Story: Farming and the environment

Burnt landscape

Burnt landscape

The desolation of a recently burnt forest landscape is captured in this poem written in the early 20th century by Blanch Baughan.

Burnt Bush

Naked, denuded,
Forestless, fernless,
Mute, now, and songless
Sharp on sheer sky gape the lips of the gully;
Burden’d with black is the green of its pasture:
On whose long slopes
The sheep in their browsing
Must leap o’er a million,
Strewn, helter-skelter, headlong and helpless
Burnt bones of the Bush;
And, high on the hill-tops,
Once muffled with misty ever-green forest,
Gaunt tree-skeletons,
Tall blacken’d splinters,
Limbless, and leafless, and lifeless for ever,
In piteous distinctness
Starkly appear.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Pebble Thomson Collection
Reference: 1/4-023741; G

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Source: B. E. Baughan, Shingle-short and other verses. Christchurch: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1908

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How to cite this page:

Julia Haggerty and Hugh Campbell, 'Farming and the environment - Expansion in the 20th century', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 7 December 2021)

Story by Julia Haggerty and Hugh Campbell, published 24 Nov 2008