Opal Poetry

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The Black Opal

(Dedicated to the late Percy Marks)

The Orchid Gem, a fairy crown;

Like bits of stars that tumbled down

In dusky settings blue or brown

Long ages yore.

The virtues of all gems we know,

Whate’er their lustre, hue or glow,

Australia’s own black opals show,

And something more.

The morning’s blush; the golden ray

The clouds on fire at close of day;

The purpled hills where wild flowers play

The nature bore.

The rose confessing to the dew;

The fickle ocean’s changing hue;

The Southern Cross in midnight blue;

And these and more.

The palette where Jehova laid

His every colour his every shade,

To paint the universe he made

Both sea and shore.

A shattered rainbow in a shell

Its glories hidden where it fell;

The gem without a parallel-

All this and more.

Mother of fire that never burns;

Whichever way the jewel turns

Some new aurora one discerns

Unseen before.

When mother earth laid bare her breast

To show what jewels she possessed,

Black opal far outshone the rest

And something more.

A cupid’s heart on fire ‘twould seem;

Or speckled trout in mountain stream;

The love glow in a maiden’s dream

When hearts adore;

As sunbeams through rose windows fall

In haloes on cathedral wall-

God’s benediction on us all-

One blessing more.

Spirit of night, the soul of day;

Just how it glows no one can say,

Save that it be some heavenly ray

Sent on before

Whose jewelled splendour typifies

The glory of the world that lies

Beyond the Gates of Paradise

Forever more.


Fred Emerson Brooks


Morning and evening,

Midday and night,

Mingling their shades

In varying light.

A palette set out

For painting a scene,

A wizard no doubt,

Mixed that wonderful green.

Does the rainbow begin

In the earth where they lie?

Does the dawn meet the sunset,

Combining their dye?

Some are like moonlight,

Spangled with stars,

A white cloister gate

With gleaming gold bars!

A carnival night,

Streamers and flowers,

Balloons gay and bright,

Confetti in showers!

Flames in mosaic,

Sparkling and gay,

Then prim and possaic

With a pallor of grey.

Like a cherry light

A journey’s end,

A fireside bright

And the smile of a friend.

By Margaret McEwin

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You are ice and fire

The touch of you burns my hands like snow

Your are cold and flame

You are the crimson of amaryllis

The silver of moon touched magnolias.

When I am with you,

My heart is a frozen pond

Gleaming with agitated torches

Amy Lowell


Out Back by famous Australian poet Henry Lawson The old year went, and the new returned, in the withering weeks of drought; The cheque was spent that the shearer earned, and the sheds were all cut out; The publican’s words were short and few, and the publican’s looks were black- And the time had come, as the shearer knew, to carry his swag Out Back. For time means tucker, and tramp you must, where the scrubs and plains are wide, With seldom a track that a man can trust, or a mountain peak to guide; All day long in the dust and heat- when summer is on the track- With stinted stomachs and blistered feet, they carry their swags Out Back. He tramped away from the shanty there, when the days were long and hot, With never a soul to know or care if he died on the track or not. The poor of the city have friends in woe, no matter how much they lack, But only God and the swagman know how a poor man fares Out Back. He begged his way on the parched Paroo and the Warrego tracks once more, And lived like a dog, as the swagmen do, til the western station shore; But men were many, and sheds were full, for work in the town was slack- The traveller never got hands in wool, though he tramped for a year Out Back. In stifling noons when his back was wrung by its load, and the air seemed dead, And the water warmed in the bag that hung to his aching arm like lead. For in times of flood, when plains were seas and the scrubs were cold and black, He ploughed in mud to his trembling knees, and paid for his sins Out Back. And dirty and careless and old he wore, as his lamp of hope grew dim; He tramped for years, til the swag he bore seemed part of himself to him. As a bullock drags in the sandy ruts, he followed the dreary track, With never a thought but to reach the huts when the sun went down Out Back. He chanced one day when the north wind blew in his face like a burnace-breath. He left the track for a tank he knew- twas a shorter cut to death; For the bed of the tank was hard and dry, and crossed with many a crack. And, oh! it’s a terrible thing to die of thirst in the scrub Out Back. A drover came, but the fringe of law was eastward many a mile: He never reported the thing he saw, for it was not worth his while. The tanks are full, and the grass is high in the mulga off the track, Where the bleaching bones of a white man lie by his mouldering swag Out Back. For time means tucker, and tramp they must, where the plains and scrubs are wide, With seldom a track that a man can trust, or a mountain peak to guide;

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How aret thou fallen from heaven Lucifer thou son of the morning was once adorned with evry precious stone now dweth with dragons.

5th Mar 2017

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