Swelter Down Under

swelter down under

Swelter Down Under

The heat haze rises up off the bitumen

Creating a mirage to trick the eyes.

Water flowing across the road up ahead,

That gets no closer as you approach.


Steering wheel covers are a necessity,

Much preferable to wearing gloves,

And a seat belt buckle more like a branding iron

Than something meant to save lives.


All grass has turned brown

And crunches brittle underfoot.

Weeds provide the only flash of green,

They seem to thrive no matter what.


More than a few short minutes

Under the blazing summer Sun

Feels like you have somehow been shrunk

And thrown into an oven.


Plants and vegetables wilt and die

Despite regulated watering hours

Alternating odd and even house numbers

Rightly imposed by local councils.


Splash some oil on the car hood

And crack an egg at midday.

It will be cooked in a few minutes

So have your toast ready.


Air conditioners work overtime

Stressing the electricity grid.

Dogs and cats seek the coolest spot,

Lying around all day lethargic.


Keep the elderly indoors,

And slip slop slap if you venture out.

Heat stroke is a silent killer,

And so is melanoma.


Almost every week in Australia,

Temperature records are broken.

The highest in recorded history,

But, shhh! “Global Warming” mustn’t be spoken.


Air conditioners work overtime


The Driest Continent on Earth

Australia, apart from being called “The Land Down Under,” has been given the title “the driest continent on Earth,” and that is very appropriate as most of our interior is in fact desert. We are also a land of extremes with the far north being wet tropics, whereas parts of the south-eastern quarter (including Tasmania) often experiencing winter snow.

One thing that most of the country shares though is extreme summer heat conditions.

Maximum temperatures continue to be broken all around the country e.g. this January 2019, Adelaide had ten consecutive days with maximum temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Maximums in a number of areas have reached 48C (118F) on more than one occasion during January and February. Extended heat waves coupled with a lack of seasonal rain has resulted in severe drought in many areas. For instance where I live in Murgon, Queensland we have had the driest January on record with 2mm of recorded rainfall. Most of out rainfall usually occurs between November and February, but this has been growing less reliable every year.

Changing Seasons

The seasons are now so out of kilter that flowers are now blooming in Winter instead of their usual spring and birds are migrating at different times of the year.

The summer cyclone season has seen huge rainfalls experienced in the north of the State with Townsville and surrounding areas currently being declared in a state of emergency due to severe flooding. that rain, however, is needed much further south. You would also expect heavy rainfall to reduce the temperatures. It does so, but only by a few degrees though also makes the humidity skyrocket so it feels even hotter.

In January, bushfires raged all along the Queensland coast, and at the present time, it is New South Wales turn, with scattered fires across that state.

Most Australians can really relate to the term “Global Warming,” but I realise the opposite may be the feeling in other Northern Hemisphere countries that are simultaneously experiencing record cold temperatures and extended winters. We can argue the “Climate Change … real or fiction?” debate to our heart’s content but I am not here to do that, just to report what I experience first hand in this land I live in called “Down Under … the Sun.”


by John Hansen © 2019

Down Under Sun


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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBook of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" at Lulu.com. Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years are now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

14 thoughts on “Swelter Down Under

  • February 14, 2019 at 6:32 PM

    I hear you, John. Really big heat is a letdown. I discovered that here in Florida but now that I have found the ocean even when it does get hot again I am going to be down at the ocean sitting in a beach chair with my feet dipped into the cooling water. Right now we have the opposite of Global Warming we have Global Cooling but I know the temps are going to go up soon.

  • February 14, 2019 at 6:40 PM

    You know something i always say I hate the sweltering heat of summer, we dont get as hot in NY but it does get hot. But I’ll take heat to these icy winters we are having. I hate the cold. Nice work John, great imagery.

    • February 14, 2019 at 9:02 PM

      We are funny aren’t we Paul. In winter we complain about the cold and in summer we whinge about the heat. I prefer the cool but fortunately, it doesn’t get too cold… we never get snow. Thanks for the kind comment.

  • February 14, 2019 at 8:58 PM

    Hi Rasma, you are fortunate to be living by the ocean. That is a great advantage when the heat soars. You only have to endure the cold for a couple more months and it will start to warm up.

  • February 15, 2019 at 1:18 PM

    LOL… I am glad you got all that heat and no water down there. I like the ever changing climate here in Colorado… Wonderful write John.

    • February 15, 2019 at 5:54 PM

      Thank you Kurt, but we need more water! We seem to be in either drought or flood here, at least now that I live in a town I don’t have to constantly be on alert for the threat of bushfire. That was different when I lived on 40 acres surrounded by trees. Colorado sounds like a great place.

  • February 15, 2019 at 1:38 PM

    Wow! Drink lots of water and take care. We have been so cold here in Washoe County. Snow was almost gone then another storm came in and six inches of snow in the yard now. Great poem, John.

    • February 15, 2019 at 5:59 PM

      It seems our countries (at least our states) are total opposites Phyllis. We look forward to seeing storm clouds form overhead in the evening with a hope of rain and some respite from the heat. Yes, I am drinking lots of fluid and staying indoors probably more than I’d like.

  • February 15, 2019 at 3:57 PM

    John , Every movie , film , documentary I’ve ever seen of Australia I have always envied those who live there , such a mirror image of our American history and yet SO vast and unique a land . Awesome writing , I do hope we are all only going through “natural ” cycles .
    Hot or Cold regions ? I’ll take the cooler !……….Ed

  • February 15, 2019 at 6:02 PM

    Hi Ed, yes our histories have a lot of similarities but our lands are totally different. Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful country and so diverse, but God could have done a better job with the climate at times. I hope they are just natural cycles too and eventually turn around or settle down.

  • February 17, 2019 at 9:36 AM

    We need everyone sharing their experiences with drought heat or never ending snow. Thank you John the world is slowly waking up to certain realities, at least I hope. Jamie

  • February 17, 2019 at 7:13 PM

    Thank you Jamie. Yes, I hope the world wakes up too and becomes proactive instead of reactive.

  • February 18, 2019 at 9:52 PM

    I’m sitting here in the Pacific Northwest watching the snow fly and the mercury drop lower as the night sets in – the heat sounds kind of nice

  • February 19, 2019 at 12:00 AM

    I am sure it does Ralph. Not sure if I would like snow for more than a couple of days. We often want what we don’t currently have, don’t we? Thanks for commenting.


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