Thursday poetry video: Dorothea Mackellar plus weather

La Nina did her stuff in Wollongong yesterday and hasn’t finished yet.

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Yesterday afternoon: Mount Keira disappears.

Of course there have been other La Nina summers, even if we didn’t know that’s what they were at the time. 1955-1956 stands out in my memory.

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Georges River, Sydney, in flood 1956.

At Sydney High School where I started my second year in 1956 one P.T., two years ahead of me, published this in The Record at the end of that year.

In Remembrance of Summer, 1955-56

a Very Wet Season

 

The love of sunburnt paddocks,

Of hot, dry, endless plains,

Of dusty scrub and mulga

Is running in your veins;

Strong love of bright blue distance,

Fine surf and cloudless skies –

I know but cannot share it,

My love is otherwise.

I love a rainsoaked country,

A land of flooded plains,

Of dripping mountain ranges,

Of almost constant rains.

I love her lost horizons,

I love her storm-tossed sea,

Her dampness and her marshes —

The wet grey land for me.

The inundated forests,

All sickly in the moon,

The fogbound misted mountains,

The cold grey drip of noon,

The clammy, clinging bushes

Where slimy leeches coil,

And debris decks the treetops

And fungus decks the soil.

Sluice of my heart, my country!

‘Neath pitiful grey sky,

When sick of rain (why blame them?)

The fed-up cattle die —

And then the grey clouds scatter!

But we’re prepared to bet

They will again bring back to us

The hot and soaking sweat.

Sluice of my heart, my country!

The land of musty mould,

For flood and flood and more flood

She pays us back threefold;

Over the sodden paddocks,

Watch over many days

The sticky mass of quagmire

That deepens as we gaze.

A broken-hearted country,

A sloshy, misty land —

All you who have not loved her,

You will not understand….

Though earth holds many splendours

Wherever I may die,

I know to what wet country

My homing thoughts will fly.

Brilliant! Here is the original.

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3 thoughts on “Thursday poetry video: Dorothea Mackellar plus weather

  1. Ha! This was the wet, wet year we emigrated to Australia and my father struggled to convince my mother that the weather was so much better in Australia than in the UK. First home after the migrant hostel was Mittagong which didn’t do much to improve the outlook.

  2. You must be a Brit, Sydneysider.

    MY country is a wider brown land
    where the mallee stands resplendent
    no water is at hand
    Survival is the key word
    We wait, dependent
    on hope and understanding
    that this land is not forgiving

    us europeans hope
    that this land will give us
    what we yearn for
    green and verdant land.

    Not so, never has been
    this ancient, patient,
    land is unforgiving;

    waiting

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