Spring Cattle [poem by Louis Esson]

[Editor: This poem by Louis Esson was published in Bells and Bees: Verses (1910).]

Spring Cattle

With bells the bush tinkles,
Men shout, hard hoofs rattle.
Spring sharpens the nostrils
Of winter-wild cattle.

(O the Spring-quickened earth
Warm breaths, and birds’ caw-caws;
And sunshine that splashes
Snow streaked on the Baw-Baws!)

For wild oats they foraged,
Turned out till the seed-time
In the blanket-wood scrub,
Waiting milk-time and feed-time.

Now back to the bails
Over creeks and round cutting,
Proud mothers bring calves
All roaring and butting.

And shouts, and bells clanging
Break louder and clearer
Down bush tracks to Neerim;
And bells clatter nearer.

Till roads ring and rattle
As home the mob passes
To the milk-pails, warm sheds,
And the sweet springing grasses.

Louis Esson, Bells and Bees: Verses, Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 1910, [page 13]

Editor’s notes:
Baw-Baws = the Baw Baw Ranges in Victoria, of which the most well-known mountain is Mount Baw Baw

caw = a harsh rough-sounding bird call, such as made by crows

mob = generally “mob” refers to a large group of animals, commonly used when referring to cattle, horses, kangaroos, or sheep; also used to refer to a group of people, sometimes – although definitely not always – used in a negative or derogatory sense (possibly as an allusion to a group of dumb or wild animals), but also used in a positive sense (e.g. “they’re my mob”) especially amongst Aborigines

Neerim = a town in eastern Victoria, Australia, located in the Shire of Baw Baw

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