Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems

The Dying Stockman


A strapping young stockman lay dying,

His saddle supporting his head;

His two mates around him were crying,

As he rose on his elbow and said:


           Chorus:  'Wrap me up with my stockwhip and blanket,

    And bury me deep down below,

                          Where the dingoes and crows can't molest me,

              In the shade where the coolibahs grow.


'Oh! had I the flight of the bronzewing,

Far o'er the plains would I fly,

Straight to the land of my childhood,

And there I would lay down and die.


'Then cut down a couple of saplings,

Place one at my head and my toe,

Carve on them cross, stockwhip, and saddle,

To show there's a stockman below.


'Hark! there's the wail of a dingo,

Watchful and weird - I must go,

For it tolls the death-knell of the stockman

From the gloom of the scrub down below.


'There's tea in the battered old billy;

Place the pannikins out in a row,

And we'll drink to the next merry meeting,

In the place where all good fellows go.


'And oft in the shades of the twilight,

When the soft winds are whispering low,

And the darkening shadows are falling,

Sometimes think of the stockman below.'



Back to Australian Poems index