© Colleen McLaughlin

Winner 2011, ‘Bronze Spur Award’, Drovers’ Camp Festival, Camooweal, Queensland.

There’s a hunger deep within me for some land to call my own,
Far from greenhouse gas emissions, somewhere I can be alone.
Somewhere out where stars are shining, where there’s dirt and dust and flies,
And the heat waves dance and shimmer underneath the cloud free skies.
Somewhere where you stand and wonder – is it really worth the toil
Do the days of green and plenty, balance out the barren soil?
Once the earth was never cluttered – never felt the stamp of man.
Life was ruled by Mother Nature, from whenever time began.
There was food that needed water – there were plants that liked it dry –
There was balance there for living.  Man said, “Let me have a try.
Surely life would be more pleasant, with more time for rest and fun,
Must we hoard each leisure moment till we find the work is done?”
“You must just be more efficient,” were the words heard clear and loud,
(They were weeds in Nature’s garden, planted by a noisy crowd).
Mother Nature smiled benignly, tucked away her secrets deep,
Kept the laws to her entrusted, knew the rules she had to keep.
Give to some, like me, the longing for some dirt to call my own
So I’d know the satisfaction when I’d harvest what I’d sown.
There is nothing so efficient that it beats the magic feel
Of the dirt beneath your finger nails, because you know it’s real.
When the dust clouds whirl around you, and the sky is brazen blue.
Then you know you’re being tested – and there’s nothing you can do
Only grit your teeth and bear it – feel the pain and carry on –
For your soul would not forgive you, if you quit, and all was gone.
Sometimes you look and wonder, “Is that water on the plain?”
No.  It’s only just mirages that have fooled you once again.
But clouds are hanging, dark and low, with flickerings of light.
Technology – the weather man – predicts, “No rain tonight.”
But Mother Nature smiles a smile, and calls her army in,
And raindrops dance with gleeful feet upon the roofs of tin.
The morning brings your answer when your feet are caked with mud,
And the water’s rushing, swirling, in a choc’lat frothy flood.
And it’s now you know the hunger lying deep within your soul
Is the force that will enable you to keep that far off goal.
Efficiency and progress are the weapons made by man
To compete with Mother Nature, but she has, since time began
Known exactly when to water, and to balance it with dry,
And to give to man the blessing of an unpolluted sky.

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