Learning from Bush Poetry

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Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by vwalla » Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:53 am

After reading Steven's Prize Winning Poem "Sunnyside' from Toolangi, I wondered how many of you like me. are aware of the benefits we gain ,enhancing our knowledge of history through researching info for our poems, in this fantastic hobby of ours.
I am certain that I didn't learn as much at school, nor in my working life, as I am,now.
A fine example of this, is in my Poem "TRUE BLUE AUSSIE " with which I was lucky enough to take out First Prize in the Adult Open Comp. at Toolangi.
I wish to register my sincere thanks to the organisers of this Competition and for the unique Gift that arrived with my Certificate and Cheque.
Without these Competitions we writers would have no way of improving our efforts.
Val Wallace


At the airport, when I spotted him - (a beacon in the crowd)
His tee shirt was emblazoned with – “I’m Aussie and I’m proud!!”
In spite of his Akubra, with the corks around its brim-
His RM Williams’ Driza Bone - and Boots, as well for him.

His Aussie flag, his Oz tattoo, he stood out from the pack
but odds on fav’rite you would bet - he‘d never been Outback!
The lady at the check out desk was mystified like me,
“I’m Aussie – Been ‘ere all me life - From Ballarat “, says he.

I knew the Chinese came out here in Gold Rush times they say.
If what he says is ridgy didge. Well, good Gawd, spare me days!
I’ll ‘av’ ta do more checkin’ ‘cause it means they came before
my kith and kin, who fronted up, in Eighteen Eighty Four!

‘He‘d caught my eye the moment we had lined to check our gear
and now that we had boarded, he was sitting oh so near.
“G’day Mate. ‘ Ow ya goin’?” - So I shook his offered hand.
He looked and sounded “Aussie” (though I‘ll never understand)

why an Asian bloke with slanty eyes, declarin’ he’s “True Blue”
should need more proof to sway me that he’s Aussie through and through.
I’d have to say how sneakily I sought out vital proof,
to verify the evidence was not some shonky spoof.
“I s’pose you’re lookin’ forward to returnin’ to ya folks?”
He looked a trifled puzzled then the blighter nearly chokes!
“You’ve made the same mistake” he moaned, “that locals often do.
You seem to think that Chinese folk aren’t Aussie jist like you!”

I tell you what; he came so close to cop a bunch of fives
but just before I lost me cool - the hostie chick arrives.
“Drinks gentlemen?” she quietly asks, then dinkum strike me dead.
‘e ups and orders Aussie Beer - then - “Same for you?” ‘e said.

This got me thinkin’ e’s orright, if ‘e’s the first to shout.
I might be tempted now to give the benefit of doubt.
Still, “don’t be rash” me conscience called. You need to delve some more.
“’Ow long ago did you arrive, on Aussie’s, sun blest shore?”

“Aw! Near enough two ‘undred years, One ninety two, exact!
(This bloke was pullin’ at me leg) – “Ya sure? Is that a fact?”
“Ya think I’d lie?” - His cheeky grin dismantled many fears.
“Ya mean to say your folk ‘ave been around for all these years?”

“Yeah! That’s a fact I’m tellin’ and our records from the past
are proof enough I reckon, that our dynasty will last.
When Great, Great, Great Granddaddy - The pioneer, Mak Sai Ying,
Arrived a new free settler - changed ‘is name to John Shying. *

“What year was that?” I asked him (This is where I’d catch him out)
“Eighteen Eighteen” ‘e calmly says. -”’Ow ‘bout another shout?”
I’d have to say me confidence was rocked right to the core.
If this was true, then he must be - much “AUSSIER” for sure.

I wondered if he had a clue, what these new facts involve.
Me mates down at the Footie club would have a job to solve
the problem - who’s real Aussie and the cream of all our land.
Their tune would change. Some humble pie. Not really what they’d planned!

Right then and there I made a choice to ditch my biased past.
Accepting that together we can help this Country last.
When a few rows back I hear this voice - “Now listen here old mate,”
We came to this here country in year Eighteen Thirty Eight.”

Confronted by this turbaned bloke I was amazed to hear,
“My Great Great Granddad Merban was an Afghan cameleer.”
“He worked in South Australia. - Wed my European Gran” #
“Sit down,” I gasped, “and join us. Would ya like an Aussie can?”

A few more sherbets set the scene. We shared ancestral tales.
The gist of all our stories to inconsequence then pales,
when a tall and lanky Koori wanders up to join with us,
“Ya know we’ve been ‘ere longest? - Merely forty thou’ years, plus.

Now things were really murky and I needed to admit,
the more we were discussin’ meant the more that I should quit.
Forget about the gruesome past, be mindful of today -
to make this country greater in the true, blue Aussie way.

Accept folk as you find ‘em but remember all the while,
The Aussie way of doin’ things – A cold beer and a smile.
And new chums should remember, the old saying, oh so true.
That like in Rome, when now in Oz – just do as Aussies do.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! We all will sing.
All of us together. Don’t it ‘ave a mighty ring?
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! We all will shout.
All of us together – that is what it’s all about...

I have attempted in my own way to try and convey my typical Aussie accent. in the vein of CJ Dennis .Thus the many spelling errors (The Author)
* Information taken from a speech to National Trust of Aust NSW 2008 Sense of Place Conference by Hon Henry Tsang OAM MLC
# From South Australian History Flinders Ranges History The Afghan Camelmen

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Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by Zondrae » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:47 pm

Congratulations Val,

I went into the Toolangi site yesterday, for the first time, and saw your name more than once, (didn't I ? I'll go and check later.) The ABPA was certainly well represented in the winners list. We must be all learning how to 'polish up' our poems better. Funny thing, you and Leonie have received your prize and certificate but I haven't heard peep out of them. I probably will get mine in the coming week. I am keen to see the anthology. This will be the fourth I'm in this year. The others have been disappointing in the poor quality of the paper they use these days. I'll bet some of the books from this generation are not around in 100 + years.
In any case, I mainly wanted to say well done and keep them coming.
Zondrae King
a woman of words

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Dave Smith
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Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by Dave Smith » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:08 pm

Struth Every time I post something and think at last I’m making same in roads into this here poetry then you post this sort of stuff, me I got a long way to go.

This poem has my sentiment exactly well done.

TTFN 8-)
I Keep Trying

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Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by Neville Briggs » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:36 am

Good on ya Val, well done. :)
I think therefore I am

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:06 am

Excellent Val - how I wish every biased Australian could get the opportunity to read it. My sentiments exactly, I always say that I am - Pommie by birth, Australian by choice, citizen of the world.

Just love it - a very well deserved win. Loved the annotation re you spelling mistakes :lol: Good way to cover your bases Mate - clever that.


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I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by thestoryteller » Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:34 am

G'day Val, it's been a while.

Good to see you still enjoying your verse.

I've a bit of Irish, English, Scottish and German in the blood but yet I am Australian. Seems you can use a lot of different ingredients and come up Australian.

It's all in the bakin' I thinks.

The Storyteller.
Some days your the pidgeon and other days the statue.

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Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by Irene » Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:58 am

Great poem Val - thanks for sharing

What goes around, comes around.


Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by Heather » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:18 am

Congratulations on a great poem and your win at Toolangi Val. Someone read it out for you at Toolangi (can't recall who). It was great to see you amongst the winners.

Heather :)

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Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by vwalla » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:51 pm

Thanks everyone for your good wishes.I was ecstatic to win!

Trisha Patterson

Re: Learning from Bush Poetry

Post by Trisha Patterson » Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:23 pm

Nice work Val!


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