The Lovin' Of The Bush
For Alan and Marilyn Tubman and Family and Russell Wilson
near Bookham, The Murrumbidgee River, NSW
Words and Music Pat Drummond

I suppose that what he gave me
was the moments of the day
before the first gold rays
of sunlight bathed
the wattle at the brook
or perhaps it was his gift
to know exactly how the fish moved
in the Murrumbidgee
when the river
danced upon the hook
The Bushman's trick he had for keeping yabbies on the line
Soft dark eyes that saw the world so differently to mine
And for we, who lived cities in the pressure and the push
he brought the stories of an old man
Who had learned to love the bush

On those bitter nights in Winter
we would shift the bedclothes into
one room round a timber
fire, singing
stories from our beds
Over endless cups of tea
we'd sit and listen to him speak
until we fell asleep
with 'Clancy's' hoofbeats
dancing in our heads
The Illawarra mines he'd left behind in younger days
Balgownie in the Thirties through a fine tobacco haze
And through every fire-story that he scattered on those cushions
ran the circle of creation and his lovin' of the Bush

Every weekend we'd drive down
Through those Murrumbidgee towns
Marilyn, the children and myself
He'd be waiting at the shack
when the car came up the track
and the only gift that he ever really wanted
was ourselves

On a Murrumbidgee hillside
and the Durham Bridge at Twilight
I came back
to lay his ashes
where the meadows meets the sky
Though I know I won't forget him
I suppose my one regret is
that I never said
my Thank You's when
I knew they meant
but those words rang in the river and the springsong of the birds
and that one vast silent sunset that we shared without a word
and as I drove back to the city through the pressure and 'The Push'
I knew the gift that I took with me was his lovin' of the bush

Many nations came to claim this land and name it as their own
but I fear we've yet to learn what those
who've loved this land have known
That we may claim to be Australian,
fly the flag and join the 'push'
but we are strangers to this nation
till we've learned to love the Bush

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