Backblock Ballads and Later Verses

A Song of Rain

C.J. Dennis

BECAUSE a little vagrant wind veered south from China Sea;
Or else, because a sun-spot stirred; and yet again, maybe
Because some idle god in play breathed on an errant cloud,
The heads of twice two million folk in gratitude are bowed.

                    Patter, patter. . . . Boolconmatta,
                    Adelaide and Oodnadatta,
                    Pepegoona, parched and dry
                    Laugh beneath a dripping sky.
                    Riverina’s thirsting plain
                    Knows the benison of rain.
                    Ararat and Arkaroola
                    Render thanks with Tantanoola
                    For the blessings they are gaining,
                    And it’s raining—raining—raining!

Because a heaven-sent monsoon the mists before it drove;
Because things happened in the moon; or else, because High Jove,
Unbending, played at waterman to please a laughing boy,
The hearts through all a continent are raised in grateful joy.

                    Weeps the sky at Wipipee
                    Far Farina’s folk are dippy
                    With sheer joy, while Ballarat
                    Shouts and flings aloft its hat.
                    Thirsty Thackaringa yells;
                    Taltabooka gladly tells
                    Of a season wet and windy;
                    Men rejoice on Murrindindie;
                    Kalioota’s ceased complaining;
                    For it’s raining—raining—raining!

Because a poor bush parson prayed an altruistic prayer,
Rich with unselfish fellow-love that Heaven counted rare;
And yet, mayhap, because one night a meteor was hurled
Across the everlasting blue, the luck was with our world.

                    On the wilds of Winininnie
                    Cattle low and horses whinny,
                    Frolicking with sheer delight.
                    From Beltana to The Bight,
                    In the Mallee’s sun-scorched towns,
                    In the sheds on Darling Downs,
                    In the huts at Yudnapinna,
                    Tents on Tidnacoordininna,
                    To the sky all heads are craning—
                    For it’s raining—raining—raining!

Because some strange, cyclonic thing has happened—God knows where—
Men dream again of easy days, of cash to spend and spare.
The ring fair Clara coveted, Belinda’s furs are nigh,
As clerklings watch their increments fall shining from the sky.

                    Rolls the thunder at Eudunda;
                    Leongatha, Boort, Kapunda
                    Send a joyous message down;
                    Sorrows, flooded, sink and drown.
                    Ninkerloo and Nerim South
                    Hail the breaking of the drouth;
                    From Toolangi’s wooded mountains
                    Sounds the song of plashing fountains;
                    Sovereign Summer’s might is waning;
                    It is raining—raining—raining!

Because the breeze blew sou’-by-east across the China Sea;
Or else, because the thing was willed through all eternity
By gods that rule the rushing stars, or gods long aeons dead,
The earth is made to smile again, and living things are fed.

                    Mile on mile from Mallacoota
                    Runs the news, and far Baroota
                    Speeds it over hill and plain,
                    Till the slogan of the rain
                    Rolls afar to Yankalilla;
                    Wallaroo and Wirrawilla
                    Shout it o’er the leagues between,
                    Telling of the dawning green.
                    Frogs at Cocoroc are croaking,
                    Booboorowie soil is soaking,
                    Oodla Wirra, Orroroo
                    Breathe relief and hope anew.
                    Wycheproof and Wollongong
                    Catch the burden of the song
                    That is rolling, rolling ever
                    O’er the plains of Never Never,
                    Sounding in each mountain rill,
                    Echoing from hill to hill . . . 
                    In the lonely, silent places
                    Men lift up their glad, wet faces,
                    And their thanks ask no explaining—
                    It is raining—raining—raining!

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