Said Hanrahan

With thanks to Adolf whose comment on the previous post reminded me of this by John O’Brien, Australian priest and poet:

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.”

One Response to Said Hanrahan

  1. Inventory2 says:

    That’s a great yarn Ele – thanks for sharing it, and thanks to Adolf for jogging your memory.

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 )

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: