William Henry Ogilvie

Here you will find the Poem Drought of poet William Henry Ogilvie


My road is fenced with the bleached, white bones 
And strewn with the blind, white sand, 
Beside me a suffering, dumb world moans 
On the breast of a lonely land. 
On the rim of the world the lightnings play, 
The heat-waves quiver and dance, 
And the breath of the wind is a sword to slay 
And the sunbeams each a lance. 

I have withered the grass where my hot hoofs tread, 
I have whitened the sapless trees, 
I have driven the faint-heart rains ahead 
To hide in their soft green seas. 

I have bound the plains with an iron band, 
I have stricken the slow streams dumb! 
To the charge of my vanguards who shall stand? 
Who stay when my cohorts come? 

The dust-storms follow and wrap me round; 
The hot winds ride as a guard; 
Before me the fret of the swamps is bound 
And the way of the wild-fowl barred. 

I drop the whips on the loose-flanked steers; 
I burnt their necks with the bow; 
And the green-hide rips and the iron sears 
Where the staggering, lean beasts go. 

I lure the swagman out of the road 
To the gleam of a phantom lake; 
I have laid him down, I have taken his load, 
And he sleeps till the dead men wake. 

My hurrying hoofs in the night go by, 
And the great flocks bleat their fear 
And follow the curve of the creeks burnt dry 
And the plains scorched brown and sere. 

The worn men start from their sleepless rest 
With faces haggard and drawn; 
They cursed the red Sun into the west 
And they curse him out of the dawn. 

They have carried their outposts far, far out, 
But - blade of my sword for a sign! - 
I am the Master, the dread King Drought, 
And the great West Land is mine!