Tired out and quite weary; sick of the strife
Of this hard, bitter war, this fierce battle of life,
I wandered about through wood and through brake,
Till I found myself near Bellambi Lake.
It is true that the heart its own bitterness knows;
What stranger will care for its throbs or its throes?
Indeed, it’s a solace to some when they try
To hug their own sorrows, when no one is nigh.
I thought of my loved ones that were, and are not,
When we stood all together on this very same spot.
It was well we knew nothing of what was in store,
‘Twould have marred all the joys in those gone days of yore.
I felt quite alone, like an old withered tree,
With a leaf scarcely left that might shelter a bee;
My boughs have been gradually lopped one by one;
Thus, despoiled of my branches, I stand here alone.
Now a murmur came up from the blue looming sea,
And the weirdlike Gobburras laughed loud on the tree;
While a glamour unearthly seemed stealing around,
And broke up the silence, before so profound.
A strange feeling came o’er me; I felt something near,
And the winds were all whispering loved names in my ear;
I started, and trembled, I looked round, afraid,
As I fancied a hand on my shoulder was laid.
Pale shadowy phantoms stood round me in tears,
I knew them – the ghosts of departed dead years;
Ah! yes, we were part of your substance, they said,
But despised and neglected from you we have fled.
Now we dwell in the limitless spaces,
Far away in the ether sublime,
Where is no upward or downward,
Nor record or limit to time.
I stood up and looked round, there was nought to be seen,
It was only a part of a hideous dream;
I looked down at my dog, and saw with surprise,
There were tears in his loving, pathetic brown eyes.
This thought gave me comfort – his friendship is true;
And the true friends we find in this world are but few;
We could not exist on this earth without some,
So the love of a dog is far better than none.
I turned to the mountain, ‘neath which stood my home;
To this ghoul-haunted lake, never more will I come.
My dog understood, and walked briskly behind,
So I shook of this glamour, threw care to the wind.
(Illawarra Mercury, September 6, 1884)