Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Poems my Father would quote....3

This poem featured in our childhood a lot. Dad would quote it often.
He was a shearer when he was younger and would tell us tales of shearing all over Western Australia.
This was in the ten years before he and Mum were married in 1958.

The story of how he travelled to the east with a shearing team and discovered when he got there that the "wide comb dispute" was in full swing. Not wanting to be a 'scab' he moved on from shearing to working on the Victorian side of the 'Snowy Hydro electric scheme" as a 'raceline skier'. My parents were married in Mount Beauty and then travelled back to WA.

Any way, here is the poem he would quote...

The Lay of Civility Green

by Jack Sorensen

Now ‘Billy the Pinker’ and ‘Quality Jack’
With ‘Jimmy the Moulder’ were shearing outback
When quite unannounced, there arrived on the scene
A man by the name of ‘Civility Green.’

Civility Green asked the boss for a stand
And the boss placed a Moffatt machine in his hand
And ne’er on that board was such swift action seen
As displayed by the stranger, ‘Civility Green.’

Then ‘Billy the Pinker’ toiled hard in his wake,
While ‘Quality Jack’ found defeat hard to take,
And ‘Jimmy the Moulder’ said things rather mean
About the descent of ‘Civility Green’

Said ‘Jimmy the Moulder’ to ‘Quality jack’,
And ‘Billy the Pinker’, it’s us for the track
Unless by deep thought, we some method convene
To steady the pace of ‘Civility Green’

To ‘Billy the Pinker’, a brilliant scheme came
By throwing his voice, he had once courted fame
He communed with the rest, and a loophole was seen
Where a shot could be aimed at ‘Civility green’

Next day when the ringer rushed into his pen
A timid young ewe cried “He’s coming again”
While a woolly old ram shouted out angrily
“Stand back, my good fellow, Dot dare to shear me.”

The ringer sprang backward and pallid of cheek
He asked of the others “Did you hear them speak?”
They all answered “No, we don’t get what you mean”
“I tell you, they spoke” said ‘Civility Green’

In quavering tones he said “Oh deary me!
By Jove and by Jingo, by Crikey, by Gee!”
He reached for his jewellery, gave back his machine
And off on the track went ‘Civility Green’

Away to the Nullagine country he flew
He swam in his panic, the wide Fortescue
When in russet and pourple, the night changed to day
The pale star of morn saw him still on his way


By Nullagine River, an old shearer dwells
Remarkably strange are the stories he tells
When bushmen are speaking of wonders they’ve seen
“I once heard sheep talk”, says ‘Civility Green


Tom Roberts - "Shearing the Rams"

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