Off To The Shearing
These words for ‘Off to the Shearing’ came from the mighty poem ‘I Don’t Go Shearing Now’ written by W.A. Woods who was also known by his pen name John Drayman. He also wrote another poem that I have written a tune for ‘Where Silence Reigns’. He obviously had a great and passionate knowledge of the Great Australian Outback which comes streaming through in his verse. The poem ‘I Don’t Go Shearing Now’ is lengthy and covers many aspects of the shearing life and from this poem I have whittled out two songs and the other will soon be on Songs From The Settle.
OFF TO THE SHEARING Words W.A.Woods also known as John Drayman. Tune M.Wyndham-Read.
So you travel to the shearing out across the Open Plain
Through the salt and blue bush country and you’d camp one night again
On the sand hills by the Eight Mile where the grass is always fine
And you’d talk of last years shearing as you smell the burning pine.
‘Though the pine would spoil the damper oh I didn’t give a D
But I hate the taste of resin and the ashes in me tea
But a shearer on his travels ain’t a fool enough to miss
Decent cropping for his horses for a trifle such as this.
With the saddle for the break wind and the oil cloth tucked in well
I would listen for the tinkling of the little tin pot bell
And the prad’s persistent cropping outwards the Ten Mile Tank
And I’d fall asleep contented while I heard the hobbles clank.
Each day we’d draw still nearer to the shearing further North
Leaving Winter’s chill behind me and the sweet Spring bursting forth
In all it’s glistening glory that would fill me heart with cheer
And I’d revel in the sunshine as the shearing time drew near.
Each year I get this longing to go a shearing still
Of the sites and sounds of those old grounds I’ve yet have me fill
But those days are now behind me to the wife I made a vow
To spare me poor old aching bones so I don’t go shearing now
Yes the Misses made me promise for she knows exactly how
The rheumatism gets me so I don’t go shearing now.