Barcroft
Henry
Boake

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A Bushman's Love (A Fragment)

You say we bushmen cannot love -
Our lives are too prosaic: hence
We lose or lack that finer sense
That raises some few men above
Their fellows, setting them apart
As vessels of a finer make -
The acme of the potter's art -
Are placed apart upon the shelf.
So he is more than common delf,
And, more than brute in human guise,
Who, seeking, finds his nobler self
Twin-mirrored in a woman's eyes!

Yet these things bring their penalty:
For oft the merest touch will break
These vessels of a finer make;
And throats attuned to noblest key
A draught of air will set awry,
And stifle in an ulcerous sore
The voice that floated to the sky
And silence it for evermore . . .

You say we bushmen cannot love -
That, like our foe, the fire-fiend,
We blaze, until a river-bend -
Nay, less, a pebble-graven groove
Where waters thread - doth bid us stay:
Our passions for a month, a week
Flare out and then they die away -
For separation, like the creek
That stays the bush fire, bars the way.

You say we bushmen cannot love.
Well, have it so! but this I swear -
That she possessed a power to move
The dullest boor to do or dare.
But I, as being somewhat shy,
Became the target for her wit . . .
How oft in wantonness she'd pit
The blazing lances of her eye
And keener rapier of her tongue,
That carelessly made lightning play,
Until to action I was stung,
And, like a dumb beast, stood at bay . . .