Most of you know by now that I am from Australia and write Australian tales. The fifty tale collection based on the whacky character of “Ma” is now in the publication process. In honor of the old poets from the 1800’s, I occasionally post a bush ballad here. These poems reflect the life of the bush pioneers in the 1800’s and early 1900’s in Australia.
Poor Dad he got a five year stretch as everybody knows,
And now he lives in Boggo Road with broad arrows on his clothes.
He branded old Brown’s clean-skins and never left a tail;
So I’ll relate the family’s fate since Father went to jail.
So, stir the wallaby stew! Make soup of the kangaroo tail!
I tell you things is pretty crook since Father went to jail.
Our sheep all died a month ago, not rot but blooming fluke;
The cow was boozed last Christmas Day by elder brother Luke;
I sold the buggy on my own, the place is up for sale,
That won’t be all that has been junked when Dad gets out of Jail!
Our Bess got shook upon some bloke who’s gone we don’t know where;
He used to act around the sheds, but he ain’t acted square.
And Mother’s got a shearer-cove forever on her tail;
The family will have grown a bit when Dad gets out of jail!
They let Dad out before his time to give us a surprise.
He looked around at all of us and gently blessed our eyes;
He shook hands with the shearer-cove, and said that things seemed stale
Then left him there to shepherd us, and battled back to jail.
*** *** ***
It’s like reading a different version of English, wouldn’t you say?
Lots lost in translation. Wallaby Stew? I guess it refers to a mess of bits and pieces. When I grew up in Australia, we ate kangaroo tail soup.
Prompt for today:
Wallaby, stew, cut, stones, sticks
Look for “Fifty Tales from Ma’s Watering-hole” sometime in 2013.
Reminder: short story workshop at Santa Fe on December 3 rd
Beginning novel workshops coming up in January at Santa Fe