of
Wallaroos and pademelons and marsupial bears and
aborigines are trepidatious and thrilled by it all.
What a fine, very fine, first Australia Day this has
turned out to be.