I want to share one of my favourite poems with you. I think it really tells about the hardship and problems in the Outback. But it also pictures that trust, relationship and caring is a value that still counts.
There's a place where daily hardships are the making of a man
Where learning skills come less from books than a knowledge of the land
Where a rough and kindred mateship can be built on work and trust
And a fair day's work reaps just rewards for a fair day's work's a must
Where an unforgiving landscape boasts extremes of flood and drought
And a sheep walks miles 'tween blades of grass or it has to go without
Where the pestilence of rabbit, fox and feral takes its toll
And the red hills rust with iron ore and the valleys seam with coal
Where gold and light-rich opal can be wrested from the earth
And a man can find a solitude to test his very worth
Where a woman's sense of humour is a valued prize and dear
For a woman holds the heart of man when it's more than he can bear
Where a team is all that matters when the river's running rife
And a single strand of radio can be all there is to life
Where age is often listened to for experiences gained
And helping out a neighbour is an ethos much maintained.
It's a place they call The Outback and we're never far apart
For The Outback's not a place at all it's the beating of my heart.
© L.B. Watts
This wonderful poem by Leighton B. Watts was selected by the Australian Outback Development Consortium as the official poem of the Year Of The Outback 2006.
Leighton B. Watts is an Australian singer, songwriter and poet whose heart is in the Outback and the Bush. His songs describe the deserts, the rivers, and the colourful characters you will meet back of beyond.
Thanks Leighton for giving permission to publish the poem.