No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest


Mary Gilmore

1940



Sons of the mountains of Scotland,
Welshmen of coomb and defile,
Breed of the moors of England,
Children of Erin's green isle,
We stand four square to the tempest,
Whatever the battering hail-
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

Our women shall walk in honour,
Our children shall know no chain,
This land, that is ours forever,
The invader shall strike at in vain.
Anzac!...Tobruk!...and Kokoda!...
Could ever the old blood fail?
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

So hail-fellow-met we muster,
And hail-fellow-met fall in,
Wherever the guns may thunder,
Or the rocketing air-mail spin!
Born of the soil and the whirlwind,
Though death itself be the gale-
No foe shall gather our harvest
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

We are the sons of Australia,
of the men who fashioned the land;
We are the sons of the women
Who walked with them hand in hand;
And we swear by the dead who bore us,
By the heroes who blazed the trail,
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.





Mary Gilmore later explained in Fourteen Men (1954) that "in the great old cattle days of Australia, the stranger (no one knowing who he might be) was entertained in the parlour, the friend being taken down to the stockyard. No gentlemen ever saw hide, hoof or brand that he shouldn't. And that no matter what was seen or how long he sat yarning on the top rail of the stockyard fence" [Source: Courage A Grace: A Biography Of Dame Mary Gilmore by W.H. Wilde, 1988, page 344]. The poem was first published in the 29 June 1940 edition of The Australian Women's Weekly.



Fire of the Southern Cross: A Collection of Poetry for Australian Nationalists

Australian Nationalism Information Database - www.ausnatinfo.angelfire.com/~natinfo