Sorry guys for the influx of posts lately! But I wanted to share this before it disappeared. I'm pretty sure you will take it the same way I did. It's a few years old, but sad and very, very true....It's hard to read, but keep going right to the end, it gets better, I promise.
He looks out upon the baron land
And sighs a breath of pain
His hopes, his dreams, his livelihood
Been crushed from lack of rain.
His finances diminished
His stock a dwindled band
And he feels like a helpless onlooker
As life slips through his fingers like sand.
A young man of forty deplenished
Though still young he is ravaged by stress
His marriage and bond with his children
Is at crisis point, put bluntly, a mess.
How can he be all that he needs to?
How can he give more when he’s spent?
Physically and emotionally
To the grindstone his life has been bent.
Inheriting the family property
Twenty years of keeping tradition alive
Shouldering debt and commitments
Now he finds he has no strength to strive.
His childhood sweetheart Martha
With darling children Lilly and Tom
Have travelled away for the weekend
To visit her sickly mum.
With trembling hand he holds the pencil
That signed the letter from the bank
And as he wrote to wife and children
His heart and spirit sank.
“These words I write, I could not speak
Or look you in the face
The man I was, I am no more
I’ve neither strength, nor pride, nor grace.
Martha, dearest Martha
I have failed you in this life
Though I have toiled and worked relentlessly
I know I have let down my darling wife.
Too proud to stick my hand out
And accept charity from others
Too stubborn to leave this blasted block
And now I feel strangled and smothered.
I promised for good and for bad
I promised till death do us part
I promised to protect and care for you
I’m so sorry, down deep to my heart.
I have no more to offer
I have no more to give
And my final wish my darling
Is that you will truly live.
Move back to town with your father
Let him care for you and our kin
And please, alway’s remember I love you
And please, please forgive me my sin.
My gorgeous little Lilly
The apple of my eye
Remember our good times together
When you think of me, smile, please don’t cry.
Young Tom, you’re the man of the house now
Take care of our special girls
And heed the mistakes of your father
Oh my little man, I wish you the world.
You children have been a blessing
Please do not carry blame
My fate is not your doing
Please carry on my name”
Through tears of pain and anguish
His saddened eyes look out
To a calf without his mother
She too been struck down by the drought.
His letter not quite finished
But his duty must be done
He puts down his trembling pencil
And replaces it with gun.
The chamber ready loaded
Prepared for fateful deed
But as he looked upon the sickened calf
He felt this beast had greater need.
He would empty out the chamber
To protect the calf from a death more grim
Reload the gun, switch off the safety
And do the same for him.
A swift shot to the temple
Was the way he’d alway’s done
So he walked to head off lonely calf
Beneath the beating son.
The calf was struck with sickness
Snotty nose and wrought with scour
He’d gone without a drink of feed
For many sun scorched hour
He ran his hand along calf’s bony back
Laced with scabbed skin from the sun
Wiped the tears away from bloodshot eyes
And raised the trembling gun.
The calf, two weeks of age and stunted
Weak and battered down by life
Surges forward, head butts the farmer
He would not die without some strife.
“Come back here you foolish youngster
You’ll be better off this way
Your fates like mine, we’ve both been doomed
Let’s end it here today”
He jogs up to the calf’s hind end
And grabs him by the tail
Then the calf kicks him in the stomach
And with a strengthened run set sail.
Over the dam bank down to the moistened earth
Where the water used to lay
He trotted out towards the middle
Then got stuck, that’s where he stayed.
The farmer trudged out through the mud and slush
And sank down to his knees
Placed the barrel tip to calf’s young head
Then the trigger he began to squeeze.
The calf threw his head back left and right
Knocked the gun from out of his hands
His body weak, yet his eye was bright
And it seemed he had other plans.
Within the stare of this young sick calf
He could feel the heart of a fighterWithout
And he shook his head at his own disbelief
Then he cuddled the little blighter.
As he walked from the dam with the calf in his arms
He knew that he too must fight
For though life was grim it was better to live
For his children, himself and his wife.
He took the calf inside and bathed him
Then set him down beside the fire
That he started with the letter
Then he heard the crunch of tyres.
His family had come back home
He welcomed them with joy
And said “Oh it’s great to see you all
Come meet the little boy”
The children were ecstatic
As they fed and cuddled calf
Their dad had named him Faith
And they couldn’t help but laugh.
The family grew back together
Moved to town and changed careers
And if you pass their front yard, say hi to Faith
Their healthy full grown steer.
Written by Guy McLean
In honour of the men, women and children on the land
fighting hard in endless days of drought and difficult times.
Copyright Guy McLean February 2008.