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   HISTORY IN VERSE______BUSH POETRY

 

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History in verse   Ulmarra    Peace in the Valley     The Green Ghost
          May the Gods      Only a Shearer    Our Dunny
 

History in verse

So you study history do you sonny, from a book so dull and terse

Let me say itís fun and easy when you study it in verse

Should our educated educators, history teachers in the main

Have students study old bush verse, there may well be a gain

Thereís Lawson, Lindsay, Ogilve, Paterson and such

Their verse is easily understood, itís hardly double Dutch

They didnít write from someoneís diary, or second hand hearsay

Being there to see and feel it, was the poetís only way

You wonít read of Mulga Bill, in your fancy history book

For he didnít save a nation, so he doesnít rate a look

Bill showed us transport changes, what roads were like back then

The evolution of our country, came from Bill and other men

Thereís verse about explorerís and the roads and tracks they trod

Stations grand or failing and small farmers turning sod

They wrote about the rivers, that cross this mighty land

How wide and free in flood time, but in drought their mostly sand

Were they racist saying blacks, could track a snowflake there in hell

Writing of the Dreamtime, rock art and bones that cast a spell

Thereís verse on engineering and the progress that was made

Stump jump ploughs, electric shears, without a dammed wide blade

They wrote of mountains, hills and valleys and other such terrain

Like the harsh but fruitful country, called the western blacksoil plain

Those plains produced the finest wool, this world has ever seen

Along with miles of waving wheat and its shimmering golden sheen

They told about the miners, who in anger laid aside the spade

With flag and gun they stood their ground, upon the old  Stockade

Sailorís got a mention, those men who plied their trade at sea

As did paddle wheel and steamer, who went up the old Murray

Manyís the tale of stock routes crossed and the good old drovers life

Drab slab huts with their earthen floors, cleaned by the droverís wife

Lets not forget the swaggie, that has waltzed across this world

He and his mates were many, when depression was unfurled

Youíll find plenty there on governmentís, Federal, State and such

Itís not always pleasant reading, but then nothings changed that much

They tell of people from up North, down South and over West

Itís fair to say wherever they wrote; it always seemed the best

Thereís tales about big Cities and their crowd known as the Push

Industry and Cities, got fairly treated by the Poets of the Bush

This country really started, bowed down by iron chains

But that tough and harsh upbringing, was only growing pains

Youíll read where Pioneers and Miners died as Explorers on the track

For this young land to be a Nation, there was no turning back

Thereíll be tales of good times to, with laughter in the air

And Grannyís then as they do now, rocking in a chair

I could ramble on forever, but I hope you get my drift

I've pointed out enough young friend, to give your grades a lift

So bone up on the Banjo and lay down Lawson's law

Don't linger long on Lindsayís leap or where Ogilve did swore

When next you face the history class, it will be a breeze

No more stuttering ums and ahs, or shaking at the knees

Along with times date and place, simply intersperse

With lines of recitation, from Bush Poets and their Verse

Mo            bushpoet.com copyright January 2002

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Ulmarra

 I went back to Ulmarra town, looking across the old terrain

    Was Owen Ryan still around, his Post Office still the same

And the sound of Pop Greens anvil, ringing in the morning air

    Oh! Itís gone, but not forgotten, while Iíve memories to share

The Commercial pub looked much the same, as it did in days of yore

    When Jack Moylan drank his whisky, with SP bookie Jim and more

The General Store was Hollands then and neither Norm or Joyce a fool

    Ah!  how well to just remember, Bill Ulrick and Sidy Yule

Eddie Napper had a cafe, in the middle of the town

    And Jimmy Woods the Tinsmith, never wore a frown

Mervyn Smithís old stock and station, on the corner long since gone

    As Jimmy Smithís whole family, has surely moved along

Up There is Jack Leetís bakers shop, or my eyeís are playing tricks

    Is that a big Alsatian dog? Oh! it surely canít be Rex

I remember Alan May the butcher, upon his sulky seat

    And the tailor Mr Preston, who gave care to every pleat

The newsagent was still open, with its books and toys and such

    Back then Fernance was cutting hair, with a basin kind of touch

Whereís May Rutherfordís old Fish shop? I guess itís hard to tell

    But the home where I and others stayed, in flood time Ė rings a bell

Partly vacant is the block of land, where stood a Bowling Club so proud

    Was this the land that Copper Ken (Fullwood), grew his corn and ploughed       

I raise a smile as Jack Nilands bus, in memory passes by

    A trip to Grafton Saturday night, with a sweetheart soft and shy

Are Tom Mix and good old Hoppy, still at Masonic Hall

    Where Chards played music long and loud for many a great Deb Ball

And Dr Barrett he would sing, with very little goad

    As would young Bill Bailey, Alf Crap and Marie Hoade

Bill Norman had the chemist shop, and cared about our health

    Itís doubtful all that caring, gathered any wealth

Thereís the house Jack Davis lived, he taught me how to shoot

Showed me how to handle snakes, tell a Redbill from a Coot

Hereís the School that moved me - from fourth grade straight to six

    So Mr Schofieldsís steady hand, my waywardness could fix

Schofield had his reasons, it was April fools day he did rile

    Iím not sure if it was shock, or the smile upon my dial

His Iron Gate and Ernie Shorts - electric fence, became as one

    And when the truth of it all dawned, I began to run

Gone! The Wharf where cargo ships, once stopped to ply their trade

    These ships were once our heart and soul, how quickly memories fade

Thereís only wild tobacco trees where the Pig Kill used to be

    And the sound of Butter churning, is just another memory

I walked to the wharf off Coldstream street, thatís where I learnt to swim

    And the faces all came flashing back, even that of my old pal Jim

There were so many others, but the darkness moved me on

    Life has spread us widely, and soon these fleeting moments gone

But if I close my eyes right now and let the years roll by

    Iíll remember, my Ulmarra, with a clear and bright blue sky.

 

Mo.    bushpoet.com copyright Sept. 2001

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Peace in the valley

Have you ever sat in wonder, of those stars that glitter in the sky

The hint of golden moonbeams, on the leaves as you go riding by

The sweetened smell of golden wattle, that comes with early spring

And the misty rain or dew drops, that seem to make the flowers sing

Have you ever rode the valley's, with craggy mountains on the sides

Absorbed its peace and calmness and saw the fauna that it hides

Did you see a mountain river, flowing wild from summer rain

The beauty of its rapids and the awesome terror that is plain

Well, I guess it's not the same now, as it was in days of yore

But it's there if you understand it, just open up the door

Mo. bushpoet.com copyright  2001

 

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The Green Ghost

The Greenie stood at the sliprail gate, chain and lock in hand

Saving a stand of hardwood trees is how he had it planned

Dozers just a mile away the word was spread around

And to a giant bluegum,  this greenie would be bound

Heíd done this many times before a brazen one man stand

It guaranteed him front page news and a trip to TV land

He made his dash towards the trees, he first looked left then right

A sudden stop, a stifled scream,  a shattered trembling sight

To late he saw the angry bull - battle scarred and tall

A thousand pounds of mean machine strikes fear in one and all

The bull put down his ugly head , froth blowing far and wide

The greenie headed for the scrub six feet with every stride

Out of the dust and rattle of chains, came the cry HOSANNA!

And up a tree that greenie went like an overgrown goanna

Sitting snug in the fork of a tree he wrapped the chain around

Snapped the lock and tossed the key, to the bull there on the ground

The bull laid down beneath the tree,  seemingly contented

The greenie saw the dozers, and his spleen, so loudly vented

The dozers belched a cloud of smoke that made the greenie sigh

But it was where the dozers went that made the greenie cry

He watched them rumble slowly towards some joining land

Chained in the wrong location - dealt the devils hand

Now down along the sliprails, where the bluegums sweep and sway

The ghost of that poor greenie appears at close of day

A shrieking, streaking greenie, with chains that rattle on

Followed ever closely by a bull that weighs a tonne

Yes! A shrieking, streaking greenie with chains that rattle on

Followed ever closely by a bull that weighs a tonne

Mo. 

bushpoet.com Copyright January 2001

 FIRST PRIZE (Caloundra)

Category: 403. Oniginal Bush Poem - Contemporary (Open 18+ Years)

Title:       "The Green Ghost"

Comments:  Short and sharp, it tells the story with plenty of action

1 enjoyed the humour.

Adjudicator: Ian Austen

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May the Gods

May the Gods of Thunder, walk ever gently on your land

May the Gods of Love, forever guide your heart and hand

May the Gods of Peace, surround you with their clan

May the Gods of Health, reward you kindly in their plan

May the Gods of Happiness, rain fun and laughter every day

May the Gods of Wealth, support you in each and every way

May the Gods of Friendship, ensure that you have many

May the Gods of Lightning, strike enemies if there's any

Mo.  bushpoet.com Copyright January 2001

 

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ONLY A SHEARER

 They christened him Harry Balfour, why ? I do not know

    He changed it just to Henry and gave the shearing game a go

Yes! Only a shearer, from New South Wales

    Who liked a smoke and a few cold aleís     

Five foot ten and twelve stone neat

    Beneath his chest, a true heart beat

Heíd rung most sheds on the western run

    So he headed for Sydney, in search of fun

Was it the mates or excitement he saw

    That made him sign up, for that terrible war

They sailed out of Sydney and to the frontline

    Private Henry , AIF - Number Four Five - One Nine

He marched through the ice the snow and the sleet

    Thinking of home and its golden wheat

While laying in trenches cold and wet

    A bug in his stomach brought out a great sweat

 Yes! Only a shearer, from New South Wales                

    Who liked a smoke and a few cold aleís

They placed him back at England, in the third West General

For many a long, long day and night, that bug it gave him hell

When next he was paraded, there was the chirping of a wren

    Backpack, gun and gaiters and the frontline once again

Sometimes, they made advances and at times, it was retreat

    Those boys were tired but gallant, as weary were the feet

Henry didnít see or hear it, as it sped across the track

    But that bloody German bullet, really hit him with a whack

Heíd rung a shed, when gored by bulls, boots were wet with blood

    But the Tar Boy heíd be working hard, to stop this, kind of flood

Oh! He knew about the shearers, how theyíd rallied in the west

    But itís kind of hard to rally mate, with a bullet in your chest

Yes! He was only a shearer, from New South Wales    

    Who liked a smoke and a few cold aleís

Two were the days, he lingered on, at casualty station twenty

    Rambling on about his home, down in the land of plenty

Buried there at Vignacourt, under the skies of France so blue

    He - and many others, from the land of the kangaroo

So stranger should you pass his grave, stop and roll a smoke

    And if you have a cold, cold ale, youíd be his kinda bloke

Yes! Only a shearer from New South Wales  

    Who liked a smoke and a few cold aleís

 

Mo. bushpoet.com copyright September 2001

This was written to the memory of Harry (Henry) Balfour Rutherford. 

Private 4519 17th Bn AIF. Who died of wounds at 6:50 am 

on the 16th May 1918 at Casualty Station 20 France.

 

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Our Dunny

 

Itís our Dunny and we like it that way:

The Dunnyís looking sad and sorry, since the white ants chewed a stump

Being kind and decent, youíd declare the place a dump

The door wonít shut and bangs away, to keep us all awake

And the hole there in the bottom, is where Jonny shot the snake

It creaks and groans most all the time, so itís hard to tell if someoneís in

Careful of the rotten floor and the snakes and spiders, that climb upon your shin

Despite its little problems and the distance when it rains

Can I tell you that itís heaven when you get those belly pains

 Mo. bushpoet.com copyright September 2001

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