Sunday, June 10, 2007

Of droughts and flooding rains

Dorothea Mackeller was a true Aussie. She waxed lyrical with an astounding prescience about the drought/flood nature of this continent then up and left the place for greener pastures in an attempt to found a socialist utopia in Paraguay.

The drought breaking rains that inspired her pen and are currently giving my garden a drink have, so far, killed 9, including a family with kids swept into an instant gorge - just add water - and washed a bulk carrier up onto a beach. I pity the poor bastard that stepped out of his car into the gutter and got sweeped away into a storm water drain.

My Country
The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze…

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

1 comment:

Mark Lawrence said...

It is so tragic about that family. My jaw dropped when I saw the footage of the 'gorge' as you aptly describe on TV. Did you hear about the ambos?