The Swagman

Posted: December 12, 2015 in poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Swagman_(2715952698)

I was walking alone through red dirt in the vast Kimberley region of Western Australia
The sun beat down on me as if softening me up for death with a meat hammer
I was so thirsty that my tongue was beginning to stick to the top of my mouth
I was worried as I had not seen a road for ages, and was wandering in spirals
Suddenly he stepped out from behind a eucalyptus tree
He wore a long coat despite the heat, and various mugs and tools were tied to the coat
On his head a battered old hat
And his eyes were like burning blue coals
He smiled and said ‘Don’t be afraid- what are you doing out here?’
I told him I was lost and thirsty
He said- “I’ll show you how to find water’.
“You just look for a good tree then dig to the roots’
He dug down about 2 feet with a little spade he pulled out of a pocket in his coat
And there was water—we both drank
Then he grabbed a few rocks and set up a fireplace
He said- ‘Leave these rocks here for the next bloke, that’s the Swagman’s code’
He gathered together some twigs and rubbed two sticks together to start the fire
He tried to show me how to do it, but I couldn’t work out the trick
‘I didn’t like the city, so when I was eighteen I left for the bush, and I’ve been wandering around here for near fifty years’ he said
‘I’ll never regret it, the bush is in my blood’
‘The blackfellas taught me how to survive, amazing people- they’ve been doing this for fifty thousand years’
‘Some fellas come out here and have no idea because they don’t learn from the blackfellas. Those fellas die.’
He told me how to get back to the road then disappeared behind a tree.
Once again there was silence with an insect buzz
A real Swagman.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s