I think back to when I was little,
I guess just a five year old chap,
I looked out across the dry paddock,
while sitting on Grandaddy’s lap.
“This heatwave has lasted too long now,
just look at our drought-stricken grain!
The one thing to save the crop now is
a good dose of wild horse rain.”
“But what’s wild horse rain?” I asked Grandad.
To youngsters it didn’t mean much.
I looked up at Grandaddy’s face and
he grinned and explained it as such:
You look at the distant horizon,
for darkened clouds, hazy and blurred.
They look like the billowing dust storm
behind the black stallion’s wild herd.
The pattering rain starts so softly –
hooves drumming on white mountain peaks.
The brumbies are frisking and playing –
they splash in the clear alpine creeks.
A fountain of glittering diamonds,
fly freely, and dance as they scatter.
They giggle and whisper hushed secrets,
then kiss the clear stream, ‘pitter-patter’.
The rain drops are pelting down hard now,
and beating the old timber shack.
The horses are galloping frenzied
through rivers, ferocious and black.
A deafening, ear-splitting noise as
they churn up the dark, swirling river,
hooves crashing and frightened eyes rolling,
their nostrils are flared and a-quiver.
The thunder, it drums like a landslide
of rocks on a steep mountainside,
cascading beneath flailing hoof beats
of mountain men out on a ride.
The mob of wild horses take flight from
the Man from the great Snowy River –
his whip cracking snaps like the thunder,
so sudden and eerie, you shiver.
A sinister bolt of bright lightning
illuminates every small feature.
A jagged and searing white brilliance,
blinds every scared, cowering creature.
It lights up the mountains and valleys –
a moment of crystal clear light –
then plunges us back to the darkness –
a stormy and turbulent night.
The rain buckets down, now it’s flooding.
The water escapes and runs free –
flows over the creeks and bursts rivers,
and recklessly hunts for the sea.
The brumbies are galloping frantic
o’er mountains and plains, and through trees,
and nothing can tame the mob’s frenzy,
stampeding wherever they please.
The wind – how it whistles and screeches
through gaps in the timber slat walls.
Or could that have been the black stallion?
He’s screaming his challenging calls!
A whirlwind hunts down the wild horses.
It tugs at their manes and their tails.
It’s trying to calm the scared brumbies –
it whines and it sings and it wails.
At last, all the wild horses settle.
The thunderstorm’s practically gone.
Their cantering hooves chase the clouds as
the thunder and rain travel on.
The rivers and dams are all brimming.
The crops have all had a good drink.
The blue sky is peaceful and calm now,
and so are the horses, I think.
I stared up in wonder at Grandad –
enthralled with each riveting word,
I tasted sweet rain on the bulldust,
I smelled the hot sweat on the herd.
So, now that I have my own children,
I sit with my son on my knee.
We look at the dry, dusty paddocks.
I think back to Grandad and me.
I picture the deep Snowy River …
the brumby mob out in the hills …
the wind, and the thunder of hoof beats …
the stories that gave me such chills.
I remember the billowing storm clouds,
smell sweat, and the dust once again.
I treasure my Grandad’s best story –
of wonderful Wild Horse Rain.
© by Kym Eitel