The Old Black Billy an’ Me [poem by Louis Esson]

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

The Old Black Billy an’ Me

The sheep are yarded, an’ I sit
Beside the fire an’ poke at it.
Far from talk an’ booze o’ men
Glad, I’m glad I’m back agen
On the station, wi’ me traps
An’ fencin’ wire, an’ tanks an’ taps,
Back to salt-bush plains, an’ flocks,
An’ old bark hut be th’ apple-box.
I turn the slipjack, make the tea,
All’s as still as still can be —
An’ the old black billy winks at me.

Louis Esson, Bells and Bees: Verses, Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 1910, [page 12]

Editor’s notes:
booze = (noun) alcoholic drinks; (verb) to consume a lot of alcoholic drinks

slipjack = pancake [see: “A lesson in making pancakes and doughnuts”, in: The Queenslander, (Brisbane, Qld.), 29 July 1916, p. 4]

station = a large rural holding for raising sheep or cattle; the term “property” is used for smaller holdings

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
agen (again)
all’s (all is)
an’ (and)
o’ (of)
wi’ (with)

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