The Motherland

= Terra Australis =

This is Australia, this is each one's earth
that is Australian, this soil is sacred
now and forever for each one for whom
the vision of this land resurgent ever stirs
in every landscape, for each one that sees
in every town and township, every house
and paddock, every street and track
each patch of untouched bush, each wasted acre
that the greed of sheep or wheat or axe
has furrowed and scarred and swept
and ploughed to barrenness, for each that sees
as his own body and as mighty all this land.

This is Australia, each tree and bush, each hill,
each mountain, each vast plain where dust-storms
ride the ancient beds of ancient seas,
each headland set to face the surf,
each creek, long dry, that thunders when the rains
break their all-feeding benediction on the earth,
each rock that carving bears or tribal myth explains,
each billabong the heron's grey reflection shows,
each jungle-patch along the north-east shores,
each valley and each gully where the euro runs,
each foot of earth, each stick, each grain of dust,
makes, and is ever part of, each Australian.

This is Australia, this is the land
whose sons and daughters are forever blind
and deaf to all its mystery; this is the land
barren of lovers; this is the land defiled
by those whose flesh is quarried from its earth;
this is the land whose sons and daughters turn
their faces from it, holding always
vain dreams in their small minds of their own greatness
greater than it; this is the land whose children
fear it, being so small and petty-mean
that never in their hearts is courage great enough
for them to love its beauty and immensity.

This is Australia. This is the land
now raising new the spirit of its earth;
this is the land that now a few do love
fiercely and fearlessly; this is the land
that now has found a few to call
its vision from the cupboard of neglect
and set it up for every man to see.
This is the land preparing for those
who shall acknowledge their full fellowship
with every fistful of its soil, those who shall hold
that soil as their own flesh, those who shall be
consecrated in their loyalty.

Ian Mudie, 1940 [Jindyworobak]

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