THE GOLD SEEKERS
© Terry Piggott
Winner, 2012 Bush Poetry Competition, Boyup Brook Country Music Festival, Boyup Brook, WA.
All bleary eyed I stretch and yawn and seek the strength to face the dawn,
then stumble out still half asleep and shiver in the morning chill.
And stealthily the shadows creep to wake the outback from its sleep,
just as the morning chorus starts to echo out around the hill.
The ashes have been coaxed to life — the billy’s boiled — I call my wife,
and soon the smell of toasted bread wafts through our camp to tantalize.
We huddle by the glowing coals while eating muesli from our bowls,
then watch the last stars fade away before the sun begins to rise.
As daylight starts to gather speed, the fading shades of night recede,
and sunshine soon will flood the land and bathe the earth with warmth again.
A golden glow has touched a hill then shines on leaves that shimmer still
and sparkle now like precious gems that brighten up this harsh terrain.
Then off we go to search for gold — an occupation for the bold.
My love and I for years have toiled and found enough to just survive.
But little do we really care, we’re happy with our meager share,
reward enough this life out here where freedom blooms and dreamers thrive.
Excitement comes with each small bit we find among the stones and grit,
which spurs us on to search for more throughout a long and tiring day.
Our smokos bring a chance to rest - compare our finds and joke and jest,
and then sit back, enjoy the views, and let our minds just drift away.
We love this land of clear blue skies where outback beauty greets our eyes;
the breakaways and sun burnt plains, gnarled mulga trees and ghostly gums.
An ancient land of weathered hills with winding tracks and creaking mills,
now warmed by beams of autumn sun, before the chill of winter comes.
We dream of course we’ll make a hit, instead of just the odd small bit,
with nuggets laying all around, just waiting for that special day.
Reality though soon returns; it’s not like that one quickly learns
persistence is the thing you need, then Lady Luck might smile your way.
We pause to watch the setting sun, then head for camp now day is done.
Excitedly we weigh our gold and see just what the scales reveal.
We tidy up as daylight dims and soon we’ll rest our aching limbs,
but first the oven’s placed on coals and left to slowly cook our meal.
We rest beneath a darkened sky — enjoy this moment — Val and I,
and watch the red flushed fading glow give way to stars as night takes hold.
We’ve stoked a fire that blazes bright to ward off cold that comes with night,
then while away an hour or two, before it’s bed and dreams of gold.
The outback life is not for all, but loved by those who heed its call
to wander over distant tracks away from towns and all their strife.
We search the country with due care and end up miles from anywhere,
a husband and a caring wife, a perfect team that’s set for life.