Across the black soil plains.
It's more than folk dare hope forAs they pray for summer rains.
Six years of drought and hardship,The dams and rivers dry.
The bank owns a second mortgageAnd our sheep and cattle die.
'Lord, fill our creeks and rivers,Let pastures green our lands,Squeeze the moisture from the heavensWith your ever loving hands.'God looked down and saw our sufferingAnd a miracle came to pass.
His tears dropped down from heavenJust enough to wipe my arse.
The Black Soil Plains - Individual task'The Black Soil Plains,' written by Bryce Courtenay, is an Australian poem. It consists of four short stanzas, each comprising of four lines full of description, poetic techniques and Australian imagery. It is situated in the outback among the hard dry bush of Australia, telling of the farmers who long for rain, who are experiencing drought and deprived of wealth. Although the poem is short it contains extensive detail and encompasses a deeper meaning and purpose.
The purpose, or the writer's intention of the poem is not only to outline the hardness and difficultly that farmers endure during a drought, but to show the deeper meaning of life. Although it refers only to the outback it can be related to just about everyone in modern society. It reveals that life is tough, unfair and injustice, but that needs to be accepted and one needs to be subsisted, not to relinquish. Hence the poem is directed at all members of society. The poem is also created to amuse, to simulate reaction and provoke thought. This is all achieved though out a number of poetic techniques, Australian symbolism and tone.
A harmonious yet negative tone is used in all passages. The author uses a comical, negligent approach, which is simple and informal. Balanced, flowing sentences are used containing descriptive adjectives in word choice. These create imagery - a vital necessity for poetry. 'The Black Soil Plains' depict images of the outback, of the deprivation of water and the little they receive, in intensive detail but still leaving room for imagination. An active voice in stanza three creates realism and personifies the poem;'Lord, fill our creeks and rivers,Let pastures green our lands,Squeeze the moisture from the heavensWith your ever loving hands.'This and other poetic techniques assist to create meaning.
Assonance is used in stanza one; 'As they pray for summer rains.' This creates interest and increases the appeal of the poem, along with alliteration.
Alliteration is used in stanza three to grab the audience's attention and create drama; 'His tears dropped down from heaven' and 'God looked down and saw our suffering.' This is yet another poetic technique used in effect to create meaning.
A metaphor opens up the poem in the first stanza; 'The herring clouds are stretchingAcross the black soil plains.'This expressive description creates meaning as it depicts an image, of thin wispy clouds zig zagging transparent over the boundless dry, black soil plains.
A second Metaphor is used in stanza three; 'Squeeze the moisture from the heavensWith your ever loving hands.'Thirdly in stanza four yet another metaphor is used; 'His tears dropped down from h heaven'Both of these poetic techniques produce meaning by way of conveying detailed images, leaving opportunity for imagination.
A regular rhyming scheme is used throughout the poem to indicate structure, beat and rhythm. This evokes interest via the reader. The second and forth line of each stanza have similar sounds among the last word - rhyme. (e.g. 'Lord, fill our creeks and rivers,Let pastures green our lands,Squeeze the moisture from the heavensWith your ever loving hands.')This, and other techniques are used to grab and demand the audience's reaction.
Humor is presented in the last verse - 'His tears dropped down from heavenJust enough to wipe my arse.'This leaves the reader amused, having a pleasant ending. This technique creates interest.
As written about Australia and in Australia it has a natural way of displaying Australian symbolism. The subject matter is considered to be Australian - the outback. As Australia is still pictured as a bush country (though not as much as previous), which often experiences drought, and contains hard living people who live life to the maximum, this poem displays all of those traits. It displays 'Aussie' humor, which is sarcastic and black, and it shows the battle which outback Australia today is fighting - drought and wealth, hence is relevant to modern Australia.
'The Black Soil Plains,' by Bryce Courtenay is an Australian poem carrying extensive poetic techniques, Australian imagery and deep meaning. Each contributing greatly to create meaning in the poem.