It only seemed like yesterday they occupied the land
In former times were pastures lush and green,
The land would yield its bounties for this happy family band
And poverty was nowhere to be seen.

Bill scanned the fields around him and he tried to force a smile,
Those memories of family long ago,
His parents and his siblings on recall from memory file,
The time they watched the river overflow.

The work was hard, but evening time they played their parlor game
Or sat around the piano and just sang,
And now and then a salesman or a nearby neighbor came
And then their walls with happy laughter rang.

His sisters all got married and the others left the place,
Their parents long ago had passed away,
And only Bill had stayed behind the rural life to face,
No longer was there any time to play.

But then one day the neighbor lass was passing on her way
Her horse was limping badly Billie saw,
He stopped them then proceeded to re-shoe the noble gray,
She nodded when he asked to see her more.

So Mildred married Billie both stayed on to work the farm,
The children made those farm walls ring again,
But year by year the drought held on, Bill realized with alarm
They’d have to leave, the only question when?

Mildred cried, and children whimpered when they packed their ancient car
As they went to join their relatives in town,
Bill searched around for any work; he tried towns near and far,
Those constant curt refusals got him down.

Then one fine day when traveling home Bill happened to look out,
The thunderheads were gathering in the east,
Was this to be the ending of this cruel disabling drought?
The “dry” would ravish country man and beast.

The rain remained for several weeks, the rivers rushed unbound,
They overflowed on barren lifeless land,
And roaming starving animals with joy new grasslands found,
The farmers trickled back to lend a hand.

Bill scanned the fields around him and he tried to force a smile,
Those memories of family long ago,
For Mildred and the children had been gone for quite a while
And he alone was left the seeds to sow.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2013, all rights reserved”

NB. The above image belongs to http://www.free-extras.com

10 thoughts on “Drought

  1. The hardships the farmers faced and still do in this part. when all your work is dependent on nature and it fails you. so many of farmers committed suicide for they could not cope up with the drought and the load of family and loans rising. your poems reflects on every such hand. There was a time when this was alone would read and hear about. how farmers in rural India were battling the nature and government apathy. very well woven Ian and so much soul in it and then I read your comments and understood.


    1. Yes the farmers of the world work harder than the rest of us just to stay alive and their pleasures are simple. It’s the misguided city dwellers however who make the laws and they often do not think through the real effect these laws will have on those brave sons of the soil. So our resilient farmers have two things to contend with, nature and the rules and regulations imposed to make their lives a misery and favour big business.


  2. Beautifully done Ian. I noticed many people mentioned the Dust Bowl of the 30’s, there was a great documentary done a few years back on this time. The pictures of ghost towns and farms were devastating.


  3. So sad what drought does. My sister and I were just talking about the Oklahoma dust bowl the other day. We were not in it but we had ancestors who were. We studied about it in school and it was just so sad those that did not survive and how hard those that did had to work to do so. We are just coming out of drought here and although it did not get to the stage like the picture here shows or nowhere near like the OK dust bowl still the sight of rain after that long spell without it was such a wonderful feeling. Another fantastic write my sweet friend! Hugs


    1. I’ve seen some movies of the OK dust bowl years. I’m sure the movies, sad as they were, did not adequately describe the misery of those times. My Father’s tales of the depression years of the 1930’s were rather sad too.


  4. This one could be set to music – it has a ballard quality with good rhythm and rhyme. It also has a good story with the impact of weather cycles bringing a man through a full cycle of life. Nicely done! Jane


  5. Tells the sad story of many a rural family whose fortunes were tied to life giving water.

    Sometimes, it is the changing of weather patterns – quite often man’s silly intervention – a dam, damn! Climate change they say – a euphemism to cover up man’s folly.

    Poor Billie —-


    1. My father who had dragged himself out of the 1930s depression and became a successful business man and local politician had a nervous breakdown at the end of the second world war and was persuaded to buy a farm to regain his health in a rural atmosphere. We nearly went broke through an extended drought period but the hard work and mental activity trading himself out of the financial mess probably cured him. So this poem has some meaning to me.


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.