Song of the Outback

Sunset in the Outback


The daylight’s slowly dying

As the sun settles in the west,

White cockatoos are flying

On their way home to their nest.

The palm trees shady frondage

Where the shadows hover deep,

All give in to the bondage

Of the tyrant known as sleep.

And they are watched while sleeping

By the stars in their great height,

As they rest in your safer keeping

Oh wondrous outback night.

When the night bestows her glories,

Lets her mysteries unfold,

‘Tis then the campfire stories

Of the bush and land are told.

The harsh landscape has its trials,

There’s no need for dispute.

A breeze blows through the myalls,

Hear the owl’s night time hoot.

The slow meandering river

That sings sweetly as it passes,

Accompanied forever

By the waving of the grasses.

Days gone by, and ever after,

And the moonbeams shining glory,

The jackass’s raucous laughter,

Are all part of the story.

The bullock dray that rattles,

The sweet song of the birds,

The lowing of the cattle,

Must all blend with the words.

Without these sounds, indeed

The days would be too long.

Much easier to read

The words of a song.

That annoyingly lingers

And can’t end too soon,

Or the voice of a singer

Who can’t sing in tune.

It’s like when you hear

A once favourite song,

Your memory fears

That some words may be wrong.

These tales of the outback

Demand a recall,

Of walking the tracks

From Emerald to Blackall.

And hearing these sounds,

While reminiscing those days,

Stockmen gather ’round

And talk of old ways.

A bottle tree in the centre of Australia


Latest posts by John Hansen (see all)

John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

12 thoughts on “Song of the Outback

  • October 14, 2016 at 6:22 AM

    I so enjoyed reading this poem John. It makes me think of the pleasing style of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the epic poem ‘Evangeline’. You have painted with words a marvelous vision of the beauty of an Outback night. That photo of the bottle tree is amazing, I have never seen one before. Great work John.

  • October 14, 2016 at 6:39 AM

    Thank you so much, Phyllis. In my last two poems (here and at HubPages) commentors have likened the style to Wordsworth and Longfellow. How can I not be humbled by those sorts of comparisons? We have quite a lot of different types of bottle trees in Australia. Where I live we have Kurrajongs. The one in the photo looks like a Boab.

  • October 14, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    This is beautiful John , Magical , I always have had an interest in that land down under , it has to be perfectly incredible ! As is this piece .

  • October 14, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    Thank you, Ed. This land, especially the outback is something special that can’t really be imagined without experiencing it first hand. Glad you enjoyed this poem. For some reason I am having trouble with the formatting and spacing the stanzas.

  • October 15, 2016 at 12:55 AM

    Wonderful John, a real sense of Australia, a land as dangerous as it’s beautiful. So many aspects of the outback and observations of what is Australia. I love it and this sunburned country of ours. great work.

  • October 15, 2016 at 1:19 AM

    Thank you, Tony. It is good to get that feedback from a fellow Australian. It is a special and diverse Sunburnt Country. Cheers.

  • October 16, 2016 at 8:33 PM

    How lucky you are John, to live in such a place. Thanks for the beautiful poetry and the introduction to a tree I did not know about!

  • October 16, 2016 at 9:28 PM

    Hi Jackie, yes I know I am lucky to live in such a wonderful country. The bottle tree is widely found throughout Australia..mainly in the dryer areas.

  • October 18, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    This is truly lovely Jodah, I was able to picture the beauty of the countryside through your descriptive words.

  • October 18, 2016 at 5:01 PM

    Thank you for checking this out, Dana, and for the kind comment. This is beautiful country for sure. I hope the problem with your notifications is sorted.


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