Bush Poets – The Man from the Hard Country – The Australian Stockman

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

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