The North Wind in Australia (a poem)
With apologies to John Masefield's 'The West Wind'
It's a hot wind, the north wind, full of blowflies,
I never hear the north wind but dust gets in my eyes.
For it comes from the inland, the old dry hills,
And fire's in the north wind, and other ills.
It's a wide land, the inland, for years so dry and bare,
Camels wild and donkeys, too, upset the ecology there,
'Til emu and kangaroo can find no place to rest;
Spinifex grows and not much else, no place for a bird to nest.
Will it not rain today, brother? Next year is far away.
When it was spring the clouds came, we prayed it would rain that day,
But bright burns the sun, brother, and dries up the earth again,
The clouds blew away, brother, and now there's no sign of rain.
The red earth lies bare, brother, parched in the relentless sun,
Eternal blue sky and bleached white bones, and no rivers run.
It'd be balm to a man's soul, brother, relief to a man's brain
To hear the wild winds blow and see clouds gather again.
Storms gather in the north, brother, perhaps they will bring the rains,
Or floods will build in the gulf lands and water will creep to the plains.
The sky grows dark, brother, the red clouds are filled with dust;
Close everything quick, brother, northern topsoil's in that gust.
Now the rains have come and across the land muddy waters silently spread,
The road runs straight to the north, brother, but in floods we cannot tread
'Til the land is filled with lush grass and we hear the birds' sweet song;
The world has come alive, brother, this land where we belong.
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