The Rickety Bus to Las Plumas

Out of Trelew in the last of the light
Heading for dark Patagonian night
Where the hare is safe from the eagle’s flight
Goes the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

There isn’t a road, there’s hardly a track
Just a faint dotted line drawn in red on a map
Who knows if we’ll get there, or if we’ll get back
On the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

There are cousins and uncles, some girls in a band,
A priest with a puzzle he can’t understand,
A mother called Mary, a child in her hands
On the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

On the back seat there’s a farmer asleep
With his hand round the rope round the neck of a sheep
In his dreams who knows what adventures he’ll meet
On the rickety bus to Las Plumas?

On the opposite side sits a groom and his bride
Smiling and wearing their ribbons with pride
As a lifetime begins on this moonlit ride
On the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

The dawn comes in like a lifted lamp
Uncovering the cold of the winter camp
And we watch in the dawn while a gaucho stamps
From the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

When the sun is high in the echoing sky
And the fox fees the heat from the rock where he lies
There’s nowhere to shelter, nowhere to hide,
For the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

They say in the rains the road disappears,
And the mud is as deep as a donkey’s ears
Then nothing can move and everyone fears
For the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

At the front of the bus the girls form a ring
And play the charango and whistle and sing
And dance in the aisle till the farmer joins in
On the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

“What will we see there? What will we find?”
“Silver and jewels of every kind!”
Though some say the truth had been quite left behind
In the tales on the bus to Las Plumas.

At a quarter to one a tyre burst,
It won’t be the last, it isn’t the first,
And everyone knows the road will get worse
For the rickety bus to Las Plumas.

The hills are high, the hills are brown
And when the wind blows and the dust comes down
There’s nothing to see but the driver’s frown
On the rickety bus to Las Plumas

But wait! Look down there!
It’s Las Plumas!
We’ve arrived at last!
Can you see anyone?
Anyone at all…?

Just a windswept child in this windswept place
Who lights up the sky with the smile on her face
As she opens her arms in a broad embrace
To welcome the world to Las Plumas.

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