Works in the Herald 1934
She knows the Mallee's tragedy
   Of thwarted hope, of pain,
Of promise wrecked, when weak men flee
   And strong men pray in vain;
While day on burning day drifts by
Beneath a brazen, cloudless sky.

She knows the bane of Mallee dust
   When Mallee droughts come down
To filch the last of lingering trust
   And darken her small town --
Darken men's hearts and minds until 
Nought serves her, save a stubborn will.

All this she knows.  Yet she knows, too --
   On thro' the tale of years
The changing luck of gamblers, who
   Undaunted, scorning fears
Strive on, till fickle fortune rains
A wondrous gift of sudden gains.

And then she knows that mystic thing
   Her jealous earth concealed --
The glory of a Mallee spring
   And many a fruitful yield
Of green corn quickened by sweet showers,
And kine that flatten mid the flowers.

So has she lived beside her lake
   The good and bad years thro';
Till man-made streams now flow to slake
   Her thirsty earth anew,
And man's unconquered will has planned
New life for this unstable land.

And who shall say no day may dawn
   When, from the Mallee's soil
Drought's fingers are at last withdrawn,
   Seeking no more their spoil;
And, man and Nature in accord,
Win, year by year, toll's meet reward.

Herald, 11 May 1934, p6

This was part of the Country Towns series.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06