In the back-blocks of the mallee
‘Neath Mrs. MacFarlane’s sill,
Grew a rose bush many years ago,
(I ponder it’s there still?).
“ ‘Twas planted for my Louise
When she was newly born.
I mark the contrast of the rose:
The blossom above the thorn!”
MacFarlane ploughed the dry soil of that block
With machines tended of sweat and tears.
While Louise blossomed with the rose
All through her growing years.
But age slowly wearied him,
The years of labour took their toll.
So young Tim Brey that season worked the plough
And a bumper crop did sow.
Creeping fingers of evening shadow
Edged ’round mallee scrub and tree,
As Tim drove through the station gate
And Louise, he did suddenly “see”.
One warm evening ‘neath a mallee tree,
With the harvesting finally done,
The “old man” grumbled toward the house
While Tim and Louise talked on alone.
A silence fell after all was talked about
With dusk thru’ dust aglow.
Tim clasped the bough above her head
And leant toward his “rose”…
…The wind would move the fields of grain,
A swollen swirling “sea”:
Of “ebb and flow” in the crops
On the Breys’ new property…
Themselves now grown so old,
Their children too have flown.
But still the rose bush given
For their wedding blossoms on.
The mallee is not so prosperous,
The price has gone from wheat.
The farm is dusty, the house too old;
Deep lines fan Louise’s cheek.
Tim Brey harrows still with his plough
The “home paddock” into rows,
While Louise battles with their accounts,
As dust silently falls-on the petals-of the rose.