The Poetry Corner

Shearing With A Hoe

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

The track that led to Carmody's is choked and overgrown, The suckers of the stringybark have made the place their own; The mountain rains have cut the track that once we used to know When first we rode to Carmody's, a score of years ago. The shearing shed at Carmody's was slab and stringybark, The press was just a lever beam, invented in the Ark; But Mrs Carmody was cook, and shearers' hearts would glow With praise of grub at Carmody's, a score of years ago. At shearing time no penners-up would curse their fate and weep, For Fragrant Fred, the billy-goat, was trained to lead the sheep; And racing down the rattling chutes the bleating mob would go Behind their horned man from Cook's, a score of years ago. An owner of the olden time, his patriarchal shed Was innocent of all machines or gadgets overhead: And pieces, locks and super-fleece together used to go To fill the bales at Carmody's, a score of years ago. A ringer from the western sheds, whose fame was wide and deep, Was asked to take a vacant pen and shear a thousand sheep. "Of course, we've only got the blades!" "Well, what I want to know: Why don't you get a bloke to take it off 'em with a hoe?"