The Cost Of Drought


The grass is now no longer green, it turned to brown, then grey;
Its dead blades all have disappeared, they've long since blown away.
For deadly drought has gripped the land; when will it rain again?
We study all the weather maps; but only God knows when.

The sun's a daily firebrand; the land is dead and dry;
There's been no decent rain for years, just fierce unsheltered sky.
And market stock has been sold off; with prices so absurd,
In sometimes just a vain attempt to save a breeding herd.

The searing brazen skies will give no sign of rain at all,
And banks foreclosing on their loans send families to the wall.
And irrigators struggling with their allocations cut:
It's just another tap turned off, a low kick to the gut.

There's money spent on tractor fuel, and money spent on seed,
And many times a struggle to provide a family's need.
Authorities take months to get the drought relief away;
But wife and kids? they need another slice of bread today!

The burden that men carry as they see the family farm
Might now be lost while in their care, but they have done no harm.
It's been passed down from Dad and other generations gone,
And so there's failure, guilt, and shame, that they can't carry on.

It sure is harsh to think about, but suicide is real,
And we must not condemn them, for we don't know how they feel.
And now it's being recognised, the ads are on T.V.
Please call this 1300 number, counselling is free.

But some cannot withstand the pressing burden of the drought.
Perhaps across the hills a dreadful rifle shot rings out.
A single vehicle accident; a straight and lonely road:
We ask, "Is that the answer to the weighty debt that's owed?"

And what about the woman who's then left with added stress,
No longer now the weaker sex, but stronger, one would guess.
For taking one's own life neglects what would be left behind.
The sad result which comes from such a tortured troubled mind.

Now all the nation benefits when things are smooth enough,
But few they are that suffer when the going's really tough.
Food prices might be up a bit and folk think that is bad;
But spare a thought for farming kids who now don't have a dad.

So many share the comforts, but so few who cop the pain
When weather turns against us; yet the many will complain
Their costs are getting higher, so they think life's hard; and yet
It seems there's no real equity to share the nation's debt.

© Tom Chapman 2007