Eric Bogle - Bushfire



About nine o’clock
we saw the first smoke
stain the far horizon.
A soft rolling shroud
of shifting white cloud
above the mountains rising.
Uneasy and afraid,
we watched and we prayed
as the clouds grew ever higher.
But an hour before noon
they’d blocked out the sun,
and the mountains were on fire.
Bushfire. Ah, ah, bushfire.
And all through the gloom
of that long afternoon,
the fire fed and grew stronger.
Driven by the wind,
it danced ’long the mountain rims,
roaring out it’s anger.
Fed by the breeze
and the helpless trees,
consuming those who bore it.
It raced pell-mell
from the mouth of hell,
destroying all before it.
Bushfire. Ah, ah, bushfire.
Our farm, our home,
and all that we owned
lay in the path of that fiery river.
We prayed for rain,
and we cursed the wind
as it drove our destruction nearer.
But no words of men
can bring down the rain
or set the wind to turning.
And around midnight
we’d lost the fight,
and our whole farm was burning.
Bushfire. Ah, ah, bushfire.
Through the smoke and the heat
came the crying of the sheep
as the flames set their wool on fire.
They ran terrified,
they roasted and died,
their own fleece their funeral pyre.
So we packed up and ran
while the fire’s red hand
reached hungrily out to find us.
While so long and hard to build
and so quick and easily killed,
our dreams burned down behind us.
Bushfire. Ah, ah, bushfire.
Arrogant man,
he squats upon the land,1
he buys and sells and zones it.
Plants his seeds,
cuts down his weeds,
and imagines that he owns it.
For 20 years
our land we cleared,
we ploughed and we sowed and we tamed it.
But where the bushfire has passed,
there’s only black ash,
and Nature has reclaimed it.
  • 1. In Australia, a squatter was someone who claims a stretch of land for himself by being the first one to settle there.
Submitted by Stefano8 on Thu, 07/12/2017 - 20:42
Last edited by Stefano8 on Sun, 01/07/2018 - 00:48
Submitter's comments:
Thanks!thanked 1 time