The Women of the West

Original Text: 
The Collected Verse of G. Essex Evans, Memorial Edition (Australia: Angus and Robertson Ltd., 1928): 2-3. British Library
1They left the vine-wreathed cottage and the mansion on the hill,
2The houses in the busy streets where life is never still,
3The pleasures of the city, and the friends they cherished best:
4For love they faced the wilderness -- the Women of the West.
5The roar, and rush, and fever of the city died away,
6And the old-time joys and faces -- they were gone for many a day;
7In their place the lurching coach-wheel, or the creaking bullock chains,
8O'er the everlasting sameness of the never-ending plains.
10In the tent beside the bankment of a railway just begun,
12On the frontiers of the Nation, live the Women of the West.
13The red sun robs their beauty, and, in weariness and pain,
14The slow years steal the nameless grace that never comes again;
15And there are hours men cannot soothe, and words men cannot say --
16The nearest woman's face may be a hundred miles away.
17The wide Bush holds the secrets of their longings and desires,
18When the white stars in reverence light their holy altar-fires,
19And silence, like the touch of God, sinks deep into the breast --
20Perchance He hears and understands the Women of the West.
21For them no trumpet sounds the call, no poet plies his arts --
22They only hear the beating of their gallant, loving hearts.
23But they have sung with silent lives the song all songs above --
24The holiness of sacrifice, the dignity of love.
25Well have we held our fathers' creed. No call has passed us by.
26We faced and fought the wilderness, we sent our sons to die.
27And we have hearts to do and dare, and yet, o'er all the rest,
28The hearts that made the Nation were the Women of the West.

Notes

9] run: leased parcel of land, for pasturing sheep. Back to Line
11] selections: block of crown land taken up and made freehold though yearly payments. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2001
Rhyme: