The Grumble Family

There’s a family nobody likes to meet,

They live, it is said, on Complaining Street

In the city of Never-are-Satisfied,

The river of Discontent beside.

They growl at that and they growl at this

Whatever comes there is something amiss;

And whether their station be high or humble;

They are known by the name of Grumble.

The weather is always too cold or hot,

Summer and winter alike they scold;

Nothing goes right with the folks you meet

Down on that gloomy Complaining Street

They growl at the rain and they growl at the sun,

In fact, their growling is never done.

And if everything pleased them, there isn’t a doubt

They’d growl that they’d nothing to grumble about!

But the queerest thing is that not one of the same

Can be brought to acknowledge his family name,

For never a Grumbler will own that he

Is connected with it at all, you see.

And the worst thing is that if anyone stays

Among them too long he will learn their ways,

And before he dreams of the terrible jumble

He’s adopted into the family of Grumble.

So it were wisest to keep our feet

From wandering into Complaining Street;

And never to growl, whatever we do           ,

Lest we be mistaken for Grumblers too.

Let us learn to walk with a smile and a song

No matter if things do sometimes go wrong,

And then, be our station high or humble

We’ll never belong to the family of Grumble!

Women of the West

They left the vine-wreathed cottage and the mansion on the hill, the houses in the busy streets where life is never still, the pleasure of the city, and the friends they cherished best: for love they faced the wilderness–The Women of the West.

The roar, and rush, and fever of the city died away, and the old-time joys and faces–they were gone for man a day: In their place the lurching coach-wheel, or the creaking bullock-chains, o’er the everlasting sameness of the never-ending plains.

In the slab-built, zinc-roofed homestead of some lately-settled run, in the tent beside the bankment of a railway just begun, in the huts on new selections, in the camps of man’s unrest, on the frontiers of the Nation, live the Women of the West.

The red sun robs their beauty, and in weariness and pain, the slow years steal the nameless grace that never comes again; and there are hours men cannot soothe, and words men cannot say–the nearest woman’s face may be a hundred miles away.

The wide Bush holds the secret of their longings and desires, when the white stars in reverence light their holy altar-fires, and silence, like the touch of God, sinks deep into the breast perchance He hears and understands the Women of the West.

For them no trumpet sounds the call, no poet plies his arts–they only hear the beating of their gallant, loving hearts. But they have sung with silent lives the song all songs above, the holiness of sacrifice, the dignity of love.

Well have we held our father’s creed. No call has passed us by. We faced and fought the wilderness, we sent our sons to die. And we have hearts to do and dare, and yet, o’er all the rest, the hearts that made the Nation were the Women of the West.

George Essex Evans (1863-1909)