Well we thought it was about time that we included some Australian poetry for you to enjoy...... When we were in Spain recently we were lucky enough to be shown the Royal Guards barracks, including the Stables where we were introduced to their Commanding Officer, who, in conversation told us how much he admired the Australian horsemen, and when asked if he had seen "The Man from Snowy River" ....
replied, with a grin, that he had seen it at least twenty times.... and that he had had a course constructed for his men to train on exactly like the one in the story......We would like to dedicate this page to him......... so without any further ado..... here are some bush poems by
some of Australia's famous icons in literature.....including Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, and Dorothea McKellar
portraying life in the country and about the country, during the times in which they lived.








The Man from Snowy River
Clancy of the Overflow
The Drovers Dream
My Country
The Christ of the "Never"
Saint Peter
The Wattle
The Blue Mountains
Mulga Bill's Bicyle



The Man from Snowy River
by
A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson (1895)




There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.



There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up-
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.
And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at least -


And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry - just the sort that won't say die -
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.


But so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, "That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop-lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you."
So he waited sad and wistful - only Clancy stood his friend -
"I think we ought to let him come," he said;
"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred."


"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."


So he went - they found the horses by the big mimosa clump -
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders, "Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills."


So Clancy rode to wheel them - he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.


Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their sway,
Were mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, "We may bid the mob good day,
No man can hold them down the other side."


When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.


He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timbers in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat -
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.
He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.


Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.
And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound in their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.


And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around The Overflow the reed beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

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Clancy of The Overflow
by
AB 'Banjo' Paterson






I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just 'on spec' addressed as follows: 'Clancy of The Overflow'.


And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(and I think the same was written with a thumbnail dipped in tar)
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."


In my wild erratic fancy, visions came to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving 'down the Cooper' where the western drovers go
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that the townfolk never know


And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and river on it's bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.


I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads it's foulness over all.


And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet


And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.


And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to trade with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cashbook and the journal-
But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of 'The Overflow'.

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THE DROVER’S DREAM

Traditional Song.





One night while droving sheep, my companions lay asleep,
There was not a star to illuminate the sky,
I was dreaming I suppose, for my eyes were nearly closed,
When a very strange procession passed me by.


First there came the kangaroo with his swag of blankets blue,
A dingo ran beside him for a mate,
They were traveling mighty fast, and they shouted as they passed,
“We have to jog along, it’s getting late.”


The pelican and the crane, they came in from off the plain,
To amuse the company with a Highland Fling.
Then the dear old bandicoot played a tune upon his flute
And the native bears sat round all in a ring.


The possum and the crow sang us songs of long ago,
While the frill-neck lizard listened with a smile,
And the emu, standing near, with his claw up to his ear,
Said, “The funniest thing I’ve heard for quite a while!”


Some frogs from out the swamp where the atmosphere is damp
Came bounding in and sat upon some stones,
They each unrolled their swags and produced from little bags
The violin, the banjo and the bones.

The goanna and the snake and the adder wide awake
With an alligator danced “The Soldier’s Joy”;
In a spreading silky-oak the jackass cracked a joke
And the magpie sang “The Wild Colonial Boy”.


Some brolgas darted out from the tea-trees all about
And performed a set of Lancers very well,
While the parrots, green and blue, gave the orchestra its cue
To strike up “The Old Log Cabin in the Dell”.


I was dreaming I suppose, of these entertaining shows,
And it never crossed my mind I was asleep;
Till the Boss beneath the cart woke me up with such a start,
Yelling “Dreamy, where the hell are all the sheep?”

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My Country
by
Dorothea McKellar







The love of field and coppice, of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance, brown streams and soft, dim skies-
I know but cannot share it, my love is otherwise.


I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror- the wide brown land for me!


The stark white ring-barked forests, all tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains, the hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops, and ferns the warm dark soil.


Core of my heart, my country! Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us we see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather, and we can bless again
The drumming of an army, the steady soaking rain.


Core of my heart, my country! Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine she pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks, watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness that thickens as we gaze.


An opal-hearted country, a wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her, you will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours, wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country my homing thoughts will fly

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The Christ of the "Never"
by
Henry Lawson (1898)





With eyes that seem shrunken to pierce
To the awful horizons of land,
Through the haze of hot days, and the fierce
White heat-waves that flow on the sand;
Through the Never Land westward and nor'ward,
Bronzed, bearded and gaunt on the track,
Quiet-voiced and hard-knuckled, rides forward
The Christ of the Outer Outback.


For the cause that will ne'er be relinquished
Spite of all the great cynics on earth –
In the ranks of the bush undistinguished
By manner or dress – if by birth –
God's preacher, of churches unheeded –
God's vineyard, though barren the sod –
Plain spokesman where spokesman is needed –
Rough link 'twixt the bushman and God.


He works where the hearts of all nations
Are withered in flame from the sky,
Where the sinners work out their salvations
In a hell-upon-earth ere they die.
In the camp or the lonely hut lying
In a waste that seems out of God's sight,
He's the doctor – the mate of the dying
Through the smothering heat of the night.


By his work in the hells of the shearers,
Where the drinking is ghastly and grim,
Where the roughest and worst of his hearers
Have listened bareheaded to him.
By his paths through the parched desolation
Hot rides and the terrible tramps;
By the hunger, the thirst, the privation
Of his work in the furthermost camps;


By his worth in the light that shall search men
And prove – ay! and justify each –
I place him in front of all churchmen
Who feel not, who know not – but preach.

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Saint Peter
by
Henry Lawson (1893)





Now, I think there is a likeness
'Twixt St Peter's life and mine
For he did a lot of trampin'
Long ago in Palestine.
He was "union" when the workers
First began to organise,
And I'm glad that old St Peter
Keeps the gate of Paradise.

When the ancient agitator
And his brothers carried swags,
I've no doubt he very often
Tramped with empty tucker-bags;
And I'm glad he's Heaven's picket,
For I hate explainin' things,
And he'll think a union ticket
Just as good as Whitely King's.

He denied the Saviour's union,
Which was weak of him, no doubt;
But perhaps his feet was blistered
And his boots had given out.
And the bitter storm was rushin'
On the bark and on the slabs,
And a cheerful fire was blazin',
And the hut was full of "scabs".

When I reach the great head-station
Which is somewhere "off the track"
I won't want to talk with angels
Who have never been out back ;
They might bother me with offers
Of a banjo – meanin' well
And a pair of wings to fly with,
When I only want a spell.

I'll just ask for old St Peter,
And I think, when he appears,
I will only have to tell him
That I carried swag for years.
"I've been on the track," I'll tell him,
"an' I done the best I could,"
And he'll understand me better
Than the other angels would.

He won't try to get a chorus
Out of lungs that's worn to rags,
Or to graft the wings on shoulders
That is stiff with humpin' swags.
But I'll rest about the station
Where the work-bell never rings,
Till they blow the final trumpet
And the Great Judge sees to things.


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The Wattle
by
Henry Lawson (1910)





I saw it in the days gone by,
When the dead girl lay at rest,
And the wattle and the native rose
We placed upon her breast.


I saw it in the long ago
(And I've seen strong men die),
And who, to wear the wattle,
Hath better right than I?


I've fought it through the world since then,
And seen the best and worst,
But always in the lands of men
I held Australia first.

I wrote for her, I fought for her,
And when at last I lie,
Then who, to wear the wattle, has
A better right than I?

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The Blue Mountains
by
Henry Lawson (1888)





Above the ashes straight and tall,
Through ferns with moisture dripping,
I climb beneath the sandstone wall,
My feet on mosses slipping.


Like ramparts round the valley's edge
The tinted cliffs are standing.
With many a broken wall and ledge,
And many a rocky landing.


And round about their rugged feet
Deep ferny dells are hidden
In shadowed depths, whence dust and heat
Are banished and forbidden.


The stream that, crooning to itself,
Comes down a tireless rover,
Flows calmly to the rocky shelf,
And there leaps bravely over.


Now pouring down, now lost in spray
When mountain breezes sally,
The water strikes the rock midway,
And leaps into the valley.


Now in the west the colours change,
The blue with crimson blending;
Behind the far Dividing Range,
The sun is fast descending.


And mellowed day comes o'er the place,
And softens ragged edges;
The rising moon's great placid face
Looks gravely o'er the ledges.

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Mulga Bill's Bicycle
by
AB "Banjo" Paterson





'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"


"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."


'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.


It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.


'Twas Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; It's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."

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