Referring to the frequent floods in East Gippsland and the consequent erosion of the soil, an officer of the Water Commission declares that, if forest destruction continues at its present alarming rate, the complete denudation of the highlands is a mere matter of time.
"They ran the land on Rafferty's rules With each man out for himself, Greed's generation of mostly fools Who bartered their race for pelf. For their thought was all for the cash in hand, And none for the future's need; Since they deemed the land was all their land, And gave to their sons scant heed." If thus it be spoken in future years Of our greed and our senseless haste, When the full grim tale of our folly appears Writ plain o'er a land laid waste; When the floods have taken the last green blade And the winds the last rich mould -- Revealing the ruin our hands have made -- How then shall our memory hold? For we run our land on Rafferty's rules, With little of scheme or plan Yet, not for a generation of fools, For the service of deathless Man Does earth put forth her fruit and flowers And her tall, earth-binding trees That hoard the treasure of quickening showers Thro' the countless centuries. But we felled the forest and laid earth bare To the tmepest and the flood; For our minds were on the profits there, And the lust was in our blood For sudden riches, cushioned ease In our time -- and ours alone; So we laid the axe to the harboring trees And stripped earth to the bone. Now must we stand by helplessly And watch life-giving earth Go out on the flood to the open sea And what was our striving worth? We have filched long-hoarded treasure here To serve the need of a day. But how shall this work of our hands appear? And what shall our son's sons say? "They ran the land on Rafferty's rules, They ravaged the hill and the plain. Now they are dead and dust, poor fools, Where is the ultimate gain? Where forests flourished the rock grins bare; Earth's fruitfulness is gone Since a generation of thieves dwelt here And plundered, and passed on."
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005|