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When The Cockie's Shearing's On

A Poem by Gilrooney©1911

With the greeting smile of summer, ever comes a busy time,
To the little cockie squatter settled round,
When no mercy knows the laggard, and to dally is a crime,
And with Babylonic noise the hills resound ;
With the cattle kelpies yelping, and the kiddies barking, too,
And mother bustling round till daylight's gone-
She has neither leave nor leisure now to yarn with me or you,
When the little cockie squatter's shearing's on.

Oh, such busy bustling hurry, and such grinding up of shears !
Oh, what pottering and patching at the shed,
And the fences and the crushes, that do service through the years-
When the little bit of shearing's just ahead !
And what comic journal pictures are the father and the sons,
In the fancy shearing costumes that they don ;
Ah! in spite of battles bitter, what a flood of humour runs
When the little cockie squatter's shearing's on.

How they bow to Labour's bidding ! How they swill and sweat and swear,
When the crimson-tinted carnage once begins !
How they court a spirit reckless, and with neither thought nor care
Of the sequence of their sallies and their sins.
And then father, too, has dreamings of wool values good and bad,
Of the markets that his clip may chance upon ;
'Tis a time of dark foreboding, and it sorely troubles dad,
When his little bit of shearing's really on.

Ah ! well, now the shearing's over, and 'tis gentle peace again ;
For the solitary bale is tarred and tied.
And he feels as he surveys it that his work was not in vain,
And he's bloated with a squatter's proper pride.
It is well ; and may his values soon rise level with his best,
For then will all his sleepless nights be gone ;
And the farm will work on bearings of all hearts and minds at rest,
Till the distant next year's shearing's coming on.


From the Bunbury Herald Saturday 25 November 1911.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory