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Hard Times Reckoning

Updated on December 9, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

The river’s as dry as bone; my farm land needs a flood

Crops lost along with all of the toil, sweat, and blood

Everybody’s giving up; seems they've lost their steam

Reckon I’ll just wait for God to bring us a new dream

Dust is all in my old house and scattered all around

Ain’t got no home as such no more, just a dust mound

There are people all about confused as to where to go

Reckon I’ll just wait right here for God’s Grace to show

The land is dry as a powder keg; no rain now for a year

It’s so dry around these parts, even our eyes will not tear

Some say we need to move on; pack up and leave this place

Reckon I’ll just wait here for the rain of God’s Good Grace

Jobs are drying up, no money in town; all of us are broke

The bills keep coming; no money, no whiskey, no smoke

Folks are saying let’s move on, leave this forsaken hell

Reckon I’ll wait for God to come; see what he’s got to tell

Wife’s gone and took the little ones; she could not stand it

Things could be better, had they gone the way I planned it

Guess everything is about the “do’s” and not about the “did’s”

Reckon I’ll wait ‘til God gets here and ask him about my kids

Poor man’s got a lot to shoulder; seems more as he gets old

Hard times come in summer heat or winter’s chilly cold

Some folks give up; others move on, some just up and die

Reckon I’ll just wait for God so that I can ask him why?

Hard-scrabble land, hard-scrabble life, bacon sliced so lean

Seems that all our lives, hard times are all that we have seen

It bleeds your soul; breaks your heart and wears down a man

Reckon I’ll just wait for God and ask him to help us if he can

Nothing much left here to want, these hard times took it away

A man’s got to look mighty hard to find a reason to stay

Most will leave as they lose hope and their ambitions numb

Reckon I’ll just wait here for God; I hope he plans to come

© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh I bet you did! I'm glad you got home safe too:-). I'm just sitting down for my reading hour, or so! Haha!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...Made it back from Colorado this PM...back to business! Had a good time! WB

      @50 Caliber...Thank you, 50. I think everybody has some pictures of hard times and I think that indicates haow widespread it was. My mom always said that having a job in those times was a miracle. Thanks for the good words! WB

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Wayne, an awesome statement in a fine fashion. I've got pictures of family from that era, I had a thought, money was scarce, ration stamps were given (have some of them as well) I wander how the photos were paid for? Glad they were as it puts faces and conditions together with the stories, but back to the pictures, looking at them my family didn't start much better in the mining camps of the late 40s to early 50s.

      other than they had jobs. One of your finest articles, thanks Dusty

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thank you WB - I liked that:)

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...if my memory serves me correctly, that is "The Staple Family Singers" on the video. WB

      @Micky Dee...Hard times is never too far done even a paved road, Mick. Thanks much! WB

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      A lot of people live and die on Hard Scrabble Road. They're paving Hard Scrabble Road but hard times still go right through there. Hard times come again no more. God bless!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Yes - I know! I've just not read a novel in the last month! No I was just curious about the music to this video in the article - rather the music (bless you!) Now go spend time with your family! This old Yankee will be here for while I hope!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife....Sounds like a plan but you may not find all of them. Let me know next week and I will send you a current list of links. Thanks much! WB

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hi WB - I made a plan that I would visit my favorites each evening to try to glean one more thing before I go to sleep at night. This way I can sort of catch up - I feel like I have already missed out on so much! This was lovely! I enjoyed the video as well. Can you tell me the name of the singer and the song title in the video - I would guess "hard times" but you never know! Thank you!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @chspublish...they certainly are and I am afraid they will get tougher before they get better. Energy costs if nothing else will drive so much of it for so many families. Hopefully, we won't return to the place in the picture. Thanks. WB

    • chspublish profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      Hard times are here again, unfortunately. A man calls a radio station for help with debt collectors at his door. Who can help? Banks hire these agencies to compell those on hard times to pay up with nothing to give. Hard times! Love the piece and the song rendition.

    • cjv123 profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Wayne this is so well written it made me thirsty! Your writing never ceases to entertain!


    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Very powerful poem. It makes you wonder how much a person/family can withstand. Like saddlerider said - the strong survived. Your poem could be a companion piece to the awesome YA (young adult) free-verse novel named Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse - set in Oklahoma during the dust bowls. The main character is Billie Jo, and her hopes and dreams, along with her beloved piano, are buried beneath drifts of dust. Both sad and beautiful -- like your poem.

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Wayne I couldn't begin to imagine the feeling of hardship and loss and frustration that would set in on a family's will to go on with the life they had. The Great depression took it's toll no doubt on the human spirit and broke many a will of a God faring family.

      Yet somehow the strong survived, they kept moving forward, kept close as a family and looked for a light at the end of this depressing life. Waiting for God is something many of us only have left, many a time I sat alone asking for God's intervention in my hopeless life,

      I truly believe if you listen intently you will hear Gods whisper to you when you fell hopelessly lost. Great write Wayne, you are becoming a master at your craft.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      One of the subjects I've written about myself, hard times that is. good poem.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Christopher Price...I wish I could tell you that was the plan on this one from the start...but it was not. This was just a case of inspiration driven by the end of the verse tag line. I guess it worked out regardless. Thanks Chris! WB

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 

      7 years ago from Vermont, USA

      As I read this I kept remembering Samuel Beckett's absurdist play "Waiting For Godot".

      "Life is what you missed while waiting for direction."

      To "wait for God" to intervene describes so well the exhausted paralysis borne of desperation. The "Great Depression" describes the human condition as well as the economic situation of the era.

      Your poem reflects well the harsh realities.


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Ryancb4928...Thank you. If you liked this one, you'll find several more around here that will fill the bill. Thanks for the good comments...I'll check out your site.

      @No_Clue...I hoped it would! Thanks for letting me know! WB

      @MartieCoetser...Thanks so much. The tag line just seemed to go with someone experiencing a hard time...that's how it all came together. WB

      @breakfastpop...Glad I could paint the picture for you Poppy! WB

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      Amazingly powerful and vivid. Your words always sweep me away. Up and awesome!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Wayne, you’ve hit a nail right on its head with this one. Bull’s eye! And so well-written in poem-format. I’m in awe! Yes, with respect, God has a lot of explaining to do.... whenever he plans to come.

    • No_Clue profile image


      7 years ago

      powerful poetry...made the reader feel the pinch! I, too, love your "tag line"...!

    • Ryancb4928 profile image

      Ryan Christopher Beitler 

      7 years ago from Peachtree, PA

      Beautifull detail! I held the picture at the top close when reading through your feelings of the depression. Hope to find some of your other work. Check me out and I will follow you ")

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @WillStarr...I have heard many a story about those days in my family. Hope blew away on the wind for so many in those days of the dust bowl. Thanks Will. WB

      @drbj...I heard they labeled it that to distinguish it from all others...they must have been expecting more. My mother told me that money was scarce as hen's teeth in those days. WB

      @BenWritings...All I had when this one started was the tag line..."I think I'' just wait for God...." It grew out of that and asking myself why a man would stay somewhere when all hope was lost...he had to wait for God. Thanks for all those good words Ben...very appreciated. WB

      @Rhonda Waits...There are some overtones which I think may be even clearer in the short term. Thank you for those great comments! WB

      @Mrs J.B....Thank you and thanks so much for taking the time to read it! WB

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 

      7 years ago from Southern California

      This hub is so beautiful

    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 

      7 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      A great hub Wayne. I does sound like today. Everybody is having hard times. Very well written my friend.

      Voted Up.

      Sweet wishes Rhonda

    • BenWritings profile image


      7 years ago from Save me from, Tennessee

      I loved how you kept the theme throughout each verse, with the last line about God.

      Great rhymes, great words. Makes me feel the pain. Not too different from many people's current situation :/

      You are a great writer, every time. Thanks Wayne!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Your excellent hard-times poetry was the perfect addition to the photo and video of the hard times in the Great Depression. I always wondered, Wayne, what was so Great about it?

    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Those were bleak days indeed. On top of a major depression, we had a years-long drought right in the nation's breadbasket.

      Very good Hub Wayne.


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