Charles Henry Soutar

(11 October 1864 - 20 August 1944 / Aberdeen, Scotland)

Shifting Sand - Poem by Charles Henry Soutar

Do you see that post a-stickin in the sand?
Just the point of it a-poking thro' the sand?
Me and Madge put in that fence.
Yes! We should have had more sense!
We was young, you see, and didn't understand.

Twenty years come next November we began;
There was nothing here but scrub when we began --
Sold the farm on 'Dingo Flat,'
And put all we had in that!
Into blasted shifting sand and 'Take-all pan.'

This here paddick--which? Why where you're standing now
(Oh! it was one, tho' you wouldn't think so now!)
Well, we grubbed it, nice and neat,
And we gut it in with wheat;
And we didn't reap enough to feed the cow!

In the early spring the sand began to shift ---
In a 'Norther' have you ever seen it shift?
Well, it all went in a night,
Not a blade was left in sight
When we come to look next morning at the drift!

Round the back there, by them stunted pepper-trees;
Hardly anything will live here but them trees.
Madge is lying there, asleep,
With the sand above her, deep:
Deep and loose enough to sink you to the knees!

Many other things are buried on the land,
Things you can't get back from any kind of land,
Youth and hope, and tears and sweat,
Wasted work and vain regret,
In the sneaking, creeping, greedy, shifting sand!

Comments about Shifting Sand by Charles Henry Soutar

  • Terry Craddock (9/22/2015 10:03:00 PM)

    A Stick In The Sand Or A Stick In The Mud?

    a stick in the sand hidden is more dangerous
    treacherous in shifting meaning than solid
    avoided predictable stuck seen stick in the mud

    Copyright © Terence George Craddock
    Inspired by the poem 'Shifting Sand' by Charles Henry Soutar.
    Dedicated to the poet Charles Henry Soutar.
    (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Terry Craddock (9/18/2015 5:47:00 PM)

    Seems a stick in the sand, is more dangerous treacherous, in shifting meaning, than a mere stick in the mud. (Report) Reply

  • David Wood (9/18/2015 10:17:00 AM)

    Earthy and gritty poem cast from wide experience. Good ink. (Report) Reply

  • Seema Jayaraman (9/18/2015 8:17:00 AM) much of toil n memories buried in futile sand....the pain of toil n more toil with no yield (Report) Reply

  • Babatunde Aremu (9/18/2015 6:35:00 AM)

    'wasted work and vain regret'. That sums it up. Very figurative, instructive and deep. Kudos to the poet (Report) Reply

  • Kinyua Karanja (9/18/2015 1:52:00 AM)

    I believe there is more behind this poem shifting sand than usual erosion, The societal moral erosion like greed, hypocracy and naiveness. Smart poem. (Report) Reply

  • Mike Monahan (7/1/2012 4:37:00 PM)

    Enjoyed this very much. Mike (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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