Where the Dead Men Lie

Original Text: 
Where the Dead Men Lie and Other Poems, ed. A.G. Stephens (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1897): 52. Internet Archive. Sydney Electronic Text and Image Service (SETIS), digital text sponsored by AustLit: http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/oztexts
2    That's where the dead men lie!
3There where the heat-waves dance for ever--
4    That's where the dead men lie!
5That's where the Earth's loved sons are keeping
6Endless tryst: not the west wind sweeping
7Feverish pinions can wake their sleeping--
8    Out where the dead men lie!
9Where brown Summer and Death have mated--
10    That's where the dead men lie!
11Loving with fiery lust unsated--
12    That's where the dead men lie!
13Out where the grinning skulls bleach whitely
15Out where the wild dogs chorus nightly--
16    That's where the dead men lie!
17Deep in the yellow, flowing river--
18    That's where the dead men lie!
19Under the banks where the shadows quiver--
20    That's where the dead men lie!
21Where the platypus twists and doubles,
22Leaving a train of tiny bubbles;
23Rid at last of their earthly troubles--
24    That's where the dead men lie!
25East and backward pale faces turning--
26    That's how the dead men lie!
27Gaunt arms stretched with a voiceless yearning--
28    That's how the dead men lie!
29Oft in the fragrant hush of nooning
30Hearing again their mothers' crooning,
31Wrapt for aye in a dreamful swooning--
32    That's how the dead men lie!
33Only the hand of Night can free them--
34    That's when the dead men fly!
35Only the frightened cattle see them--
36    See the dead men go by!
37Cloven hoofs beating out one measure,
38Bidding the stockman know no leisure--
39That's when the dead men take their pleasure!
40    That's when the dead men fly!
42    He sees the dead pass by;
43Hearing them call to their friends--the plover,
44    Hearing the dead men cry;
45Seeing their faces stealing, stealing,
46Hearing their laughter pealing, pealing,
47Watching their grey forms wheeling, wheeling
48    Round where the cattle lie!
49Strangled by thirst and fierce privation--
50    That's how the dead men die!
51Out on Moneygrub's farthest station--
52    That's how the dead men die!
53Hardfaced greybeards, youngsters callow;
54Some mounds cared for, some left fallow;
55Some deep down, yet others shallow;
56    Some having but the sky.
58    Looks with complacent eye
59Down at his watch-chain, eighteen-carat--
60    There, in his club, hard by:
61Recks not that every link is stamped with
62Names of the men whose limbs are cramped with
63Too long lying in grave mould, camped with
64    Death where the dead men lie.

Notes

1] The Never-Never: the desert interior of Australia. Back to Line
14] saltbush: common name for several species of a native shrub growing on the arid plains of central Australia, often where there is little or no vegetation. Back to Line
41] drover: driver of cattle to market. Back to Line
57] Claret: a dry red wine Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1891
Publication Notes: 
The Bulletin, December 19, 1891.
RPO poem Editors: 
Cameron La Follette
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: