HSC Notes: 2 Unit General English: Kenneth Slessor

Country Towns

Country towns, with your willows and squares,
And farmers bouncing on barrel mares
To public houses of yellow wood
With "1860" over their doors,
And that mysterious race of Hogans
Which always keeps the General Stores....

At the School of Arts, a broadsheet lies
Sprayed with the sarcasm of flies:
"The Great Golightly Family
Of Entertainers Here To-night"
Dated a year and a half ago,
But left there, less from carelessness
Than from a wish to seem polite.

Verandas baked with musky sleep,
Mulberry faces dozing deep,
And dogs that lick the sunlight up
Like paste of gold or, roused in vain
By far, mysterious buggy-wheels,
Lower their ears, and drowse again....

Country towns with your schooner bees,
And locusts burnt in the pepper-trees,
Drown me with syrups, arch your boughs,
Find me a bench, and let me snore,
Till, charged with ale and unconcern,
I'll think it's noon at half-past four!

Stanza 1

Stanza 2

Stanza 3

Stanza 4

General Notes

Study Questions

  1. Slessor is often described as being a 'detached observer'. Is there any evidence of the poet as observer in this poem? Is the observer 'detached'? Why or why not?
  2. Comment on the effect of
  3. How does the poet evoke the effect of the climate on the town and its inhabitants?
  4. Explain in your own words the last line of the poem and the use of the word unconcern.

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