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GRAHAM DEAN
Prairie, Queensland, Australia
About Graham Dean

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.

One of

Lariat Laureate Runner Up
Recognized for his poem, I Have Seen the Land

 

 

I Have Seen the Land

I have been to where the sun sets with a vengeance,
And burns the sky with red and ochre hues.
I have lived where man and his dependents
Take solace from the best of nature's views.

I've seen the open plain of the Savannah,
Where brolgas dance and jabirus take flight.
I've watched the white corella in the evening,
Summon in the darkness of the night.

I've searched the water-holes of northern rivers,
Before the wet awakes the mighty flood,
Where crocodiles have gathered in their numbers
To moisten skin where all that's left is mud.

I've watched the summer storms create the fires
That glow as night-time falls upon the land.
I've walked the blackened ground where man aspires
To forge a living where the ant-hills stand.

I've listened to the rolling sound of thunder
As lightning strikes the ground with awesome power.
While raging storms advance across the landscape
Renewing life with every passing hour.

And I have seen the rivers as they're rising,
Pounding banks; re-shaping at a whim.
Yes, I have heard the rumble of the flash flood
And had that rush of fear from deep within.

I've flown across a landscape etched with beauty,
Where rivers snake their way towards the sea.
I've watched as waves sweep clean the endless beaches,
Fuelled gently by the early evening breeze.

I've been to where the wedgetail soars intently,
Watched as they, for movement on the ground.
And as I've floated high above Australia,
I've come to know this country's glory bound.

And I am everything they call Australian,
For I am every soul upon this land.
And for all time, as nature is my soul-mate,
For my country proudly will I stand.

Graham Dean
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

We asked Graham Dean to provide a few definitions of some words that might be unfamiliar to folks outside of Australia:

Didgeridoo or Didge A long hollow branch of a tree used by Australian indidgenious peoples as a musical instrument has a haunting low rumble and can also be made to sound animal calls.

Jabiru  Large bird, Australias only Stalk (explains why there arn't too many of us) lives mainly in the northern regions.

Brolga  Another large bird of the North has a wonderful mating Dance.

Corella White cocatoo a native of Australia.

Wedgetail  Wedgetail Eagle is similar to the large eagles of the world with a destinctive wedge shaped tail.

Illustration copyright Louise K. Dean
Illustration by Louise K. Dean

 

Blue Denim

Blue denim jeans and a life on the plains,
A trusty old steed at the end of the reigns.
Bright stars in the sky as I lay down to sleep,
Dreams of the country—of cattle and sheep.

Bush fires blazing on into the night,
Flocks of wild birds that will scatter in flight
Flood rains that fall in continuous streams
This is Australia the land of our dreams.

Drought on the land as our hopes and dreams fade.
Cold winds so sharp and they cut like a blade.
Blue Gums that stand high on our mountains so tall,
This is Australia and I love it all.

Graham Dean
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

The Pain of Leaving

 They might call it - the El Nino,
But we just call it hell!
There isn't any water, in the ground,
Nor in the well.

We will leave the broken fences,
And open all the gates.
'Cause we cannot feed the children,
And we cannot pay the rates

All our praying, for the rains to come,
Just didn't work, you see.
So, we're leaving in the morning,
Just the wife, the kids, and me.

The banks that wouldn't help us,
Can have the whole dam block,
And if they ever find them,
They can even have our flock.

They're out there in the countryside,
As dry, as dry can be,
Where you'll never see a blade of grass,
As far as you can see.

There is nothing that the government
Could have done, if they had tried.
As our country suffered thirst, in pain,
And all our cattle died.

Now we are all packed up for moving,
And there is not a sign of glee.
We'll be leaving in the morning,
Just the wife the kids and me.

Graham Dean
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Didgeridoo

There is a rumble in the distance
and it makes an eerie sound,
It is the music of the people
who are born of this our ground.

They have been here for forever
and their stories all are told
In the form of living legend
passed down from the very old

Through their music and their dancing
and the songs they’ve always sung,
They are teaching ever teaching
all their history to their young
And the instrument they’re using
from a sturdy tree was found
It has struggled ever upward
through an unforgiving ground.

Until the artist ever searching
for that sound will come at last
And will fashion from its branches
a connection to the past
Those branches shaped and hollowed
by the hands and tools of men
Are given life – a presence
and are vibrant once again.

With a melody so haunting
and a history of its own
Australia’s didgeridoo my friend
Is an orchestra alone

Graham Dean
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

wpe33.jpg (11116 bytes)
Illustration by Louise K. Dean

 

 

To May-belle

To May-belle – an ode.
A love poem a dream
Although tongue in cheek
To some it would seem.


Now come closer May-belle and give me a chance,
I’m sure with some practice I can teach you to dance.
With you by my side we will dance through the night,
That old country hall won’t have seen such a sight.

For I am a cowboy in love with the range,
And I’ll never believe those who say our love’s strange.
My dearest dear May-belle come closer to me,
We are made for each other you fill my heart with glee.

Now we’re at the dance hall, and the man on the door,
Says the shoes you are wearing will ruin his floor.
I love you dear May-belle; he had no right to say,
You were so gosh darn ugly; I should feed you some hay.

But we should be honest they just won’t understand,
How a couple like us could be seen hand in hand.
Oh May-bell my darling you can stop crying now.
Truth is – I’m just an old cowboy and you’re just an old cow.

2001 Graham Dean
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Australian Graham Dean points out that a "Cowboy" in Australia is someone who mows lawns, milks cows, and so on, while what Americans call a "Cowboy" or "Buckaroo" is called a "Stockman," "Ringer," or "Jackaroo" down under.

 

A Thousand Dreams

A thousand feet are falling, on the dry and dusty track.
A thousand voices calling, "Wish me luck I'll soon be back."
The swags are packed and brimming with a tool in every fold.
"We are sure to make a killing where the streets are lined with gold!"

GOLD! That awesome metal grips the hearts and souls of men,
And the RUSH is on to settle at the diggings once again.
A thousand picks will shatter earth and rock along the way,
And a thousand dreams do matter, if the claim will somehow pay

Oh they have come by foot and wagon 'cross the mountains, fields and plains,
And their weary souls will drag on though they suffer drought or rains.
By some inner force they're driven, forging forward as they must
To the squalor of the gold field and that ever precious dust.

Now a thousand tents are rising where there once was nought to see
And there's a thousand schemes of prising from the earth her riches free.
And these miners thoughts will wander to the families left behind,
As their hearts and minds will ponder on their own elusive find.

'Till a murmur starts from somewhere then becomes a noisy roar,
"They have struck a bit of colour where there wasn't none before!"
Now a thousand souls are tramping up to where they might behold,
The place where those are camping who have struck that seam of gold.

Once again the picks are ringing o'er the creek and hewn out ditch,
There's a thousand voices singing "Is it me who'll soon be rich?"
Yes a thousand souls are praying as they're building up a sweat,
That the hole in which they're staying will give up a fortune yet.

As a township builds around them and the claims are bought and sold.
Good fortune may confound them in their endless search for gold.
Some return to homes in glory, some with little left to show,
And a few whose final story no one ever seems to know.

Now the RUSH is but a trickle and the seams have petered out.
And Mother Nature ever fickle feeds the ever-present doubt.
As that early effervescence has abated-has been stilled,
We are left with reminiscence of a thousand dreams fulfilled.

Graham Dean
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read Graham Dean's story of the Australian "Cowboy."

 

About Graham Dean

We asked Graham and Louise Dean to tell us more about themselves, and Graham replied:

My wife Louise won a performance poetry championship in Australia in January 1999 (The QANTAS Waltzing Matilda Bush Poetry Championship held in the small town of Winton in Western Queensland Australia every year). The prize was for a trip for her to Elko Nevada to perform at the Poetry gathering in 2000. We had met Dick Warwick at the festival in Australia and had linked up with him in Elko, Dick had arranged for us to be involved in the Lewiston gathering where I was honoured to win the Charlie Camden Wide Loop award for tall tales, the sash is now proudly displayed in our shop. [See Louise Dean's poetry and more of her illustrations here on this site.]

When we asked Graham Dean why he writes Cowboy Poetry, he replied: Why I write poetry in the style I do is really lost in my distant past, but I can say that when the urge hits it is impossible to sleep or think of anything else until the essence of the poem is down on paper somewhere and has been exorcised form the mind.

Bush Poetry the Australian version of Cowboy Poetry is and always will be the essence of life outside of the city rush, a reflection of what is to be seen away from the insides of an office or factory.

Selfishly I have always written for myself but have found over time that there are other people who seem to like what I have written. I think we all are trying to write that one great work of art which in our own minds is never too far away but at the same time hard if not impossible for the poet to achieve.

Graham Dean
Born Brisbane Queensland Aust. 1951-- smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer era.

Credits and accolades
Co-author of two childrens poetry books
Working now on third childrens book
Author of Beneath the Southern Cross (a small poetry book)
Co-authored Gone Wookatook with Louise ( self published book of Bush Poetry)

First started to write poetry at about the age of ten -- Since then- I have always been interested in the wide open spaces of Australia and in the seventies followed those immortal words "Go West Young Man" worked on Cattle stations and more recently in the construction industry. Now- Louise and I have semi retired to a small country town named Prairie (Population 38) in the North West of Queensland, where we have set up a business called Bush Wookatook based on poetry and Art and servicing the tourist.We are also in demand for poetry recitals and workshops and involved in the organisation of festivals, either as comperes, judges or organisers. Sounds like a lot of self promoting guff but it does keep us busy. We would really like to return to America at some time in the future as time and finances permit and would welcome any Cowboy Poets who may be travelling past. We would love to show y'all how a real cup of tea is made in a "billy" over an open fire.

 

Louise Dean
Louise has been writing for the past five years and says it is not an easy task for her although performance seems to come as a second nature. She is also very particular as to what actually makes it past editing which made it very hard to put the book Gone Wookatook together. Louise was born in Hughenden in N.W.Queensland and has always had a love for horses and the country.

She is also a very accomplished artist, which made it very easy to find an illustrator for the books. She has illustrated all of the childrens books and of course our own.

 

Illustration by Louise K. Dean
Illustration by Louise K. Dean from Gone Wookatook

 

Our book Gone Wookatook is available from us alone at the moment and $12.00 U.S. (cash or international money order) would cover price + postage.it comes with a complimentary copy of Beneath The Southern Cross (the first book).   Postal address is: 

Bush Wookatook
Flinders Highway
Prairie     4816
Queensland
Australia.

You can email Graham Dean.

 

 

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

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