In the Greedy Grasp of Drought

From my window looking west there’s not a lot to cheer,
For the countryside in deep distress wilts slowly year by year,
Year by year a drought holds fast, the land is all bone-dry,
And graziers bleeding in their souls must watch their cattle die.
 
Few had raise the issue of the scourge that drought can be,
For many decades end on end they’d cursed the rains they’d see
drawn boldly on the weather maps predicting naught but flood,
but time went by and river pools succumbed to encroaching mud.
 
The rainfall stopped, the crops grew tall, the wind from farther out
brought dry and itchy skin complaints they could have done without.
They failed to heed the weather man as he warned them and cajoled,
Too late they saw a major drought had gained a stranglehold.
 
The farmers west of the Great Divide stare sick at heart with dread,
No rain has fallen, months on end, there’s heartache round the shed,
No water lies in limpid pools, in creeks the perch have died
in mud so hard, so cracked and dried, their bodies petrified.
 
Day by day the drought takes hold with unrelenting hate.
But men and women forced to fight no matter their estate
will never weaken in the face of Nature’s sad disorder,
They firm their lines of battle and defy the red marauder.*
 
And stick by stick and stone by stone they faced the threat without
compassion from the men in power, the ones with all the clout,
But courage in the face of pain brought aid from service clubs
With Drought Relief top of the charts on TV and in pubs.
 
Drought was what the people thought and with it came their ire,
And politicians raised their heads and felt the people’s fire,
They felt the rawness of the grief of people on their knees
And enacted laws to give the farmers funds to meet their needs.
 
And so the fight to save the land went on without a stop,
As friends deploying all their skills they gave until they dropped
Until the clouds grew bleak and angry out in western skies,
And rolls of thunder brought the rain that swept the drought aside.
 
From my window looking west I toast the fight with beer,
The land is lush and green with grass, my eyes must shed a tear,
I’m happy that when called upon old friends will rally round,
and staunchly fight the curse of drought wherever it be found.
 
*coined by Henry Lawson in Andy’s Gone with Cattle

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