In these weather crazy times, I am reminded that drought, bush-fires and flash floods have plagued Australia for thousands of years.
The famous Australian poet Henry Lawson, (1867-1922) wrote of such regular occurrences in 19th century Australia. Here’s an extract from his poem “Song of the Darling River.”
The skies are brass and the plains are bare,
Death and ruin are everywhere–
And all that is left of the last year’s flood
Is a sickly stream on the grey-black mud;
The salt-springs bubble and quagmires quiver,
And–this is the Song of the Darling River:
“I rise in the drought from the Queensland rain,
I fill my branches again and again;
I drown dry gullies and lave bare hills,
I turn drought-ruts into rippling rills–
I form fair islands and glades all green
Till every bend is a sylvan scene.
I have watered the barren land ten leagues wide!
but in vain I have tried, ah! in vain I have tried
To show as a sign from the Great All-Giver;
His Word to a people: Oh, lock your river.”
What are your thoughts on this extract from this eastern Australian poem? Is it a ballad? What is a ballad?
write a poem, a prose poem or a micro-fiction about a river in flood. Think outside the box. What other rivers are there besides the traditional “river” ? For example: think of cliches such as “sell down the river” (betrayal) or “up the creek without a paddle” etc. Don’t use the cliche but perhaps write about its implication.