Drought in Australia is a common event – as it is in the rest of the world. In parts.
But there is something about the Australian spirit that deals with it in a singular way. A poem.
In the morning we awoke
And looked, as we had done
Those three long years,
With little hope
And even littler faith,
Into the West
To see some sign of rain –
Some cloud perhaps –
A stirring in the wind.
The cattle were all gone.
The sheep dead long ago.
We carried water fifty miles
From Jackson’s bore
To keep ourselves
and two last horses
and the dog from going mad.
Just where the usual sharpness
Of the dead straight distant sky
On the dead straight distant land
There was a darkness
And the lines were merged.
Billy saw it first and yelled into the house.
“Dad. Come and see it. Mum!
Come on it’s come!
The rain! It’s come!
Out by the ten mile well.
Come on Dad.
It’s gonna bloody rain!”
And Mum, not wanting to be overcome
And not to cry in front of all us kids
Just looked at him and told him not to swear.
And then we ran around
And closed up all the doors
And shut the window in the tractor shed
And sat and waited for the rain to come.
We waited all that day
Just looking at the clouds build up and
Waiting for the wind to rise
To bring the rain our way.
And then it rained.
A drop at first upon the iron roof.
And Billy did his rain dance once again
And got ticked off for swearing
And then it poured.
And poured for three long days.
And when in stopped the flat was two foot deep and
On the rise some green began to show.
But all this time Dad didn’t say a thing –
Just stood there all the while
And looked off miles away
And when I went to tell him lunch was on
He laid his hand
And roughed it on my head
And said “Thanks, son.
Tell Mum I’m on my way.”