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This Is a Sunburnt Country (God Give Us Summer Rains)

John is passionate about human and animal rights, social justice, equality, and the environment, and likes to convey that in his writing.

Dry brown grass

Dry brown grass

This Is a Sunburnt Country (God Give Us Summer Rains)

This summer has reached record highs,

The heat wave rages on.

Long days beneath the scorching sun,

Spring seems long since gone.

Just weeks ago the grass was green

Now it's brown and dying.

The water in the tanks is low,

The dams and bores are drying.


The sheep and cattle have no feed,

Starvation barely resisting.

Unless it rains this coming month

The herd will need agisting.

Meanwhile we're trapped within our home,

Too hot to venture out.

Fans and aircon turned on high,

I hate this prolonged drought.

Marsupials come out at dusk

Marsupials come out at dusk

The trees are stressed, the land is parched,

But wildlife struggles on.

Marsupials come out at dusk

To miss the scorching sun.

A Snow White Christmas just a dream,

A fable from afar.

The coolest place you'll find 'round here

Is an air conditioned car.

My Country by Dorothea MacKellar

The lines 'I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains' are from 'My Country', written by Dorothea Mackellar between 1904 and 1908.

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains.

So says MacKellar's famous poem,

But God give us summer rains.

— John Hansen

© 2016 John Hansen


Ann Carr from SW England on January 28, 2017:

A poem full of feeling and yearning for drops of rain! You've portrayed the situation so well, John. Strange that Australia has had such a summer and New Zealand one of the worst summers for years, apparently. My sister-in-law in Christchurch is bemoaning that fact.

Hope you've had some rain by now.


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 22, 2017:

Thank you, Sherry. Yes, this month has been a welcome relief. We have had more than sufficient rainfall to ease the drought here. The most rain in a month since January last year. I just hope there is more to come throughout the year.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 22, 2017:

Into each life some rain must fall they say. I hope some quenching rain is falling into yours.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 23, 2016:

Hi Dianna, fortunately, we have had 80 mm of rain this week, which has really eased the dry situation. A great Christmas present.

teaches12345 on December 23, 2016:

We have had a dry spell over the past two months but are receiving for Christmas. I pray you see rain as well to water your land and bring relief.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 19, 2016:

Shauna, this is a beautiful country but also one of the driest. Last year experienced record maximum temps almost every month since they have been recorded. This year those have been broken. We have also had more severe floods and bush fires in recent years than ever before.

The sceptics argue that these records are not relevant because they are only compared over a limited time period (recorded history) and that if you look at prehistoric history there have always been huge climate changes..Ice Age etc. I am no climate scientist but I just hope the world makes the right decision collectively so that the human race doesn't one day become extinct like the dinosaurs. The trouble is the main determining factor on action or inaction is always "the economy," and that does not fill me with confidence.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 19, 2016:

Beautiful, but so sad, John. Here it is December 19th and it's 83 degrees out. I don't understand how anyone can deny global warming. Are they deaf, dumb and blind?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 17, 2016:

Thanks Audrey, yes we are far away but I think California would be as close to a similar climate as possible in the US.

Audrey Howitt from California on December 17, 2016:

You do seem so far away--but California is a dry land--so I really get it--

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 17, 2016:

Thanks for your comment, Jo. I'd love to be staring out the window at some cold wet rain right now.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on December 17, 2016:

A vivid picture. Well done, and interesting to read as I sit here on my Tennessee hillside looking out at the cold, wet rain.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 16, 2016:

Fingers crossed you don't get sick this time, Missy. Yes, Letterpile seems more inclined to accept simple poetry/ no frills than HubPages originally did. That is good news for poets. Thanks for reading as always. I am so behind in reading and writing at the moment..real life is just too time consuming.

Missy Smith from Florida on December 16, 2016:

In North Florida, it has been mainly warm during the days and cool but not too cold at night. However, today I am freezing. The weatherman said it will not last but a couple of days though. We have had a little rain last week, but not a lot. I suspect with the up and down temps I'll be getting sick soon. I always do. Oh well...

I love that this is simply poetry. Recently, I had to update some earlier poetry and add a summary to it, and I kept thinking how I would just like to leave it as is. It's amiable that Letterpile picks the important part of the creative process sometimes and recognizes how good the poetry is without all the other stuff added. Very Nice!! :)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 16, 2016:

Hi Diana. As I was driving home today the air was full of smoke haze. I have seen the fire brigades on the road two or three times a week as well. I prefer the cold but then our cold is quite mild compared to most. Thanks for reading.

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on December 15, 2016:

Nice poem. We had a dry summer here. Many states dealt with wild fires right into the winter months. Now its the cold we are to deal with. I don't do cold well. I could have easily been a bear nestled in a warm den for the winter or a goose flying south. Nature knows best.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 14, 2016:

Genna, thank you dearly for your kind thoughts and prayers. Yes, those statistics you quote sound right. I wish you well in dealing with the polar vortex also. Cheers.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on December 14, 2016:

Such extremes in weather can be more than worrisome; especially when you have to live inside your home, unable to venture out for very long. And how the wildlife must be suffering. I've read that more than 80 per cent of Queensland and parts of northern New South Wales are in severe drought. I wish we had a way we could send rain, and lots of it, John. Right now we are gearing up for a bitter-cold, wet winter, with visits from what they refer to as the "polar vortex." This is after one of the most humidly-hot summers I can recall in some time. I liked your poem very much. Sending prayers your way.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 14, 2016:

Thank you for reading Mike. Glad I could capture some sense of what drought is like. Dorothea MacKellar's poem is an Australian classic. Yes, I think a rain dance is called for.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on December 14, 2016:

Hello John - Your poem captures the essence of a drought covered land well, as does Dorothea MacKellar's. It is tough to find the right balance. In SoCal, we here a lot about not using water.

Cue the rain dance.

Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on December 14, 2016:

Kuwait is a desert land. So the above mentioned climatic variations. But we are used to it. I was born and brought up here. :)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 14, 2016:

Wow, Sakina..55 degrees Celsius is scorching. We have a Summer maximum of around 44 degreesC, and Winter minimum around -3.

Sakina Nasir on December 14, 2016:

Kuwait is a country having extremes of temperature. There is no "in between here". We have scorching summers where temperatures go as high as 55 degrees Celcius. Winters are chilly too, sometimes having minus temperatures.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2016:

Thanks Dana. We are the opposite here, although our winter was not overly cold.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2016:

Yes, it does fit well with your dust bowl story, though this drought is nowhere near as severe as that yet. Rain would be nice though.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on December 13, 2016:

Beautiful poem. In the U.S. we had a very hot summer also, and now its winter and cold.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 13, 2016:

John, your poem goes along with my Dust Bowl story very well. Droughts are a wicked things. Very good poem. Good luck with the heat.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2016:

There isn't much that is more important to a farmer than rain, Larry. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2016:

Thanks whonu, you are right. I'll hand it over to the Lord and pray for rain.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2016:

I hope it cools down in Sydney too, stricktlydating. The last couple here have been a little milder.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2016:

That sounds just about perfect to me, Clive. I love Jamaican jerk too.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on December 12, 2016:

I grew up on a farm, so I know the importance of rain.

Wonderfully written.

whonunuwho from United States on December 12, 2016:

Hang in there my friend. Sounds pretty rough there and with the help of the good lord, and prayer things will improve. Thanks for sharing. whonu

StrictlyQuotes from Australia on December 12, 2016:

Interesting to read since it's a scorching hot day here in Sydney today!

Clive Williams from Jamaica on December 12, 2016:

Take a trip to jamaica, relax on white sand beaches, eat jerk chicken and drink rum. In a five star hotel my good friend.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Thanks, Ruby. We did get a little rain two days ago that cooled things down a little. But temps are expected to rise again from today. Glad you enjoy my poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Hello Audrey, yes it is difficult to imagine the different weather occurring on the opposite side of the planet. Thank you for the generous comment about my poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Hi Carb Diva, glad you enjoy my poetry, and thank you for the well wishes too. Hope the snow falls don't get too extreme.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Thanks for your kind thoughts Linda. I have never driven in snow but imagine it isn't easy.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Thanks so much Eric. You are right, how can you expect rain when you live in a desert? We have had a little rain this month but not enough to make much difference.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Thank you for the kind comment, Sakina. Kuwait must be a land of great contrast in climate.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 12, 2016:

John, we've had so much rain the water is out of the banks. The Northern states are snowed in. Here's hoping for a down-pour in your part of the world. It's freezing here, in the teens at night. BURR...Loved your poetry!!!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 12, 2016:

I love your "Sunburnt" description Jodah. I'm afraid I'm guilty of ignoring the weather outside of my own little world. Gonna change that now that I've seen another side through your poetry. You are the master of words my friend. Thank you.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 12, 2016:

John - I live in North America and tend to forget that there is another half of the globe that is experiencing the blistering summer we had just a few months ago. Two days ago I had 4 inches of snow.

I love your poetry--you are very skillful in your selection of words, and paint a very clear picture. I pray you receive some relief soon to your parched landscape and pray that you stay well and safe.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 12, 2016:

I'm sorry you're experiencing such hot and dry weather, Jodah. We've just had a fresh snowfall where I live. I don't like driving in the snow, but I'm very glad that I'm experiencing snowy weather instead of a drought.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 12, 2016:

Great stuff John. Really well done poem. I grew up in the desert and live in a coastal desert here. I kind of giggle at the silliness of lack of water here. Duh, we live in a desert.

But where you live a drought can be catastrophic. I wish you well and pray for rain for you.

It is scary when drought hits after the grasses have grown high and turned into tinder. So I also pray no fires.

Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on December 12, 2016:

A very beautiful and well written poem Jodah! Keep up the good work. ☺ I have experienced both scorching summers and chilly winters here in Kuwait. Right now, it is unbearably cold here...

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 12, 2016:

Meanwhile, in our neck of the woods, we are having record wet. I'll try to steer some towards you, John!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Thanks for that Buildreps. It is probably as a result of La Nina, though I haven't heard it mentioned recently by the Bureau of Meteorology here. Australia has had a seven-year weather cycle turnaround until recently when we seem to have a two-year drought followed by flooding rainfall conditions. You are also right that we should be listening to the Aboriginals for wisdom.

Buildreps from Europe on December 12, 2016:

I hope things will get better soon, John.

It has probably to do with the PDO cycles. La Nina (cold Gulf stream) has become more active in the Pacific. Many people tend to think when it becomes colder it would become wetter. But because Australia lies partially in the tropics vaporization of the last bits of water are transported by warm air towards the Pacific where this Cold Gulfstream runs. It is so to speak a by product of the second Law of Thermodynamics. The South West of the US and Mexico are facing similar problems.

Many people would blame it on global warming, which on its turn would be caused by the CO2 exhaust of your neighbour's SUV, but it is highly unlikely that has anything to do with it.

The ancient Aboriginals know perhaps what to do if we were able to listen to them.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2016:

Thanks for reading Lori. Yes, the weather is crazy, but it has been volatile over the years. Here in Australia however, you notice changes more than most places..everything has been more extreme in recent years...drought, flood, bushfires etc. Enjoy the snow.

Lori Colbo from United States on December 12, 2016:

Great poem. I forget you're in the middle of summer. We in the US are slated for a cold winter. Go figure. I don't really know what to make of the whole global weather controversy. I like to call it weather. For the span of time the earth has been here, we've had a lot of crazy times when it comes to droughts, ice ages, etc. The earth is still turning and we're still here. Snow predicted tomorrow here in the Pacific Northwest. Neener neener. :)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2016:

Thank you for being the first to read this, Flourish. If there is no global warming there is something crazy happening here! Glad you liked the flow of the poem.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 11, 2016:

With it being so cold here in the US, summer seems worlds away but I can relate to the misery of drought and heat and being trapped indoors. I hope it lets up soon. And yet some say there is no global warming. Hmm. Your poem flows nicely.

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