When You Were By My Side

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When You Were By My Side

Post by Terry » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:04 am

An old one about the years Valma prospected full time with me for about ten Years,
I loved every day of it. - It was possibly on the old forum?


Remember when we started off along that dusty track,
just you and I so full of hope; we never once looked back.
Our home was just a draughty tent we moved from show to show,
while seeking golden nuggets all those many years ago.
And life was so exciting in this land so vast and wide,
the outback was a place of dreams, when you were by my side.

We bounced on over rugged tracks out where the eagles soar,
to try our luck in distant spots where few had been before.
And you were right there with me as we struggled on each day,
to find the precious metal that would make this venture pay.
Those isolated campsites were our refuge at day’s end,
among eroding hills where rough and beauty seemed to blend.

We’ve searched the likely gullies and along the winding creeks
and trekked across the endless flats and climbed the stony peaks.
I watched you as you toiled away with dust upon your face,
you always had a ready smile despite the solid pace.
We’d sit around the campfire with our steaming mugs of tea,
just soaking up the solitude so loved by you and me.

You loved the rugged beauty of this wild and pristine land,
and viewed the changing scenery; the hills and desert sand.
The grandeur of the break-a-way; a timeless work of art,
a place of stunning beauty that can melt the hardest heart.
Majestic groves of gimlet stands of mulga and of gum,
we lived the life of nomads that our lives had now become.

We passed the lonely homesteads hidden in the far outback,
and heard the creaking windmills as we crossed each station track.
And viewed the distant ranges shrouded in a purple haze,
that hid their many secrets from our keen enquiring gaze.
Then marveled at the sunsets as the light began to fade,
and felt that we were lucky in this choice that we had made.

We’d known some scorching summers with their days of searing heat,
while longing for some cooling shade to rest our aching feet.
And felt the chill of winter when the ground was white with frost,
and visions of Nirvana for awhile at least were lost
Then saw the country flooded after days of drenching rain,
while camped up on the high ground well above the flooded plain.

We watched the desert blooming after years of wretched drought,
with miles of vibrant flowers that soon paint the landscape out.
Next came the flocks of brilliant birds to feast upon the seed,
the budgies in their thousands join small finches here to breed.
Breath taking scenes of colour as the country lives again;
how quick the land recovers with a drop of precious rain.

Then came the time I had to say, “this is too hard for you”,
I’d seen your strength was fading; you had reached the end I knew.
From deep within your weary heart you knew that I was right,
yet still you were reluctant to give up without a fight.
And when that final day arrived, you bid a sad farewell,
to your beloved outback that had long since cast its spell.

I dream about those happy days; our spirits roaming free,
across the miles of wilderness while you were there with me.
And wish that I could turn back time and you’d here once more,
to brighten my existence like you always did before.
Our camps were rough and basic but you tended them with pride,
and life was at its very best, with you there by my side.


© T.E. Piggott

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Shelley Hansen
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Location: Maryborough, Queensland

Re: When You Were By My Side

Post by Shelley Hansen » Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:12 pm

I love this Terry - and I have read it before, somewhere. Not sure where.

It is a beautiful tribute and salute to memory.
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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Re: When You Were By My Side

Post by Terry » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:06 am

Special Times and special Memories Shelley



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Catherine Lee
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Re: When You Were By My Side

Post by Catherine Lee » Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:39 pm

So beautiful and poignant, Terry - this must have been difficult to write, with such special memories of past times. You take me there with your always superb images, and you also make me want to cry. It's a wonderful poem.

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Re: When You Were By My Side

Post by Terry » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:52 pm

Thanks Catherine for your very kind and generous words.

The poem is a true reflection, on what was a very special time in my life.
I've just written it, as it really was.


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Re: When You Were By My Side

Post by r.magnay » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:15 pm

Gday Terry, yeah I remember that from sometime ago on one of the sites, having read plenty of your work it is obvious that you have written it the way it was/is.
I have come out of retirement for awhile and been back out bush fitting smart meters for the mob I worked for 30 years ago. Last week we were in Glendambo (The replacement for Kingoonya in case you haven't been up there for awhile..) we had three inches of rain one night so we couldn't get into Kingoonya, we had to go and do Marla first. That took about 5 days and when I was coming back home the country looked as lush and colourful as a picture...as you mention in the 7th stanza.
Keep well old mate.

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Re: When You Were By My Side

Post by Terry » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:45 pm

G/day Ross

It's been awhile mate since I was anywhere neat the country you speak of.
Speaking of Kingooya, I remember playing a game of cricket there in the middle of the road, just in front of the old pub.
Our mob had come over from Coober Pedy to play a team they'd managed to round up from around the district.
The road was still unsealed and heavily corrugated in those days - 180 miles of misery if I remember right.
It's also the place where sometime later our wicket-keeper marched into the bar there ordered a beer, and confessed,
That he'd shot a mate dead back in Cobber Pedy The night before - all drunk of course. He was a good bloke as well,
and died as a fairly young man in prison.
Good to Hear from you Ross, wish I'd been up there with you despite the rain.

Cheers mate


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