Henry Lawson

The Stringy-Bark Tree

There’s the whitebox and pine on the ridges afar, Where the iron-bark, blue-gum, and peppermint are; There is many another, but dearest to me, And the king of them all was the stringy-bark tree. Then of stringy-bark slabs were the walls of the hut, And from stringy-bark saplings the rafters were cut; And the roof that long sheltered my brothers and me Was of broad sheets of bark from the stringy-bark tree. And when sawn-timber homes were built out in the West, Then for walls and for ceilings its wood was the best; And for shingles and palings to last while men be, There was nothing on earth like the stringy-bark tree. Far up the long gullies the timber-trucks went, Over tracks that seemed hopeless, by bark hut and tent; And the gaunt timber-finder, who rode at his ease, Led them on to a gully of stringy-bark trees. Now still from the ridges, by ways that are dark, Come the shingles and palings they call stringy-bark; Though you ride through long gullies a twelve months you’ll see But the old whitened stumps of the stringy-bark tree.

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