Christmas with a Hot Dry Drought

In December 2006 I was thinking that it is surprising that we don't have a poem or song that combines Christmas and the droughts that we experience in Australia.

The very next day I received the following email from Trevor Williams :-

G'day, I was at carols by candle light the other night and when I was listening to White Christmas I thought that we have a dry Christmas not a white one, so I re-wrote the words. I added lines about the fire fighters out in the bush risking life and limb to save others, and hoping to be home on Christmas Day. I have attached a copy of it too this e-mail to see if you would like to add it to your web site.
Dry Christmas by Trevor Williams"
Sung to the tune of "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas"
I'm dreading another dry Christmas
Like all the ones we have these years
Where the tree tops burn and Fire Fighters yearn
To feel raindrops on there faces
- - - - -
I'm dreading another dry Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
With the bush fires burning so bright
And we pray for rain before Christmas night
- - - -
I'm dreading another dry Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
We pray all the fire fighters will be alright
And they can all be home by Christmas night.

Trevor has made a start for us to record our Christmas features such as warm summer weather, cold Christmas dinner, colourful flowers, carols by candle light, drought and bush fires in poems or songs. If you are aware of or have composed something yourself, either old or new, please email them to me at Tom Wills so that I can display them in these pages.
Just click on the blue Tom Wills above and your email software will open with my address already included.

January 2007 - I located a poem by C.J. Dennis which was published on page 4 of the Herald, 24 December 1931. Titled "A Bush Christmas" it can be found at C.J. Dennis. The first verse is as follows :-
The sun burns hotly thro' the gums
As down the road old Rogan comes -
   The hatter from the lonely hut
   Beside the track to Woollybutt.
He likes to spend his Christmas with us here.

He says a man gets sort of strange
Living alone without a change,
   Gets sort of settled in his way;
   And so he comes each Christmas day
To share a bite of tucker and a beer.
 
Dad and the boys have nought to do,
Except a stray odd job or two.
   Along the fence or in the yard,
   "It ain't a day for workin' hard."
Says Dad.  "One day a year don't matter much."

And then dishevelled, hot and red,
Mum, thro' the doorway puts her head
   And says, "This Christmas cooking, My!
   The sun's near fit for cooking by."
Upon her word she never did see such.
 
"Your fault," says Dad, "you know it is.
Plum puddin'!  on a day like this,
  And roasted turkeys!  Spare me days,
  I can't get over women's ways.
     In climates such as this the thing's all wrong.

A bit of cold corned beef an' bread
Would do us very well instead."
  Then Rogan said, "You're right; it's hot.
  It makes a feller drink a lot."
     And Dad gets up and says, "Well, come along."
 
The dinner's served - full bite and sup.
"Come on," says Mum, "Now all sit up."
  The meal takes on a festive air;
  And even father eats his share
     And passes up his plate to have some more.

He laughs and says it's Christmas time,
"That's cookin', Mum. The stuffin's prime."
   But Rogan pauses once to praise,
   Then eats as tho' he'd starved for days.
      And pitches turkey bones outside the door.
 
The sun burns hotly thro' the gums,
The chirping of the locusts comes
   Across the paddocks, parched and grey.
   "Whew!" wheezes Father. "What a day!"
      And sheds his vest.  For coats no man had need.

Then Rogan shoves his plate aside
And sighs, as sated men have sighed,
   At many boards in many climes
   On many other Christmas times.
      "By gum!" he says, "That was a slap-up feed!"
 
Then, with his black pipe well alight,
Old Rogan brings the kids delight
   By telling o'er again his yarns
   Of Christmas tide 'mid English barns
      When he was, long ago, a farmer's boy.

His old eyes glisten as he sees
Half glimpses of old memories,
   Of whitened fields and winter snows,
   And yuletide logs and mistletoes,
   And all that half-forgotten, hallowed joy.
 
The children listen, mouths agape,
And see a land with no escape
   Fro biting cold and snow and frost -
   A land to all earth's brightness lost,
      A strange and freakish Christmas land to them.

But Rogan, with his dim old eyes
Grown far away and strangely wise
   Talks on; and pauses but to ask
   "Ain't there a drop more in that cask?"
   And father nods; but Mother says "Ahem!"
 
The sun slants redly thro' the gums
As quietly the evening comes,
   And Rogan gets his old grey mare,
   That matches well his own grey hair,
      And rides away into the setting sun.

"Ah, well," says Dad.  "I got to say
I never spent a lazier day.
   We ought to get that top fence wired."
   "My!" sighs poor Mum.  "But I am tired!
      An' all that washing up still to be done."

T O P