On the Cattle Camps by Edward S. Sorenson

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Fleet-footed wild scrub cattle
   Come down the spurs a-swing,
While clustering dead ferns rattle,
   And vines to long horns cling.
Our nags, with saddles creaking,
   Wheel round the ringing mob,  
Their heaving flanks a-reeking,    
   Their eager hearts a-throb.

No fence is there to hold them,
   They tread on broken ground,
Where brush and scrubs enfold them,
   With billabongs around;
And while the whips are swinging,  
   Among the trees they tramp,
To lusty voices ringing
   Across the grassy camp.

Ten thousand horns are clashing,
   And tossing to and fro,
A hundred colours flashing,
   As round and round they go;
And high above the lowing
   The rounding riders shout,
As through the timber glowing,
   They wheel the "breakers-out."

The old camp-nags go quietly,
   And yet with reefing heads,
Where horns and hides gleam whitely,
   Among the roans and reds;
And, knowing as their riders,
   They "fix" the wanted steer,
With shoulder-butts and "siders,"
   They drive the rebel clear.

They've drafted in the ranges,  
   They've cut out on the flats;
They've run the wild scrub strangers,
   And blocked the station rats;
They need no reins to guide them,  
   Where mustered cattle tramp,
As well as those who ride them
   They know the work on camp.

Then let the wild scrub cattle
   Come down the spurs a-swing,
Where honeysuckles rattle,
   And running stockwhips ring;
The old camp-nags will meet them --
   Old warriors staunch and true!
And on the camps will greet them,
   And put the beggars through.

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 17 December 1902

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 17, 2011 9:34 AM.

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