Said Hanrahan

April 8, 2009

 Today’s choice for poetry month has been prompted by all the gloomy headlines.

It’s Said Hanrahan by John O’Brien, Australian priest and poet, 1878 -1952.

Said Hanrahan

 

“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.” 

       

Hat Tip: JC who left the poem in a comment on a drought by any other name


Daylight saving causes domestic violence?

April 8, 2009

If everyone moved down here where we have long summer twilights we wouldn’t need daylight saving, or at least would have more chance of winning the campaign to start it later and end it shorter.

But southerners and farmers are not very powerful minorities so I haven’t rated our chances of persuading the powers that be to consider us.

However, Lindsay Mitchell has spotted a link between daylight saving and domestic violence.

Is she right and if so could that be the excuse we need to move the clocks forward later and back again sooner?


Have Greens seen the blue light?

April 8, 2009

The Greens are a product of MMP.

They’ve used it to get into parliament but have never got in to power because they’ve failed to understand that under MMP the wee parties can only have much influence if they are in the middle.

Election after election they’ve been marooned on the far left margins because their left wing ideology has blinded them to the possibility of  working with any party but Labour.

But have they seen the light at last and understand that the left doesn’t have a mortgage on concern for the environment and green issues cross the political spectrum?

Roraprawn reckons they might have and that they’re cosying up to National.

If she’s right I could almost – just almost – feel sorry for Labour. Yesterday they lost their two strongest MPs and today they might lose their only ally (not counting that bloke from Wigram who’s one of them in all but name anyway).


Anchor’s ahoy in Egypt

April 8, 2009

Fonterra is launching its Anchor brand in Egypt through a five-year deal with Arab Dairy.

Egypt has the highest population in the Middle East – 80 million people, over a third of them under the age of 14 – and consumes 470,000 tonnes of dairy product a year.

But Fonterra also views Egypt as a regional low-cost production centre which can act as a gateway to over a billion people in other parts of the Middle East and Africa.

Egypt has free trade agreements with regional markets which will reduce the import duties paid on Anchor products.

This deal will open doors to new markets for our produce but we may face opposition from local producers:

Separately, the Egyptian Government is reported to be preparing to pay local dairy farmers 100m Egyptian pounds in subsidies over three months, because farmers claim they cannot afford to reduce milk prices below the current price of 2.7 Egyptian pounds (NZ83c) per kilogram.

Yet another illustration that subsidies distort market signals.

How much easier it is to ask for a government handout than work out why your produce costs too much. It works in the short term but it’s expensive in the longterm becasue subsidies cost everyone twice – first as taxpayers and then again when they’re forced to pay more as consumers. 


Machiavelli meets Blackadder

April 8, 2009

Rob Hosking saw what I didn’t:

Michael Cullen’s appointment to the board of New Zealand Post has one major political impact – it completely undercuts the basis of Labour’s whole political attack for the past 18 months.

That attack has been based on one word: privatisation.

. . . In short, Labour’s political strategy still appears based on its over-thumbed copies of The Hollow Men.

Dr Cullen’s acceptance of the job at Kiwibank completely undercuts all that.

If this really is a cunning plot to undercut Labour, it’s one of which Machiavelli and Blackadder would be proud, and I hope it works.

But I also hope that it doesn’t put an end to the eventual privitisation – maybe partial, maybe full – of at least some SOEs.

National pledged it wouldn’t sell any state assets in this parliamentary term because Labour successfully turned privatisation in to a dirty word.

It needn’t be and the economy would be stronger if, in the future, we owned less as taxpayers and more as individuals.


So long, it’s been . . .

April 8, 2009

My political bias and personal antipathy to most of their flagship policies won’t let me say it’s been good to know Helen Clark and Michael Cullen.

The ODT  has a more balanced view and says they were two of Labours most effective post-war politicians.

I can’t disagree with that but I do take issue with this:

New Zealand has particular reason to be appreciative that, unlike so many other countries, its leaders have not been corrupt.

Both Clark and Cullen must have been involved in the decision to spend taxapyers money on the pledge card, both were involved in legislation that retrospectively validated their actions, both clung on to Winston Peters and voted against the select committee’s censoring of him.

That may not rate as corrupt on the Mugabe scale but it is a serious lapse of standards for New Zealand.

The paper notes that their departure leaves a vacuum in Labour’s leadership. A point also made by Watching Brief:

We have a PM in John Key who knows how to emasculate the opposition; first Clark and now Cullen exiting (as is only right) stage left from the political scene.

John Key has now exposed what is left of Liarlabour MP’s as a complete and utter motley bunch.

The return to Opposition after a long run in power is never easy and the exit of strong leadership leaves successors in a very difficult position when those within and outside the party see their role as transitional.

It must be particularly hard for Phil Goff to keep a firm hand on the party’s tiller when he’s got two or three wanna-be leaders in his caucus and another as president.


%d bloggers like this: