The Hyacinth Hunter

Just outside of Kyogle
There lives a humble man
Who keeps the water hyacinths
Off old Toonumbar Dam

Craig Gascoigne is his name
And although you may not know it
He’s a keen environmentalist
And wonderful bush poet

He likes to paddle kayaks
In the dams up in the ranges
But just a few years back
He started noticing some changes

Where once he used to paddle free
And splash about for hours
He found his blades were being snagged
On strange aquatic flowers

They come from South America
And people in the city
Like to put them in their fish ponds
‘Cos the flowers are so pretty

But once their pond is covered
They’ll throw some of it away
And it’s washed or blown or carried
Down into our waterways

And there it grows unhinderd
Since no fish or bird will eat it
Pretty  soon it will take over
And it’s very hard to beat it

It eutrifies the water
Till the fish are turning blue
And covers the whole surface
So the sun cannot shine through

To all other aquatic life
It deals a mortal blow
If you want to fish or kayak
Just find somewhere else to go

But Craig would not surrender
To this foreign weed attack
He said “I’ve had enough
I want my damn dam back”

So with boats and gloves and plastic bags
He started on his deed
To rectify the damage
And to rid the dam of weeds

A couple of hours every day
(Or more if he could spare ’em)
He kept a log with photographs
Just so he could compare ’em

Soon other people joined him
Groups from school and other places
All driven with desire
To restore these native places

Well last I heard his tally
Was around a thousand tonne
And you’d want to hope for Craig’s sake
That his job was nearly done

You might think he’s obsessive
In your own cynical fashion
But even if you think he’s mad
You can’t ignore his passion

And I’ve got this funny notion
Which might sound a little vague
But the world would be much better
If we had more blokes like Craig

So next time that you see a job
That someone ought to do
Just think of Craig and wonder
If that someone might be you

©Copyright 2007 AJ Jack

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