Monday, April 27, 2020

The Shearer's Wife


A poem of our early pioneers and the hardships faced, much more than we have to endure in the present times. Not of the men who went droving, shearing or went to war, but of a wife who stays behind, looking after the children and home.


The Shearer’s Wife

    by Louis Esson (1879-1943)

Before the glare o’ dawn I rise
To milk the sleepy cows, an’ shake
The droving dust from tired eyes,
Look round the rabbit traps, then bake
The children’s bread.

There’s hay to stook, an’ beans to hoe,
An’ ferns to cut in the scrub below,
Women must work, when men must go
Shearing from shed to shed.

I patch an’ darn, now evening comes,
An’ tired I am with labour sore,
Tired o’ the bush, the cows, the gums,
Tired, but we must dree for long months more

What no tongue tells.
The moon is lonely in the sky,
Lonely the bush, an’ lonely I
Stare down the track no horse draws nigh,
An’ start . . . at the cattle bells.



to arrange (sheaves) in stooks, that is, a group of sheaves of grain stood on end in a field.

Shearing sheds (or wool sheds) are large sheds located on sheep stations to accommodate large scale sheep shearing activities.  In countries where large numbers of sheep are kept for wool, sometimes many thousands in a flock, shearing sheds are vital to house the necessary shearing equipment, and to ensure that the shearers and /or crutchers have a ready supply of dry, empty sheep. The shed also provides space where the wool is classed and pressed into approved wool packs and stored to await transport to market.

Gum tree is a common name for smooth-barked eucalypt trees and shrubs.

archaic Scottish, endure (something burdensome or painful).


Louis Esson:

Thomas Louis Buvelot Esson (10 August 1878 – 27 November 1943) was an Australian poet, journalist, critic and playwright.

Esson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland but moved to Melbourne, Australia when he was three. He attended the University of Melbourne and began working as a journalist and playwright after.

In the 1920s he was a co-founder of the Pioneer Players, a theatre company dedicated to the performance of Australian plays and the development of a national theatre. The Pioneer Players produced 18 new Australian plays in their four years of existence. The Pioneer Players have been called "a mismanaged collection of fly-by-night amateurs, but somehow he has come to be called 'The Father of Australian drama'".


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