Around The Boree Log and Other Verses

Said Hanrahan

John O'Brien

WE’LL all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    In accents most forlorn,
Outside the church, ere Mass began,
    One frosty Sunday morn.

The congregation stood about,
    Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
    As it had done for years.

“It’s looking crook,” said Daniel Croke;
    “Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
For never since the banks went broke
    Has seasons been so bad.”

“It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
    With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
    And chewed a piece of bark.

And so around the chorus ran
    “It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

“The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
    To save one bag of grain;
From here way out to Back-o’-Bourke
    They’re singin’ out for rain.

“They’re singin’ out for rain,” he said,
    “And all the tanks are dry.”
The congregation scratched its head,
    And gazed around the sky.

“There won’t be grass, in any case,
    Enough to feed an ass;
There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
    As I came down to Mass.”

“If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
    And cleared his throat to speak—
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “If rain don’t come this week.”

A heavy silence seemed to steal
    On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
    And chewed a piece of bark.

“We want an inch of rain, we do,”
    O’Neil observed at last;
But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
    To put the danger past.

“If we don’t get three inches, man,
    Or four to break this drought,
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

In God’s good time down came the rain;
    And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
    It drummed a homely tune.

And through the night it pattered still,
    And lightsome, gladsome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
    Kept talking to themselves.

It pelted, pelted all day long,
    A-singing at its work,
Till every heart took up the song
    Way out to Back-o’-Bourke.

And every creek a banker ran,
    And dams filled overtop;
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “If this rain doesn’t stop.”

And stop it did, in God’s good time;
    And spring came in to fold
A mantle o’er the hills sublime
    Of green and pink and gold.

And days went by on dancing feet,
    With harvest-hopes immense,
And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
    Nid-nodding o’er the fence.

And, oh, the smiles on every face,
    As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
    Went riding down to Mass.

While round the church in clothes genteel
    Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
    And chewed his piece of bark.

“There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
    There will, without a doubt;
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
    “Before the year is out.”

Back    |    Words Home    |    John O'Brien Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback