Sunday, November 02, 2014

767 - The Outlook

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #185) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:

standing, satisfied, burn, jaded, spark, rain
way, sun, cold, grey, joy, slash

The Outlook

The boards
Of the old verandah,
The one his father built,
Are loose and curled.
He has been standing there
For some time,
Watching the land,
Watching the sky,
Watching in a way
That only farmers do.

Some days are cold and grey
But the rains don’t fall
Others break records,
Either way
Both break hearts.
There is no joy
There is nothing 
To spark hope
For the next season.
The rains of yesteryear
No longer come.

He stands there,
His dams are drying,
His flock are dying.
What light rains fall
Do more harm than good—
Sprouting seeds
Only to see 
The next day’s sun 
Burn them,
Turn them in to crisp,
Parodies of grass.
With nothing to hold them,
The soils blow away
In rolling,
Dust clouds.

His family
Built this farm
They ploughed,
They slashed,
They tended to sheep,
And sunk posts 
Into rocky soil.
They cared for what they had.
Now, jaded, despairing,
He stands on the verandah
In the shade,
As it all cracks
And dries,
And blows away.

Miles away,
In air-conditioned offices,
Are satisfied

With this year’s profits
And the short term outlook.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014

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  1. Initially called it "The Rains Don't Fall".

  2. Hannelie (ex FB)November 02, 2014

    Well said & very true re mining.

  3. Farming has never been an easy life. Yet those who enjoy the profits of other peoples' sweat seem to do quite well. Strange.

    Peace, joy, and Bear hugs!

  4. Parodies of grass - wonderful turn of phrase...yes suits really do not understand sweat and toil and inheritance (other than money ) our farms are washed away..London reports it and then move on like parasites ..the outlook could be bleak perhaps

  5. This reminds me forcibly of Doris Lessing's apocalytic book, Mara and Dann. A good but depressing write!

  6. Yet in the middle of this arid land they are trying to grow rice using the water from the only major river system in Australia. That river the Murray-Darling struggles to reach the sea. We used to be known as the "Lucky Country", we can't say that anymore.

    1. Ah, yes, I visited the mighty Murray. It was brown and swollen. That was nine years ago.

  7. someone's joy is another's sorrow...sigh..

  8. Definitely an apt indictment....and "parodies of grass" is such a depressingly accurate description in far too many instances/places.

  9. This is a very insightful write!

  10. Heart wrenchingly gorgeous - ... perhaps "The Rains Don't Lie" ... Terrific poem - I think one of your best which is saying quite a bit!

  11. So true facet of life....

  12. sounds like a very hard way to live... you captured this

  13. Living in a water scarce country, this really strikes a chord with me. You tell the story very well, both on a descriptive and emotive level.

  14. I feel so sorry for the farmers. There is so little that can be done in the case of drought. The farmer's life is a hard one at best, impossible at worst.

  15. Powerful poem, detailing this sad, sad situation. "Burn them,
    Turn them in to crisp,
    Parodies of grass.
    With nothing to hold them," this line really stood out for me.

  16. This brought tears to my eyes. It presents the truth in terse simplicity.

  17. Love! his standing--repeatedly, forever. A snapshot with movement. I have always seen that pose as one of satisfaction--but the internal world changes as the external world does. How stoic can one be in the face of fracking, coal, stripped land and lost water and ruined stock? This poem has a Robert Frost feel. It's hard to believe it originated with a wordle.

  18. I can feel his bleakness..........this is a powerfully painted portrait of the global situation, seen through the eyes of one farmer.

    1. p.s. The Outlook is a grim and perfect title! It isnt looking good, my friend.

  19. Let the rain come down....soon

  20. A wonderful description of farming in certain areas and time frames. You conveyed the despair so well.

  21. What a pity that a disastrous year for a farmer can be a good one for the coal mining industry, with little compassion for those who have lost so much.

  22. have been in a few coal one is making it there...not here at least...and the farmers are going the same way...all tech jobs...but someone has to make the food you know...

  23. You make that phrase come to life: "The personal is political, and political is personal." Beautifully written,


  24. Such heart breaking reality ... and it keeps happening.

  25. Harsh happens everywhere, in every part of the world.

  26. It's what they call progress. Sadly so many people get trampled in the process.

  27. True in many ways of different fortunes aligned to different groups. Invariably sadness may be delivered to one and not the other! Great word craft Cosmo!


  28. Intense words/ thoughts bringing the important idea forward! Powerful write!

  29. What a sad and moving poem.

  30. this is a deep poem viewing opposite sides of the case of farming and profiting from farming. this is why education is very important during this time. mother earth may not be her best but mother education and/or technology is slowly rising. thank you for this subject.

  31. Life of farmers is heart-wrenching...
    Their helpless state and anguish is well-depicted.

  32. Powerful, honest, sad testimony of the affairs of this world.

  33. It depresses me that so very few of you made the link from coal to climate change to your own food chain and future survival. In time, you will.


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