Monday, 16 June 2014


Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

The days before were hot and dry, the months before as well.
At times a bank of clouds appeared -but just as quickly disappeared
a misted mauve light bathed the land and in the paddock he would stand
talking to ghosts with spirit voices – not one bloke down here rejoices
we are walking dark pathways all leading straight to hell.

Long days continued hot and dry with no relief in sight.
He watched his money disappear along with hope and now his fear
was soon that he would lose it all and that would no way be his call.
He struggled daily with these things, perhaps his thoughts had paper wings…
 his night-time dreams offered  no rest and little in respite.

The land wilted beneath the heat, and now paddocks were bare.
Dark spirits from primordial times were in each rock and tree,
he felt himself held in their arms.  Land – you belong to me
and though clouds came to tantalize not one drop fell from out the skies -
he saw grey cloud crevasses drifting by on the thin air.

He now recalled his father’s voice – it rains at end of drought.
He rubbed the sacred rain stone on a boulder ancestors had known
and drew the dreamtime serpents curves in dust, the rituals he observed.
He threw his boomerang up high to cut the clouds and let the sky
release the rain.  But had they heard?  An element of doubt.

That night he slept a dreamless sleep, beaten and out of choices.
And in the distance thunder rolled, the hot air cooled, the night turned cold.
The gum leaves rustled, turned their faces as the storm fronts wind outpaces
rain that fell vertically down to parched earths arms, dusty and brown;
as he slept on exhausted, soothed in sleep by spirit voices.

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