The Man from the Hard Country
It would only happen but once a year,
You’d see him, then he’d disappear,
A chance encounter, surely told
By all who saw him, young and old.
Or so they thought, the lookers on
This man, he moves in ways so strong
He’s not from here, nor anywhere close
He stood amongst us like a drover’s ghost.
He speaks to few, but when he does
They listen, like they do with Muz
The others, they just stand and stare
This man they feared, and would not dare.
He’d come this time for Tommy’s turn,
And Rupert’s too, with cash to burn
The cattle prices, they’d been good all year
And this man, he surely loved a beer
The womenfolk, they’d swoon and faint
For this man, they could never acquaint
But Shredder Holt – he’d be there
With a cheeky word, the big mug lair.
But across the room, young Toddy spoke
At first a whisper, and then a choke
“Who is this man who’s come again”?
“And from where begets his doubtless fame?”
So an old ringer spoke with careful tones
His flesh was weak, but not his bones
“This man, it’s said, is legendary
He comes, they say, from the Hard Country”.
From places here and places there
Of land so fierce and comfort rare
Across the Divide and way beyond
Where men are men, their word their bond.
You’ll find him where the horses tie
At night, with the cattle’s lullaby
A swag amongst them, he lays his head
A thrash of hay will be his bed.
But then they look and he has gone
For another year or later on
The mob grow restless and yearn for more
For the man they then go looking for.
But they’ll not find him where roads are paved
Or even still where tracks are made
For he has gone, alone to be
Back, at home, in his Hard Country.
Copyright – The Australian Stockman – 2015