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Said Hanrahan

Journal by janilye

The following poem was written by Catholic priest, Fr. Patrick Joseph Hartigan 1878-1952 under the pen name John O'Brien and was first published in the anthology, 'Around The Boree Log and Other Verses' in 1921. It describes the cycle of drought, floods and bushfires as seen by the pessimistic Irishman 'Hanrahan.

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 lookin' 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 a 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."

John O'Brien



Note:
Patrick Joseph Hartigan, born in Yass, New South Wales on 13 October 1878 to Patrick Joseph Hartigan Snr. and Mary who came from Lisseycasey, Clare, Ireland. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1903 and was appointed inspector of Catholic schools in the Goulburn diocese in 1910. He later became parish priest for Narrandera from 1917 to 1944. He died of cancer with the title Reverend Monsignor Hartigan in 1952.
janilye

Surnames: CROKE HANRAHAN HARTIGAN O'NEIL
Viewed: 395 times
by janilye Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-03-02 02:47:38

janilye - 7th generation, Convict stock. Born in New South Wales now living in Victoria, carrying, with pride 'The Birthstain'.

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Comments

by janilye on 2013-03-02 03:30:48

Researching the CROKE family today brought back memories of this, my very favourite poem at school. I took great pride in being able to recite it and would do so without the slightest provocation; driving everyone crazy.

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