David Lewis Paget
The Rain That Came To Stay - Poem by David Lewis Paget
‘How much longer this drought, ' he said,
‘The creeks are running dry,
There's not a lot in the reservoir
And not a cloud in the sky,
The farmers, shooting the cattle that
Have nothing out there to drink,
How much longer this drought, ' he cried
In the pub at Innaminck!
The soil had turned to a fine bulldust,
The drought had cracked the clay,
There wasn't a green shoot anywhere
To be seen by the light of day,
The crops had failed, were ploughed back in
In hopes that the rain would come,
But the skies were clear for the rest of the year
From there to Jerusalem!
A tinker called in a beat-up car
And staggered in with his bag,
‘I'm Mickey Malone from County Down
With a thirst that could choke a shag! '
The barman served him a schooner, with
One gulp, he put it away,
But emptied his empty pockets when
The barman asked him to pay.
The tinker started his blarney then,
‘I'll sharpen your knives for free!
Just give me another schooner, chum
And we'll see what we will see!
I'll cut your keys, and I'll wash a dish,
Or I'll give you a hundred pegs.'
The barman reached and he grabbed his throat,
And lifted him off his legs!
‘You'll have to do better than that, my man,
Don't drink my beer for free!
I'm taking the wheels of your beat-up car
‘Til you play it straight with me! '
‘Hang on, hang on, just what do you want,
Whatever will pay my due! '
‘We could do with a shower of rain, my man,
But that's all I'd want from you! '
The tinker nodded, ‘No sooner said!
I'll make it tomorrow noon,
You'll have to give me a room to rent
And I'll whip it up in the gloom.'
The barman sneered, ‘You're having me on,
No way can you make it rain! '
‘You'll see, tomorrow, ' the tinker said,
‘Though you might think I'm insane! '
The barman locked him and his bag in a room,
And took a wheel off his car,
He knew if the tinker tried to escape
He wouldn't be going far,
But come the dawn, was a distant cloud
Spread out, and up from the south,
It tumbled and turned in the atmosphere
And looked like a dragon's mouth.
At noon the cloud was over their heads,
All black, and threatening rain,
A whirly blew up a dust storm there
And swirled at each window pane,
They locked the door of the pub up tight
And waited, tense as a rag,
The rain came down, ‘Aha, ' he said,
And the tinker patted his bag!
The patter of rain was heard on the roof,
The gutters began to fill,
The windows washed of their dust and silt
Right down to the window-sill,
The dust was settled, the ground was wet,
The cattle lowed in the field,
And everyone danced in the yard out there
The tide of their fortunes sealed.
The rain grew heavier by the hour,
The creeks had started to flow,
And even the reservoir burst its banks,
With nowhere else to go,
The water flooded across the plain
They waded up to their knees,
‘Enough, enough! ' But Malone replied:
‘Begorra, you're hard to please! '
It rained all night, and the following day,
It rained and rained for a week,
The pub was flooded from wall to wall
The water burst from the creek,
‘You've got to stop it, ' the barman cried,
But the tinker stood and frowned,
‘If the water rises much higher than this,
I think that we'll all be drowned! '
‘You said you wanted the rain, all right,
I gave it, now for my pay,
I can't go on in these tattered clothes
And my car's a give-away.
I'll need the van that you've parked out front
And a hundred cans of beer,
Not much to ask for your water, chum,
At the drought time of the year! '
The barman collared and kicked him out
With his bag and all beside,
The tinker lay in the water there,
His bag had sunk in the tide,
‘Will you stop it now, ' the barman said,
‘Or you'll wish you'd never been born! '
I can't! ' The tinker sat and he cried,
‘You've drowned my Leprechaun! '
It rains and rains at Innaminck,
It rains both day and night,
The pub sank under the water there
In a lake that's ten miles wide,
The farmers had to desert the land
To leave their sunken homes,
But put out a ‘Wanted', Nation wide
For a tinker, called Malone!
David Lewis Paget
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