Red dirt strip

Long since the days have past,
this red dirt air strip lived a life.
Though now an urgent race,
a plane soon has to land.
For the doctors way out here,
it’s too far for them to drive.
Every hand unto the muster call,
grab shovel, spade or axe.
So tall the ant nests’ve grown
some so much taller than a man.
For this corner of the station,
had not seen, but had gone wild.
So we hooked in there unchained,
we cut a sway through one chain wide.
The red dirt flew, the ants they scampered.
we had no time contemplate their bites.
Our friend had copped a snake bite,
her horse he’d worn the brunt.
Now her time here’s just been waiting,
rested up against her saddle in the shade.
Till we hear roar above, the engines,
the flying doctors made it here today.
Head stockman on the radio,
the strip’s all good to go.
That hour felt a long one,
our mate she’s on her way.
Heading for a Top End hospital,
as she escaped from work today.

2 responses to “Red dirt strip

  1. The airstrip, I sense, must’ve been quite a dangerous one since it’s filled with snakes. The red dirt (I imagine a mud-faced appearance) gives me an idea of a fallow place plane will hardly land, then this part:

    “Till we hear roar above, the engines,
    the flying doctors made it here today.
    Head stockman on the radio,
    the strip’s all good to go.
    That hour felt a long one,
    our mate she’s on her way.
    Heading for a Top End hospital,
    as she escaped from work today.”–it brought hope at least.

    That’s my interpretation, though I’d like to hear from you, Sean. Thanks 🙂

    • Stations are large properties (grass savannahs, sometimes called grass castles) where cattle or sheep are run, some stations are as large as some countries in Europe/Africa/states in the USA. Some even have out stations that have no one living on then. The poem depicts more an out station where once it would of been a station in its own right, had a house, and a maintained airstrip, but they have fallen into disrepair due to being taken over by, and becoming part of a larger station.

      The poem is set in a time before the use of helicopters, and motorbikes became popular as a means to muster stock on such large properties. Many people, horses, and dogs were the main means back prior to the present then to muster, and it would take many weeks.

      Red dust and sweat, muddy faces, yes for sure. Plenty of dangerous snakes over here, and working in remote areas, any medical help is often far away. I’ve probably over simplified the poem, leaving out many detail which would explain the need to recover the airstrip from the take over by the ants and their nests, the flying doctors, and how they were contacted etc.

      Hope that explains a few aspects to the poem. Thanks, Uzoma 🙂

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