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Byron Shire
October 18, 2021

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Dry Land Rag

Latest News

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Image S Sorrensen

The Speaker raises his shaking hand

And no-one speaks in that dusty band

His throat a desert moaning makes

To tell the news they all must face.


‘The water’s gone,’ the old man said

And all the others just shook their heads

‘The water’s gone, and we must go

Ever east, into tomorow.


‘We must travel with all haste

And not a tear shall we waste

If you falter, if you drop

We will go on, we will not stop.’


For quite some time the sun had shone

On naked farms and mines long gone

The wind blew hot, the rain never fell

The aquifer shrank, nothing to sell.


Fifty people quiet and dry

Even baby does not cry

Fifty bodies in a line

Marching to the morning shine.


One hundred days of sitting tight

One hundred times they moved at night

And more weary did they grow

And more few, and more slow.


Well baby died and many more

Could not follow the Speaker’s law

Ever the desert lay all around

No living creek, no animal sound.


Still the Speaker looked to the east

For a sign of rain, or at least

Some green which had not died

When business boomed and the country dried.


Towards the light they ever marched

Through ancient lands newly parched

‘We saw it coming,’ the Speaker said

‘But did nothing, now it’s dead.’


Finally they hit the sea

As far east as they could be

Neither water nor human being

Had they seen or did look like seeing.


There among the ruin of economy

Mixed the sands of the desert and the sands of the sea

Now in front lay the ocean –

They must stop their eastward motion.


‘The end has come, here is the sea,’

The speaker spoke to his company

‘Behind is rock; ahead lies salt…

But our journey cannot halt.’


Into the ocean strode the Speaker

Crying, ‘Oh, Free Market, you grim reaper!’

And all humanity followed too

And disappeared into the blue.

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