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The Land That Noah Forgot, a Poem

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.

The Animals Noah Forgot by A B Paterson, illustrated by Norman Lindsay

The Animals Noah Forgot by A B Paterson, illustrated by Norman Lindsay

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


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 08, 2018:

Thank you, manatita. Yes, I have mentioned A.B. Banjo Paterson on a number of occasions as he is probably my greatest poetic influence. 'Observational' poems is a good name for this particular style, i agree.

manatita44 from london on September 08, 2018:

Beautiful as ever. I love this style of poetry. I call them 'observational' poems and can do them from visualisation or preferably just sitting and looking as in Kenya recently.

I note you take yours, or the inspiration from a book. You have told me of this poet before. Exquisite art and poetry! Peace!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 06, 2018:

Hi Dave, yes Australia is a vast land. Much of the interior is dry or desert but the coastal areas and especially in the northern tropics get plentiful rain and are always green.

David Edward Lynch from Port Elizabeth, South Africa on September 06, 2018:

I see this as an emotionally moving, more serious poem. Australia seems such a vast country with many open spaces as well as big cities, I wasn't aware though of the lush green areas you mention. Thanks, good one John.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 04, 2018:

Ah Sean. Midnight Oil has recently reformed. The lead singer Peter Garrett entered politics and was Environment Minister for some time. He since resigned and rejoined the group, so you may be able to check them out again. I am glad they inspired you to research Australia and I do hope you get to visit here one day. I like that quote too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 04, 2018:

Yes, the world is so diverse, Shauna, and it is good to find out about other places that you can't actually visit in person. There is so much more to Australia than I can share or even Crocodile Dundee can portray lol.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 04, 2018:

Chitrangada. Yes, it is certainly an honour to write about one's own country, and you seem to delve deeper into your heart to find just the right words to do it justice. Thank you, for your continued encouragement. Glad you like the pictures too.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on September 04, 2018:

Back in the 80's, I loved a band from your beautiful land. The Midnight Oil. They were terrific, both music and lyrics! I liked them so much that I searched everything about Australia and I loved this "down under" strange Paradise! Thank you for the memories, the photos and your fantastic poem. I wish someday I'll come...

"How can we dance when our earth is turning

How do we sleep while our beds are burning."


Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 04, 2018:

John, I love learning about the parts of the world where my online friends live. I'm afraid all I know about Australia is what was shown in the Crocodile Dundee movies. And of course, what you share with us.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 04, 2018:

Excellent poem and amazingly beautiful pictures!

Australia is indeed an awesome country and your poem does full justice to it’s beauty. Writing something in honour of your country is a privilege, and one feels proud doing so, as you also must have felt.

Thanks for sharing!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 04, 2018:

So glad you enjoyed this poem, Alicia. Thank you for the kind words.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 03, 2018:

This is a lovely poem, John. You've ćhosen some wonderful photos to illustrate it. The words and the pictures match each other very well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Thank you, Flourish. It is certainly a rugged land with a unique beauty. I'm glad the photos and text complimented each other. Cheers.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Lora, what can I day after such a wonderful comment? Banjo Paterson was a wonderful poet and story teller and a number of his poems have been made into songs and even inspired movies. It surprises me he isn't better known outside Australia though his main theme is outback Australia and the Aussie bush lifestyle so it may not have appealed so much to those in other countries. I am sure you would love his poetry however. Thank you again for your generous words.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 03, 2018:

Your photos and writing are perfect complements. There is rough beauty in the forgotten lands.

Lora Hollings on September 03, 2018:

Just beautiful poem, John. I really loved your style and there are many phrases that captivated me with their beautiful descriptions of Australia- its flora and fauna. I especially like this stanza, ”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.”

I know after reading this poem, that I would love the poems of A.B. Banjo Paterson as well. Love the illustration on the cover of this book “The Animals Noah Forgot," and it must be awesome poetry to inspire you to write such a remarkable poem that haunts one with images that your masterful use of words create in evoking such stark and searing beauty. A gem of a poem! And I really enjoyed hearing these poems set to song and music in the video.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Thank you, Mike. In fact, the video is of extracts from the book The Animals Noah Forgot, so in a way I guess it did because the book was the inspiration.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on September 03, 2018:

Hello John - This is quite the piece of writing. It reminded me of the American West, and how many writers here have depicted it. The photographs added to the feel you presented. The video is prefect; I am surprised the video did not inspire this work.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Thank you, Rasma. Glad you enjoyed this. Take care.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 03, 2018:

Loved this. Thank you for the awesome poetic tour.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Linda, thank you for saying you think this poem is one of my best. When I write about my country I seem to reach a deeper place in my heart and the works of A B Banjo Paterson always inspire me also. Glad to hear this made you want to add Australia to your bucket list.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Tim, thank you for reading and enjoying this poem. Unfortunately drought and loss of livestock is a harsh reality in this country and much of it is suffering that at the present time. I am glad I introduced you to A B Paterson. He was a contemporary of Kipling and greatly influenced by him too. Blessings.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Eric, what can I say. Your words humble me. Thanks for reading and appreciating, My Friend.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Thank you so much, Bill. Yes, I do love my country, and glad that showed.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 03, 2018:

John, once again you found a source of inspiration, and then your Muse soared. I have always been fascinated by the diverse assembly of animals in your country. I had never thought of how they were passed over in the Great Flood, but it makes perfect sense. Your photos of the land are stunning and your descriptions make me want to put this on my bucket list.

This is one of your best.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Hi Rinita. Thanks for the lovely comment. The state of the Great Barrier Reef saddens me and I hope it can be saved and begin to recover. It is classed as one of the natural wonders of the world. I am glad I could portrait some of my country’s diversity in this poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Our countries are both so very different Mary, but both beautiful in their own way. I hope you get to visit again one day, and further afield than Sydney.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on September 03, 2018:

Thanks, John. Fabulous depiction of your splendid country. I love the rhythm of this one and I felt the pain of those people loosing their cattle. Thanks for introducing me to a new poet as well.

"And the land's great story is left untold," but John will share it with us, like other talents in that wonderful land.

God bless you.



Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 03, 2018:

"How can mere words lift us up to soar with eagles and yet plummet us down to where us mere mortals live, even sometimes in hell?"

Perhaps our Judah bloke from down under proves that it can be done if from the heart.

I have never read a piece of yours where I did not give thanks to God for you and this one is dear to my soul.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 03, 2018:

Beautiful images, John, spiced with your own obvious love for your country....one of your best!

Rinita Sen on September 03, 2018:

This is a beautiful depiction of your country, John. The imagery is so diverse in each stanza, makes the reader realize how diverse the country might be. I always had a fascination for the Great Barrier Reef, and it saddens me that it is in bad shape now. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 03, 2018:

I like diversity in landscape and nature and the landscape you highlighted here is one I have not lived in. It has always been water for me so the land Noah forgot is so fascinating. It is a pity that we have only been to Sydney. Maybe next visit but as you say, it is a bit far from Canada.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Ann, thank you for reading. I am glad my words brought back memories and enabled you to imagine yourself in Australia. I used to live very close to the Glass House Mountains at a place called Bellthorpe and looking straight ahead from the sloping backyard they were immediately in front of us. I hope you enjoy your next trip on the Indian Pacific and Ghan.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 03, 2018:

Stunning! What a beautiful poem about a varied and beautiful land. I have seen the Glass House Mountains, I love the scent of the eucalyptus trees, I've seen and heard kookaburras and I love the vastness of it all. You brought it all back to me with your well-crafted words, John. Thank you for rekindling those memories.

I shall be back in Australia next February; my sister and I are travelling on the Indian Pacific (for the 2nd time!) and then on The Ghan which will be fabulous. We're then going from Darwin to Cairns (to see the Reef) then down to Sydney and the Blue Mountains; I'm so excited about it all, especially as I thought my visit last December - March would be the last of all.


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on September 03, 2018:

Thank you, Anita. It is a lovely country. I am glad you could envisage the landscape.

Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on September 03, 2018:

Lovely poem John. I can see the countryside in my minds eye, as I read. Australia is such a beautiful country.

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