Shearing Shed Echoes by Henry O'Donnell

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"May be, you don't think," argued Peter the Ringer,
The dad of the shed as a "pitcher" and singer,
"That a shed, full of shearers both perky and fly,
Is the place for a man who is painfully shy.

"But, way back in Brunee, near Berrigan's Gap,
Somewhere in the eighties, I knew such a chap
With an eye-lid that drooped, and a delicate curl
In his lip, that made all of us think him a girl.

"When the 'tally' soon fell to his lightning-like shears,
And they dubbed him the 'ringer,' he blushed to his ears.
But, thunder! he just was a man you would love,
With the heart of a horse, and the eye of a dove.

"But -- the timidest man that the shed ever knew,
His diffidence almost to lunacy grew,
When the shed had 'cut out,' he so little would reck
That he hadn't the nerve, boys, to ask for his cheque.

"But, plucky? by snakes! 'twould have kindled your blood
When he swam the Bogung, when the creek was in flood,
To rescue a child; but, when just coming round,
He seemed half ashamed that he hadn't been drowned.

At last, when he lay on the banks of the Grumbie,
Stretched out out on the grass, by a kick from a brumby,
We knew that his very last 'jumbuck' was shorn,
And bitterly waited the first streak of dawn.

"When the priest cantered over from Crooked Creek Slip --
Thought the delicate curl has gone out of his lip,
Hang me! if he wasn't -- ask Father M'Minns --
Too timid to ask to be shrived of his sins."

First published in Melbourne Punch, 28 June 1906

Author reference site: Austlit.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 28, 2011 8:28 AM.

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