A Bushman's Song Poem by Banjo Paterson

A Bushman's Song

Rating: 2.9


I’M travellin’ down the Castlereagh, and I’m a station hand,
I’m handy with the ropin’ pole, I’m handy with the brand,
And I can ride a rowdy colt, or swing the axe all day,
But there’s no demand for a station-hand along the Castlereagh. +

So it’s shift, boys, shift, for there isn’t the slightest doubt
That we’ve got to make a shift to the stations further out,
With the pack-horse runnin’ after, for he follows like a dog,
We must strike across the country at the old jig-jog.

This old black horse I’m riding—if you’ll notice what’s his brand,
He wears the crooked R, you see—none better in the land.
He takes a lot of beatin’, and the other day we tried,
For a bit of a joke, with a racing bloke, for twenty pounds a side.

It was shift, boys, shift, for there wasn’t the slightest doubt
That I had to make him shift, for the money was nearly out;
But he cantered home a winner, with the other one at the flog—
He’s a red-hot sort to pick up with his old jig-jog.

I asked a cove for shearin’ once along the Marthaguy:
“We shear non-union here,” says he. “I call it scab,” says I.
I looked along the shearin’ floor before I turned to go—
There were eight or ten dashed Chinamen a-shearin’ in a row.

It was shift, boys, shift, for there wasn’t the slightest doubt
It was time to make a shift with the leprosy about.
So I saddled up my horses, and I whistled to my dog,
And I left his scabby station at the old jig-jog.

I went to Illawarra, where my brother’s got a farm,
He has to ask his landlord’s leave before he lifts his arm;
The landlord owns the country side—man, woman, dog, and cat,
They haven’t the cheek to dare to speak without they touch their hat.

It was shift, boys, shift, for there wasn’t the slightest doubt
Their little landlord god and I would soon have fallen out;
Was I to touch my hat to him?—was I his bloomin’ dog?
So I makes for up the country at the old jig-jog.

But it’s time that I was movin’, I’ve a mighty way to go
Till I drink artesian water from a thousand feet below;
Till I meet the overlanders with the cattle comin’ down,
And I’ll work a while till I make a pile, then have a spree in town.

So, it’s shift, boys, shift, for there isn’t the slightest doubt
We’ve got to make a shift to the stations further out;
The pack-horse runs behind us, for he follows like a dog,
And we cross a lot of country at the old jig-jog.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Ramesh T A 30 April 2019

It's a nicely composed narrative poem going on like a descriptive novel! Thanks for sharing here!

4 1 Reply
Julia Luber 30 April 2019

Sing song adventure. One can almost hear it sung around a campfire as they hunt for their next destination and a hope to be treated with dignity. You can hear them sing the repeating stanza- " Shift boys shift" Fun working song.

4 0 Reply
Richard Botchway 27 December 2004

it is intereresting but too lengthy for a lazy reader

0 4 Reply
Varsha msdhulika 30 April 2019

A well written poem narrating the story of shift. Awesome work. Admirations.

1 2 Reply
Kumarmani Mahakul 30 April 2019

Travelling experience is excellently expressed basing upon self perception. Riding the old black horse is memorable. This poem is really very amazing.

1 2 Reply
Dr Dillip K Swain 11 February 2022

But it's time that I was movin', I've a mighty way to go Till I drink artesian water from a thousand feet below....so nicely expressed! A wonderful poem..5 stars.

0 0 Reply
Cynthia Buhain-baello 30 April 2020

Excellently written poetic narrative of country life from the viewpoint of a skilled farmhand. A wonderful read, great style and enjoyable content.

0 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 30 April 2020

The pack-horse runs behind us, for he follows like a dog, And we cross a lot of country at the old jig-jog. a very good poem. tony

1 0 Reply
Keith Brown 30 April 2020

Bush poetry at its very best, banjo and Lawson Australian greats, give everyone a laugh

1 0 Reply
Kumarmani Mahakul 30 April 2020

It is a well executed poem on Bushman by Banjo Paterson.

1 1 Reply
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