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Friday, 18 November 2005

Bush Poetry

Bronze Spur Award 2005

First - Colleen McLaughlin "Song of the River"
Second - Kelly Dixon "These Dirranbandi Plains"
Third - Graham Fredriksen "Big Poley Saddle"
Highly Commended - Ron Stevens "Choices at Gilgandia"
Highly Commended - Kelly Dixon "'Til the Last Sunset"

Song of the River

I am swinging to the northward, I am curving to the south,
I am spreading, I am splitting, running free.
I am creeping past the sand hills, going steady as the land fills,
For all my channels lie ahead of me.

Through the grassland and the mulga, past the rocks eroded bare,
I will cover up the secrets, buried deep.
For if man thinks he can beat me, I will tell him come and meet me,
But the signs to show the way are mine to keep.

Because I am the Diamantina, and I rule the great outback
I'm its heartbeat, I'm its keeper, it's my land.
With my channels full and flowing, and the grasses green and growing,
I'm the power that man must learn to understand.

I will take your heart and hold it, I will commandeer your soul
You must learn to read the rhythm of its ways.
If you want to know and share it, do not take its heart and tear it,
For I'll tell you now - the loser always pays.

Listen hard - I'm Diamantina - and the sand hills and the plains
Need my water as their lifeblood - it's my land.
Should my channels cease their flowing, then with dusty dry winds blowing,
I will know you have not learnt to understand.

by Colleen McLaughlin

Have you found Godfrey?

There's a question that is plaguing this student of the scrub.
I've been quizzing grizzled, old hands of stock camp and outback pub
for a glint of understanding of this figure shadowy
but a blank is all that I can draw on who this man might be.

He's been rumoured around Stanthorpe and of late near Camooweal
like the fox that raids the chook pen, in and out of town he'll steal.
It seems no one has seen his face, just glimpsed him from the back,
or dust off his old trayback drifting on some outback track.

Absent in official records, found on no electoral list,
no rap sheet from the coppers. Does this bloke really exist?
I've searched from downtown Sydney to the Speewah boundary gate
making phone calls, punching keyboards, trying to run this bugger's plate.

I'm appealing now for info. Can somebody shed some light
on this character who seems to be a phantom in the night?
He cropped up last in "Cattle Pads", wrote, drew and disappeared.
Finding him's like riding "Rocky Ned", but I will not be speared.

There's just no way I'll be beaten. I'll track down this outback lair
who's perfected the technique of vanishing into thin air.
I'll gnaw at this dilemma like a pigdog at a bone
'till I find out who the bloody hell is Godfrey Muddlestone!

© Jack Drake 2005


Camooweal proudly declares itself 'Gateway to the Northern Territory / Queensland'. The road from Mount Isa to the town, known as Tojo's Highway, was built during World war II with American funds. It was originally designed as the inland defence route for World War II, a link between the southern states and the theoretical front line in the Northern territory. Built by army engineers, the road carried over 1000 vehicles a day. There are numerous WW2 historical sites along the road.

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 October 2006 )
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