The Year o' the Flood by C.J. Dennis

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There's a drought-ridden, sun-blistered country,
   Away to the north o'er the ranges,
      Where the poor farming wreck
      Has a crick in his neck
Thro' lookin' for weather and changes.
Where the wind, from the furnace of Hades,
   Blows dust that has never been mud;
      Where the talk of the town
      Is of prices gone down,
And the drought since "the year o' the flood."

In every place there's a red-letter day,
   From which the folks reckon things up;
      Such as "When Riley's son
      Took a fall out of Dunne," 
"The year that Blind Mike won the Cup."
But, away in the dry, droughty country,
   Where the cattle live mostly on "end,"
      In that dull dusty clime,
      Every man counts the time
From "the year of the terrible flood."

It's a land of dull, disappointment;
   Of dreariness, drouth and despair;
      Where the farmin' folk live
      On what nature can give
In the way of sheoaks, and such fare.
It's the country of sore-eyes and sadness,
   Of "pip" and of poorness of blood.
      Ah, but watch their eyes light,
      In the pub of a night,
When they talk of "the year o' the flood."

Tho' the oldest inhabitant reckons
   He was "so 'igh, maybe at the time,"
      Ev'ry child above eight
      Has a yarn to relate
Of the joy of that deluge sublime.
And the landmarks have stood thro' the ages,
   Of the day when the streets last saw mud;
      When the poorest could get
      Any "lashin's" of wet
In the glorious year o' the flood.

High up in the limbs of a gumtree,
   That grows down by Tomlinson's shed,
      Is a huge withered stump,
      That a team couldn't hump;
Certain proof of the height, so 'tis said.
And they'll tell you that "up in that tree, sir,
   Is where Mathew Wimbleton stood,
      Where he hooked Johnson's daughter
      Up out of the water
That terrible year o' the flood!"

So they sit on the sun-blistered fences;
   They sit in the shade of the range;
      They sit on their nags,
      Or on bottles or bags;
Or they sit on their heels for a change.
And they've no time for Bedford or Dyson,
   And they ne'er heard of Lawson or Rudd;
      And they don't care a "darn,"
      For they've got a good yarn;
And they talk of "the year o' the flood." 

First published in The Critic, 16 August 1905

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 16, 2013 7:19 AM.

The Liberal Constitution by C.J. Dennis was the previous entry in this blog.

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