What are the colours of Australia? Are they simply green and gold
Or the grey that haunts a city in a winter wet and cold?
Where the drizzle drowns the bitumen, it’s blackness oozing pain
Before swirling down a gutter to find the sea again.
A sea that harbours anger in a pounding mid-year storm
And yet a sea that offers comfort when the weather’s clear and warm,
Where the whitecaps crown an ocean that is every shade of blue,
Crashing to a golden shore, that’s Australia through and through.
See the bright zinc noses glisten beneath hair as black as coal
Or the light blond locks of lifeguards on a Bondi Beach patrol.
But has Australia more to offer than merely surf and sand?
Well the answer to the question lies within the Rainbow Land.
For if you venture far away from the beach and city streets
You might see the golden splendour of a ripened field of wheat.
Or a fresh-ploughed North West paddock on an apparent endless plain
Where the dark brown earth turns darker when it’s drenched by soothing rain
That sings songs upon a tin roof where, underneath, a homestead wife
Is laughing with her children as they drink the smell of life
And this brings a pearly smile to a sunburned farmer’s face
And he gives thanks to the heavens for another act of grace.
Or wander to a valley where the magic fruit of vines
Is caressed by master makers ’til it fills a glass with wine.
A rich burgundy or chardonnay, each a colour in itself,
All destined for the darkness of a dusty cellar shelf.
Keep on heading westward across this wide brown land
And you’ll marvel at The Simpson and its shifting desert sands.
Sun-bleached gold and yellow as they struggle to escape
To an horizon, which by heat-waves has been twisted out of shape.
Then push on to The Centre to see what it holds for you
And you’ll stare in sheer amazement at the sight of Uluru.
The red-hot Rock at midday is a scene you won’t forget
And you’ll watch its colour change as the sun begins to set.
Those harsh and vivid visions which by day were burning bright
Take on softer, pastel hues as they usher in the night.
For Nature is an artist and her canvas is the earth
And each day is a masterpiece transcending mortal worth.
In her rich Australian gallery her paintings have no peer,
From a jet-black moonless night to running water, crystal-clear,
From a snow-capped Kosciuszko to a forest charred by flame
Every worldly colour lies within Australia’s aqua frame.
February 21, 2007
His cattle didn’t get a bid, they were fairly bloody poor,
What was he going to do? He couldn’t feed them anymore,
The dams were all but dry, hay was thirteen bucks a bale,
Last month’s talk of rain was just a fairytale,
His credit had run out, no chance to pay what’s owed,
Bad thoughts ran through his head as he drove down Gully Road.
“Geez, great grandad bought the place back in 1898,
“Now I’m such a useless bastard, I’ll have to shut the gate.
“Can’t support my wife and kids, not like dad and those before,
“Crikey, Grandma kept it going while Pop fought in the war.”
With depression now his master, he abandoned what was right,
There’s no place in life for failures, he’d end it all tonight.
There were still some things to do, he’d have to shoot the cattle first,
Of all the jobs he’d ever done, that would be the worst.
He’d have a shower, watch the news, then they’d all sit down for tea
Read his kids a bedtime story, watch some more TV,
Kiss his wife goodnight, say he was off to shoot some roos
Then in a paddock far away he’d blow away the blues.
But he drove in the gate and stopped – as he always had
To check the roadside mailbox – and found a letter from his Dad.
Now his dad was not a writer, Mum did all the cards and mail
But he knew the writing from the notebooks that he’d kept from cattle sales,
He sensed the nature of its contents, felt moisture in his eyes,
Just the fact his dad had written was enough to make him cry.
“Son, I know it’s bloody tough, it’s a cruel and twisted game,
“This life upon the land when you’re screaming out for rain,
“There’s no candle in the darkness, not a single speck of light
“But don’t let the demon get you, you have to do what’s right,
“I don’t know what’s in your head but push the bad thoughts well away
“See, you’ll always have your family at the back end of the day
“You have to talk to someone, and yes I know I rarely did
“But you have to think about Fiona and think about the kids.
“I’m worried about you son, you haven’t rung for quite a while,
“I know the road you’re on ‘cause I’ve walked every bloody mile.
“The date? December 7 back in 1983,
“Behind the shed I had the shotgun rested in the brigalow tree.
“See, I’d borrowed way too much to buy the Johnson place
“Then it didn’t rain for years and we got bombed by interest rates,
“The bank was at the door, I didn’t think I had a choice,
“I began to squeeze the trigger – that’s when I heard your voice.
“You said ‘Where are you Daddy? It’s time to play our game’
“’ I’ve got Squatter all set up, we might get General Rain.’
“It really was that close, you’re the one that stopped me son,
“And you’re the one that taught me there’s no answer in a gun.
“Just remember people love you, good friends won’t let you down.
“Look, you might have to swallow pride and take that job in town,
“Just ’til things come good, son, you’ve always got a choice
“And when you get this letter ring me, ’cause I’d love to hear your voice.”
Well he cried and laughed and shook his head then put the truck in gear,
Shut his eyes and hugged his dad in a vision that was clear,
Dropped the cattle at the yards, put the truck away
Filled the troughs the best he could and fed his last ten bales of hay.
Then he strode towards the homestead, shoulders back and head held high,
He still knew the road was tough but there was purpose in his eye.
He called his wife and children, who’d lived through all his pain,
Hugs said more than words – he’d come back to them again,
They talked of silver linings, how good times always follow bad,
Then he walked towards the phone, picked it up and rang his Dad.
And while the kids set up the Squatter, he hugged his wife again,
Then they heard the roll of thunder and they smelt the smell of rain.
“I WROTE Rain From Nowhere on the morning of February 21, 2007.
Liven up your next corporate function, sporting lunch or charity event simply by injecting Muz into the program.
Whether it be as an MC, guest speaker or a mixture of both, you will not be disappointed.
Muz delivers his own contemporary stories involving trips to the dentist, hog whisperers, the difference between oestrogen and testosterone and the dangers of mixing yoga with colonic irrigation in his inimitable laid-back style that has his audiences in stitches.
His yarn Turbulence, about his late, great mate, legendary Northern Territory stockman Billy Hayes taking his first aeroplane ride is arguably the most popular Aussie poem since The Man From Snowy River.
“I haven’t laughed like that for a long time” – is a typical comment after a Murray Hartin performance.
It can be often followed by “I didn’t think poetry could be that much fun”.
And that’s the secret to Muz.
While it is no doubt original contemporary bush-style poetry, it comes with a fresh edge. There is a magic conversational quality to his performances.
Strangely enough, Muz does have a serious side.
In the introduction to a five-page article on the Australian drought,
TIME MAGAZINE journalist Daniel Williams wrote the following:
Early in 2007, the bush storyteller Murray Hartin penned a 14-stanza poem in three hours flat.
“Rain From Nowhere is about a farmer on the brink of ruin who receives an empathetic letter from his father. A celebration of resiliece and hope, it is as moving a piece of Australian verse as has been published in decades …”
But Muz will always leave you laughing.
Whether it be a sharp 20-minute comic spot at a corporate function, a 40-minute guest speaker role at a charity event or MCing a five-day conference, Muz wins the audience straight away and leaves them wanting more.
And there’s plenty more to give. Such is the popularity of his performances there are often encore sessions and a second 30-minute spot is just as entertaining.
Remember, this is not the poetry you remember from school.
This is not “The leaf fell and I wept …” stuff, no, no, no!
This is a whole lotta fun!
And it’s suitable for everyone.
“Murray can take you on tangential journeys that can be as hilarious as they are thought provoking. I doubt you’ve ever read a book like this before. It’s refreshing; it’s funny; it’s silly; it’s sad; it’s a little bit weird, but it’s wonderfully Australian – just like the author.”
Alan Jones, AO
“Murray Hartin has a unique ability to take the listener on an emotional journey. His precise insights into the Australian character are both humorous and thoughtful and his value to teachers and students, as a poet and story teller, lies in his ability to engage the audience.
In an age dominated by the impersonal world of technology, students will be drawn to his subject matter, will laugh at his imagery and will be moved by his understanding of humans and what makes them tick.” Glyn Leyshon Organising Committee, NSW Secondary Principal’s Council, State Conference
““Murray Hartin is the ultimate weapon in the delivery of a unique experience – especially when faced with trying to impress a jaded corporate audience who are desperate for the “ unexpected” and thrilled when it arrives. Rather than deliver the “same old” presentation at a senior corporate event which undoubtedly would have been forgotten 3 drinks in – Murray Hartin stole the show and that evening has branded our organisation forever in the minds of our clients. Plus you wouldn’t find a better bloke than Muz “” Mary Gourley Major Account Manager JUNIPER
“Muz provided a sensational night of high energy, heartfelt life reflection. We were laughing uncontrollably at one point and choking back the tears the next. He was certainly the high point of our function and a must for any crowd. A true Australian larrikin entertainer who should be heard by all.” Mark Johnson Chairman – A Country Practice Accounting Conference
“Murray Hartin stands in the great tradition of Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson and every bastard who’s ever leaned up against a bar and told a yarn or recited some Australian poetry. He’s a cross between an Australian original, a National Treasure and a colourful swaggie who lost his way and finished up in the present. I can’t recommend him highly enough.” Peter FitzSimonsAuthor
The good old Aussie Farmer is without peer and that’s the truth
Some might choose to argue but the pudding holds the proof
Governments give them nothing except a bit post-flood or drought
Squeaky wheels get the attention while the farmer toughs it out
More dangerous than the weather, they battle government decisions
That truly challenge logic, well, except to politicians
The live cattle export ban, what were they thinking there?
Allowing imports willy-nilly, it’s like they just don’t care
Desalination plants, billions down the drain
Just because some boffin said it wouldn’t rain again
They could’ve spent that cash on dams or to farm wet-season water
Give a little hope to the farmers’ sons and daughters
But they don’t know how to budget and they don’t know how to plan
There’s no vision for the future, politics is just a scam
Where you lie to get in power then keep on lying when you do
Hang in for a decade and get a lifelong pension too
Look they aint all rotten apples but geez the stench is hard to cop
And you don’t need a crystal ball to know it starts right at the top
So when they start preaching “Green” you know they’re really talking cash
Forget the carbon footprint, what they’re leaving is a rash
That will mutate to a cancer if they keep bowing down to greed
When it’s plain to everyone that common sense is what we need
If Coal Seam Gas is safe let’s see some guarantees
Otherwise get your poison spikes out of our water table please
Think Exxon Valdez or the Gulf of Mexico
It’s just too big a risk so the poison spikes must go
Bass Strait has still got plenty, there’s lots of gas to go around.
We can’t risk the CSG if the process isn’t sound
Which brings us to the wind farms, Green Power so they say
But it’s just another con job at the back end of the day
A ruse to recoup millions corporations have outlaid
For a dodgy power source that just doesn’t make the grade
You still need a back-up system when the wind gets sick of blowing
Then it’s either gas or coal to keep the system going
So the so-called carbon credits don’t add up to much
But they sell them for a fortune so someone’s getting touched
And sure as hell it’s you and me, our wallets fund the scheme
While the wind turbine brigade they sit back and live the dream
Well, there was no blind eye being turned by Alby Schultz, now here’s a bloke
Who wasn’t being fooled by the mirrors and the smoke
He’s stood with them toe to toe, called them at their game
And when they finally tell the truth they will hang their heads in shame
Government-funded fraud while they masquerade as Green
They can’t survive without the subsidies, this goes way beyond obscene
Ten billion dollars plus is what they’ve promised these pretenders
That’s just in the next five years, you know there’s more on the agenda
All for a thing that doesn’t work, one of the dumbest plans on earth
The power that it generates costs way more than it’s worth
But they’re not just burning dollars, the environment suffers too
There are a heap of bloody things that they’re just not telling you
Those 60m blades, they can’t be broken down
So they’re encased in concrete coffins and buried underground
And you can’t ignore the fact they’re ugly, a blight on every farm
And they lie right to our face and say they don’t do any harm
Well tell that to the birds who get slaughtered every day
Or the bats whose lungs explode from the sound and pressure waves
With the birds all dead or gone, the insects have a ball
Where are the impact studies, were there any done at all
Or were they done by those whose funding comes from government allocations
So they bodgy the results and join in the celebrations
The scientists keep their funding, the pollies get THEIR dirty bucks
And we’re left to hold the baby, well I’m sorry but that sucks
And you can’t ignore Wind Turbine Syndrome, it’s making people sick
Headaches, nausea, tinnitus, these folk aren’t playing tricks
They don’t like seeing doctors, it’s hard to get them in the car
So if farmers say they’re crook well you know they bloody are
And it’s causing splits in families and neighbours having blues
You’ve got the ones who take the cash and you can’t blame them if they do.
A huge boost to pay the mortgage but it’s a decision based on fraud
And sadly they’ll find out the risk far outweighs the reward
See they’re swapping health for wealth and it’s a dangerous game to play
Can’t afford to leave but then they can’t afford to stay
If they do get crook and then get stuffed by farm devaluation
Will the Wind Turbine Brigade offer any compensation
Well we know the answer’s “no”, there’s no way that they care
So we need the people we elected to stand up and do what’s fair
Enough of all the bullshit, stop treating us like fools
We watch you prostitute yourselves to let people break the rules
Well the line has now been drawn, this is it, no ifs or buts
Put all the spin away, it’s time to show some guts
Throw your hands up in the air and admit that you’ve been wrong
All the crap we’ve had to wear has gone on way too long
So lets stop all the subterfuge, wind turbines are a farce
Giant bloody fire-traps, huge pains in the ass
Killing birds and killing bats, making people ill,
Humungous ugly money pits and we’re left to pay the bill
We’ve laid the facts out on the table, if we’re wrong then show us how
And when you own up to the truth then the time to act is now
Reclaim your integrity, stand up and join the fight
Look into your hearts and just do what’s bloody right
Nothing’s set in stone, you know it’s not too late
Front the turbine people and just say “it’s over, mate”
The dollars just aren’t worth it, that’s the way it’s always been
Because these wind farms they ain’t pretty and they sure ain’t bloody green
June 18, 2013
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Murray Hartin – Bush Poet