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Maureen K Clifford
Posts: 7708
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:31 am
Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast


Post by Maureen K Clifford » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:01 pm


Roses bloomed in gay profusion on the trellis.
Shaded yellow, red and pink and snowy white.
The air was softly scented by these colourful beauties,
but the wattle blossom filled him with delight.
He’d taken cattle on the road, for they’d run out of feed
and the balance in the bank was getting low.
She stayed home with the children to keep the home fires going;
to protect their lambs from death by fox and crow.

She waved goodbye from their homes old front verandah.
“You’ll be right” she heard him say as he drew rein.
“I’ll only be a month or so and then love I’ll be back
just as Cootamundra wattle blooms again.
Take good care love and keep the rifles loaded,
don't forget to shed the ewes and new born lambs.
I've chopped and stacked enough wood, to keep the fires burning
if there's trouble Jimmy Mac knows where I am.

I‘ll return when Cootamundra wattle blooms over the plain,
and together we can laze away a day.
Wait for my return, keep watch; I won’t be long my darling
then beneath the wattle blossoms we can lay.”

The endless days weighed heavy on her shoulders,
and night time darkness seemed to linger long.
She missed her husbands' company, this man she held so dear
though this harsh and lonely life had made her strong.
She knew that he’d be back when golden wattle bloomed again,
when a sea of yellow blooms festooned the track.
He’d return to his family and homestead on the plain.
For the scent of wattle always called him back.

Above the distant hills the dark clouds gathered,
In the distance lightning flashed and lit the sky.
The smell of sulphur lingered in the hot and humid air,
as rain plopped onto red soil dusty and dry.
Heaven opened its sluice gates, rain filled the contours
Rusting gutters overflowed, the tank was full.
Water trickled into dams that had been dry and empty;
ran the creeks that had been dank and stagnant pools.

I‘ll return when Cootamundra wattle blooms over the plain,
and together we can laze away a day.
Wait for my return, keep watch; I won’t be long my darling
then beneath the wattle blossoms we can lay.”

A mile from home he tried to cross a gully.
He’d been on the road to home now for a week.
He didn’t want to wait another minute or an hour,
separated from his woman by this creek.
His tired horse lost its footing, the causeway had washed away.
It fell hard and in the currents flow horse rolled.
The brave and valiant animal worked desperately to rise.
but alas its rider relinquished his hold.

His body tossed and tumbled in the water
midst debris washed downstream from the higher hill.
Discarded by the torrent on a bank of river scree
magpies sang a eulogy o'er body still.
They found him in the morning when his horse had made it home
to the front gate where it waited patiently
with knees all torn and bleeding and no saddle on its back.
What had happened was for all quite plain to see.

His plain and simple coffin four mates carried.
On the top his boots, Akubra and a spray
of Cootamundra wattle shining brightly in the sun,
as they lowered him into his final grave.
‘When Cootamundra wattle blooms again love I’ll be back’
the last words he spoke to her just as he left.
True to his word he now lay ‘neath them alongside the track
with his girl kneeling beside him quite bereft.
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I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland


Post by Shelley » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:08 pm

Shades of Henry Lawson there Maureen. Sadly, I'm sure this has been a true story more than once in the outback.
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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