The Flood Whisperer – by Jeff Austin

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It hadn’t rained for five years and more
Then it rained non-stop with more in store
The black-soil plains abutted the Great Divide
The rainfall runoff descending in one great tide

Six weeks warning should be enough to get ready
What was needed were respondents to be steady
David volunteered to put his ‘finger in the breach’
With the emergency centre phone and calm speech

An amazing feat of compassion considering his past
Having wiped off the blood and guts from a blast
The horrors of one of the wars not to be forgotten
Lest we forget and the tortured mind turns rotten

Glued together by a loving wife over the years of strain
Loose strings of neurons floating dangerously in his brain
From war have come love and a soft touch for all herds
A doppelganger for Santa Clause a smile soothing his words

Australia All Over’s Macca praised him a ‘nice bloke’
Transmitting his comforting words as he spoke
To travellers across the wide expanse giving advice
Even Tasmanians called in to tell him he’s nice

As if the Tasman Sea didn’t have enough water
David did his best to suggest their plans to alter
Drawing on his experiences to survive a disaster
Discouraging stupidity like a talented schoolmaster

The sun reflected clouds like a shimmering mirror
As the rain fell again upstream the tide came nearer
Isolated for three months David stood his ground
Soothing any fears within town’s ring levee mound

No lives were lost it should be recorded as crucial
Even thou fuel stocks consumed more than usual
Voyeurs drove to vantage points watching waters
Avoiding entering to play with sons and daughters

David saved lives during this wide-ranging flood
Balancing lives lost in another’s war shedding blood
Attacked from all sides no barbed wire in sight
The flood waters peaked and were put to flight

Lessons to be learnt from surviving flooding rain
Have someone like David on hand to relieve pain
Someone who understands the needs of the brain
Then calmness will follow cool heads will reign

 

 

Jeff Austin was born and raised in Sydney and has lived his adult life in rural NSW, notably in the north-west at Walgett. A quiet, humble man with a sense of humour that is a pre-requisite for country life, Jeff is often caught in a reflective mood. Casual observers have naively remarked that ‘the lights are on but no-one’s home’ but others noted he had  ‘oratory talents beyond the comprehension of most mortals’. Author of The Fire Within (fiction 1995), The Serpent’s Tale (non-fiction 2002) and A History of Walgett Aero Club (2014), his latest, yet to be published, Lost in Translation is his first foray into the world of bush ballads.

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Main photo by Corporal David Said – NSW, 2016.


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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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