Burke & Wills Web
The online digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020

by Dennis N. O'Brien, © 2012.

Aussie Bush Poet: Bush Poetry of Dennis N O'Brien
Poem Copyright © Dennis N. O'Brien, 2011, 2012.


How could this be, that after months of hell,
Of blasting heat and sands of deserts crossed,
That now but this blazed coolibah to tell
The wretched men, for them all hope is lost.



There on its trunk the message cut so clear
That but nine hours before their comrades left,
And they now weak, can sense the end is near
As Burke regrets the folly that had cleft



His party all those months before, when he
Had dashed with King and Gray and Wills
To reach the gulf, now but this wounded tree
To mark where buried store, such bitter pills



That at the end of this great quest delay
The deaths of brave men, starved and weak,
Abandoned on this melancholy day
By Bullah Bullah on the Cooper Creek.



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