The Hive

So many things to write about but must keep my focus.

With two manuscripts on the go, and heaps of songs and poems,
photos and news, stay tuned for many beginnings.

This first entry features lyrics to a song inspired by a
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson hit called
Rattlin’ Bones. At the time of writing I was living alone in a
farmhouse, writing each day, and dealing with all the stuff in my
head and life that living alone forces you to do.

Looking out the window, across the dry, stalked fields
where sorghum stretches like a waving, russetted sea to the horizon,
dotted with moored farm houses, I’d reflect beyond my daily work,
wondering and questioning farm practices – the way we abuse country,
our loveless relationship with cattle, timber and water, and often with each other.
I long to return to far north Queenland, with its lush, fattened
country and, in this frame of mind, wrote …

Barren Ground

We’re going down. Earth’s cracked and brown,
And harder than a river stone.
It’s cold as hell – should’ve guessed as well.
Wouldn’t come here if I’d known.

Wind moans cold round this house, so old,
So rusted – it buckles and groans.
Clouds stay high, and the roof stays dry.
All’s left is the crop we’ve sown.

Dawns start grey with the wind all day,
Not a drop of rain comes down.
Sky’s like lead, like an unmade bed:
A loveless, barren ground.

Frost last night. Now sun shines bright
On the only place that’s warm.
But the water’s froze on the kitchen stove.
It’s hard when your man is gone.

Can’t bake bread when the fire is dead
And the water’s turning brown.
What else to do when the work here’s through
And there ain’t no jobs in town?

Days grow long and the wind’s still strong,
Cracking up the crazy ground.
I’ve sold the plough – tractor’s going now:
Back to the bank in town.

It’s a shame, disgrace how they farm this place –
Beating out a penny for a pound.
And now they’re digging holes and they’re mining coal –
Diggin’ under the barren ground.

Heat rolls in, creaking walls of tin:
An’ it’s hotter than a forge’s fire.
Rain tank’s low – nothing here will grow,
And nobody wants to hire.

Wind blows dry, and it stings my eyes –
As I squint out in the glare.
Ain’t no rain on this barren plain,
An’ we’re miles from anywhere.

It’s a shame, disgrace, how they treat this place –
With another drought settling in.
Shouldn’t be allowed, tilling barren ground
And trucking the water in.

Kids, pack your bags! Load up the swags –
Leave nothing but the dust on the walls.
We’re heading north where mountains cut the air
And, at night, the curlew calls.

We’ll drive all day, till we’re far away
From these dusty, barren plains,
To where the sugar stands tall
And the waterfalls
Thunder with the summer rains.

It’s what you love that you care for most:
So, how’s your pot of gold?
Greed’s okay – it’s the market’s way –
Of looking out for when you’re old.

But when you’re done and your fortune’s won –
When you’re tired and aching and bored,
What’s left to buy, so you’re bones won’t dry,
While you’re waiting for your Lord?

Copyright – Jo Grimmer 2008

 

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