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Stewie Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook (993* d) RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia 02 Nov 20

More than 20 years ago, Bob Bolton posted this sentimental poem set to music by John Lahey.


Do you ever dream, my sweetheart, of a twilight long ago
Of a park in old Kalgoorlie, where the bougainvilleas grow
Where the moonbeams on the pathways trace a shimmering brocade
And the overhanging peppers form a lovers'promenade?

Where in soft cascades of cadence from a garden close at hand
Came the murmurous, mellow music of a sweet, orchestral band
Years have flown since then, my sweetheart, fleet as orchard blooms in May
But the hour that fills my dreaming, was it only yesterday?

Stood we two a space in silence, while the summer sun slipped down
And the grey dove dusk, with drooping pinions, wrapt the mining town
Then you raised your tender glances darkly, dreamily to mine
And my pulses clashed like symbols in a rhapsody divine

And the pent-up fires of longing loosed their prison's weak control
And in wild, hot words came rushing from my burning soul
Wild hot words that spoke of passion, hitherto but half expressed
And I clasped you close, my sweetheart, kissed you, strained you to my breast

While the starlight-spangled heavens rolled around us where we stood
And a tide of bliss kept surging through the current of our blood
And I spent my soul in kisses, crushed upon your scarlet mouth
Oh! My red-lipped, sunbrowned sweetheart, dark-eyed daughter of the south

It was well that fate should part us, it was well my path should lead
Back to slopes of high endeavour, aye, and was it well, indeed
You have wed some southern squatter, learned long since his every whim
Soothed his sorrows, borne his troubles, sung your sweetest songs for him

I have fought my fight and triumphed, on the map I've writ my name
But I prize one hour of loving, more than fifty years of fame
It was but a summer madness that possessed us, men will hold
And the yellow moon bewitched me with its wizardry of gold

Let them say it, dear, but oft-times in the dusk I close my eyes
And in dreams drift back to where the stars rain splendour from the skies
To a park in far Kalgoorlie, where the golden wattles grow
Where you kissed me in the twilight of a summer long ago

And I clasp you close, my sweetheart, while each throbbing pulse is thrilled
By a low and mournful music that shall never more be stilled

Note from p10 'Great Australian Folk Songs, John Lahey, Hill of Content Publishing Co, Melbourne, 1965.

These remarkable verses are attributed to the late Herbert Hoover, President of the United States between 1929 and 1932. Hoover first came to the West Australian goldfields as a 23-year-old mining engineer in 1897, and he lived in Australia off and on for the next ten years. The goldfields historian, the late Arthur Reid, who knew Hoover, preserved the verses in his book 'Those Were the Days'. He said Hoover wrote them to a Kalgoorlie barmaid, years after he returned to the United States. Several West Australians sing different tunes, but their words are substantially the same. The tune here is my own adaptation.

Youtube clip

The American election looms. As a Republican, I wonder what Hoover would have thought of Trump.


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