Paul F. McCann


After the war was over,
I returned to Australia and wed,
with severance pay to kick start,
we looked to be getting ahead.

We checked out this land in the country,
then borrowed to build our dream.
Proud owners were we of a cottage
in five hundred acres green.

With seventy head of cattle,
and bottle fed yearlings to keep,
we worked day in and night out
sometimes without getting any sleep.

Then the kids all arrived on steps,
one after the other they came,
but so did the drought that broke us,
and we had no insurance claim.

I prayed hard for a break in the weather,
but it always looked the same,
the blue sky had no silver lining,
and no sign that it would rain.

Lord have mercy,
they took everything that they could buy or sell.
We left our farm to the flies and the dust.
We said goodbye, farewell!

Too hurt was I to work the land,
‘t was a city job I found;
Though home was in the country,
to the city now we all were bound.

The job fell through in a week or two,
it was hard to pay the rent,
we looked for a cheaper house,
but it was the same each place we went.

We had nothing and had nowhere to go.
We begged for charity.
I felt helpless.
My wife cried and I had to comfort her daily.

“Don’t worry” I said,
“In good time you’ll find depression it does lift.”
The children started school,
the wife got a job – I worked the night shift.

Except for the love in our family,
all that I had was gone.
We walked everywhere together
as the soft summer sun shone.

We moved into a caravan
in the winter of a big freeze.
It took us a while to adapt,
but we all got used to the squeeze.

Each day at work I was treated like dirt
because I pulled my weight
I kept my nose clean all the time
in jobs I had grown to hate.

The heaviest cross I carried
was the long standing debt I bore;
with years of hard work I cleared what I owed
then the wolf left the door.

Although it was easier to sleep
when my debts were all paid in full,
thoughts at times did haunt me,
I had to learn control, and keep my cool.

Each night as I closed my eyes,
I returned back to a shattered dream,
back to our country cottage
where the cattle gave only sour cream.

We left the van and moved into
a rented house in the suburbs
I cut the grass, dug a veggie patch
and grew lots of greens and herbs.

I found working with the dirt had a therapy,
but all the same,
I kept thinking about all that land we left,
time and time again.

The children grew up and were married
just as we hoped one day.
My wife and I wrinkled well,
our hair now was more silver than grey.

We settled down in this quiet home
in the twilight years of life.
With the children gone we were alone,
me and my good faithful wife.

Simple things in life come free,
like who you are and all that you know.
Common courtesy costs nothing
it’s just a smile or a hello.

Though these old bones of mine may ache and break,
I sometimes find a smile,
for it sure is a wonderful world
and we’re only here a while.

I’ve started writing things down
as I forget things so easily,
these days I don’t know if there are jobs to be done,
sometimes I just can’t see.

I can’t hear that good either
but both of us together understand.
I drift off to sleep still thinking
of the day we left the land.

It’s hard to forget where your roots have been set;
dust’s stuck with the plough.
After drought and the famine no doubt,
I feel downright hungry now.

I still thirst for water in the summer,
and sweat rolls down my face.
As I sit down to feast
I always give thanks to God for his grace.

They say you must give to receive,
I’ve gave my life to you.
I’ve taken the good and the bad,
and have loved somebody who’s true.

So when my times has come to leave this world ,
all that I’ll take is my soul ,
you won’t see me for dust,
my remains, bury deep down in a hole.