DROVING GRASSHOPPERS
© Terry Piggott

Winner, 2015 ABPA WA State Championship – Humorous Section, Toodyay WA.

The strangest job I ever had was at a place called Jildaree,
while rounding up Grass Hoppers in the plague of ninety three.
And there were millions of the mongrels chomping any green that shows;
they’re hungry little bludgers too, as everybody knows,

They’d started heading for the wheat-belt with the grain crops in their sights,
which cost a thousand Cockies there a lot of sleepless nights.
I quickly then devised a plan to make them head the other way,
I still think it was brilliant now - despite what others say.

I got a hundred Crop dusters to paint a massive strip of green,
where even up in outer space they say it could be seen.
The strip led to an outback salt lake, off in country hot and dry
and there with any sort of luck, the little sods should die.

And for awhile it went like clockwork and it really worked a treat,
for soon there wasn’t anything those blighters wouldn’t eat.
It seemed that something in the paint had caused the hoppers to mutate
and now their bodies could digest all sorts of things they ate.

They mowed down all the trees and bushes - plus the odd homestead or two
and there was one occasion when they chomped an outside loo.
A shearer’s cook had taken residence just as a swarm moved through,
then in a flash the Loo had gone and all his clothes had too.

And then one day disaster struck when sheep were painted by mistake
and from that moment onwards then, we all began to quake.
For once they got a taste for meat there was no way to hold them back,
and cats and dogs and chooks and such became a tasty snack.

There seemed no way of stopping them and things were getting out of hand.
as anything that’s in their path was stripped clean of the land.
They’d started out as tiny insects but were now the size of birds
and left the country barren as they roamed about in herds

We came across a mob of cattle near some buildings by a track
and did those stockmen scarper in the face of that attack.
There must have been a thousand head there, when the hoppers reached the sheds;
then like a flock of winged piranha, tore those cows to shreds.

By then we were quite desperate; the situation really dire,
we even contemplated setting half the state on fire.
There seemed no way of stopping them as to the south those mutants hopped,
with this year’s crop as good as gone unless the sods were stopped.

And then I saw how it must be; although the cockies would protest,
we’d sacrifice some crop to help exterminate the pest.
I’d use again the crop-dusters to go and spray the wheat with salt
and with a river just beyond I’d bring this to a halt,

They stripped the wheat in no time flat but soon there came an awful thirst,
That forced them to the river; boy you should’ve heard them burst.
the water caused the wheat to swell and it was just like world war three,
with bits of hoppers ricocheting off the trees near me.

You’d think I’d be a hero now despite the loss of wheat and trees,
but cockies are a whinging mob and really hard to please.
I’d saved them from disaster and enriched their soil with hopper dung,
yet there were some who’d cursed me; others thought I should be hung.


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