Longing for Home – An Analysis of ‘The Wind’s Message’ by Banjo Paterson
In ‘The Wind’s Message,’ Banjo Paterson explores the profound power of the natural landscape to evoke nostalgia and connect people to home. Through vivid imagery and personification, he conveys the wind as a messenger rousing complex emotions.
The poem opens gently with a ‘whisper’ drifting through the Australian wilderness, carrying the scent and sounds of the bush. Paterson’s lyrical descriptions provide a rich sensory experience – the reader can nearly smell the trees and hear the river.
The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses
by Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson
This wind is deeply transportive, stirring up memories and longing within those who left this land. But Paterson contrasts the reactions it invokes. In the busy town, few people notice the breeze’s ‘subtle strange perfume’. Yet for some, it awakens fond recollections of their childhoods amid these ‘sunny southern hills’.
Through this, Paterson reveals the capacity of place to imprint itself within us and draw us back through life. The wanderers, though far away, are filled with ‘vague unrest’ and nostalgia for home.
Paterson’s beautiful poetic rendering of the Australian landscape’s sights and sounds makes the reader appreciate its magical appeal. The river, hills and wildlife all combine to create a cherished place.
By portraying the wind as a ‘message’ calling people back, Paterson recognises the visceral experience of yearning for the places that shaped us, that stay with us wherever we roam. ‘The Wind’s Message‘ is a poignant poetic evocation of the indelible spirit of home.
The Wind’s Message
There came a whisper down the Bland between the dawn and dark,
Above the tossing of the pines, above the river’s flow;
It stirred the boughs of giant gums and stalwart ironbark;
It drifted where the wild ducks played amid the swamps below;
It brought a breath of mountain air from off the hills of pine,
A scent of eucalyptus trees in honey-laden bloom;
And drifting, drifting far away along the southern line
It caught from leaf and grass and fern a subtle strange perfume.
It reached the toiling city folk, but few there were that heard —
The rattle of their busy life had choked the whisper down;
And some but caught a fresh-blown breeze with scent of pine that stirred
A thought of blue hills far away beyond the smoky town;
And others heard the whisper pass, but could not understand
The magic of the breeze’s breath that set their hearts aglow,
Nor how the roving wind could bring across the Overland
A sound of voices silent now and songs of long ago.
But some that heard the whisper clear were filled with vague unrest;
The breeze had brought its message home, they could not fixed abide;
Their fancies wandered all the day towards the blue hills’ breast,
Towards the sunny slopes that lie along the riverside,
The mighty rolling western plains are very fair to see,
Where waving to the passing breeze the silver myalls stand,
But fairer are the giant hills, all rugged though they be,
From which the two great rivers rise that run along the Bland.
Oh! rocky range and rugged spur and river running clear,
That swings around the sudden bends with swirl of snow-white foam,
Though we, your sons, are far away, we sometimes seem to hear
The message that the breezes bring to call the wanderers home.
The mountain peaks are white with snow that feeds a thousand rills,
Along the river banks the maize grows tall on virgin land,
And we shall live to see once more those sunny southern hills,
And strike once more the bridle track that leads along the Bland.