The Shearer’s Wife [poem by Louis Esson]

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

The Shearer’s Wife

Before the glare o’ dawn I rise
To milk the sleepy cows, an’ shake
The droving dust from tired eyes.
I set the rabbit traps, then bake
The children’s bread.
There’s hay to stook, an’ beans to hoe,
Ferns to cut i’ th’ 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 must dree for long months more
What no tongue tells.
The moon is lonely in the sky,
The bush is lonely, an’ lonely I
Stare down the track no horse draws nigh
An’ start . . . at the cattle bells.

Louis Esson, Bells and Bees: Verses, Melbourne: Thomas C. Lothian, 1910, [page 10]

Editor’s notes:
dree = to endure

stook = a group of sheaves of grain which have been placed in a field standing upright so as to enable the heads to dry

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
an’ (and)
i’ (in)
o’ (of)
th’ (the)

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