John is a long-time poet, short fiction, and article writer. He loves story-telling and also has a Certificate in Permaculture Design.
The Land That Noah Forgot
A sombre land of silent glass hills, where the mountain brumbies run
By winding tracks, on hillsides steep, the home of the Eucalypt gums.
And the breeze whistles through the tall she-oaks as the river below sings its songs.
A watchful land where the hills keep guard, surveying the landscape so grand
Like those who rest by the campfire at night, stretched out on the warm desert sand,
And in the night sky, the Southern Cross shines, and all is at peace with the land.
An eerie land where the ghost gums haunt, and all sound itself seems dead,
And a lone grey hawk, like a homeless soul, hovers noiselessly, overhead
And the land's great story is left untold, save for gossip and folktales that spread.
The lower plains stretch for miles, flat and vast, where the hardy saltbush grows,
Or the land instead maybe blackened and burnt, where the uncontrolled bushfires go,
Of false mirages or great hopes deferred - in the land where you never know.
A land of abundance, or land of despair, a game of reliance on chance,
Where Nature provides or Nature destroys, like a rocky, unstable romance.
Where creatures are hardy and built to survive, and emus and brolgas still dance.
And kookaburras' laughter echoes on the breeze, and warns of a danger nearby,
And drovers moved on, in the midst of the drought, but the farmers are just left to cry.
At the smell of the rain as it dampens the dust, where the bones of the dead cattle lie.
So, this is the land that Noah forgot, a place where the flood never touched.
A continent so far removed from the rest, with true natural beauty its crutch.
It's a land of such vastness, and climate extremes, the Australia that I love so much.
Off the Shelf
At first, I wasn't going to include this poem in my "Off the Shelf" series as it strayed somewhat from the format I have been using so far. All the books chosen so far have been novels, well except for Torn Apart which was a non-fiction story by James Patterson and Hal Friedman. This one, however, is a book of poetry titled The Animals Noah Forgot written by Australia's most famous bush poet A .B. Banjo Paterson and illustrated by renowned Aussie artist Norman Lindsay.
The subject of this delightful collection of A.B.Paterson's poetry is Australia's unique fauna and it was originally published in 1933. My copy is the 1970 edition. Unfortunately, I could not find a copy available of Amazon so possibly it is now out of print. I'm sure used copies can be found elsewhere, however, or at a library.
Unlike with previous poems in this series, for this one, I changed the title slightly from The Animals Noah Forgot to The Land That Noah Forgot.
For those who don't know, Banjo Paterson was also the writer of Waltzing Matilda, The Man From Snowy River, Clancy of the Overflow etc. He is also my favourite Australian poet and I have used his poetry as the inspiration for this poem and actually attempted to imitate his style (a couple of phrases borrowed.)
I'd also like to add that Australia is even much more diverse than what is depicted in this poem. We have a wonderful coastline with stretches of beautiful beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, and islands just off the coast. The north is lush green and tropical with rainforests almost meeting the sea. However, Banjo wrote primarily about outback Australia, cattle droving, sheep shearing, and country life so I have attempted to retain that essence in this poem.
© 2018 John Hansen