Written in memory of the bushfires of Victoria in February 2009.
Country of terror, country of fire and rain,
You tear our souls apart, destroy our dreams,
And wantonly you give them back again.
While in the south almost two hundred dead
Lay in ashes of an inferno’s wrath,
Up north we watched the rains with dread,
As cyclone after cyclone cut its path.
In Ingham and in Cairns we watched the waters
Rise as king tides and flooding rivers ran,
While Kinglake raged with flame like Hellyon’s daughters.
That corner of the world had gone insane.
‘Twas hell on earth that fateful Saturday,
When those who fled and lost their homes were lucky,
For orange terror still caught up with many.
Burnt-out cars and homes in ashes told their story.
Some lay beside the road where they had fled.
Towns were destroyed by bushfire’s wanton fury.
We had to wait till smoke gave up the dead.
We grieved, and yet capricious nature
Poured deluge after deluge on the north,
And drowned the hopes of many and their future,
Took lives and robbed farms of their worth.
And this when money’s flowing at a trickle,
When unemployment’s rising ever higher.
Dame Fortune couldn’t ever be more fickle.
Who’d think that worse could come than fate so dire?
Oh, you whose souls are bruised and aching
From loss of loved ones, loss of dreams, of things,
The rest of us may give instead of taking.
It’s a blessing if that’s all this lesson brings.
For souls can mend, and dreams exchange for others.
The dead stay with us, if but in our memories.
Australians more than ever now are brothers.
We reach out to help you build your future.
We reach out to give you solace in your pain.
We learn again to protect and to give nurture.
May misfortune bind us all again.