Andrew Barton Paterson ('Banjo')

Here you will find the Poem The Mountain Squatter of poet Andrew Barton Paterson ('Banjo')

The Mountain Squatter

Here in my mountain home, 
On rugged hills and steep, 
I sit and watch you come, 
O Riverinia Sheep! 
You come from the fertile plains 
Where saltbush (sometimes) grows, 
And flats that (when it rains) 
Will blossom like the rose. 

But when the summer sun 
Gleams down like burnished brass, 
You have to leave your run 
And hustle off for grass. 

'Tis then that -- forced to roam -- 
You come to where I keep, 
Here in my mountain home, 
A boarding-house for sheep. 

Around me where I sit 
The wary wombat goes -- 
A beast of little wit, 
But what he knows, he knows. 

The very same remark 
Applies to me also; 
I don't give out a spark, 
But what I know, I know. 

My brain perhaps would show 
No convolutions deep, 
But anyhow I know 
The way to handle sheep. 

These Riverina cracks, 
They do not care to ride 
The half-inch hanging tracks 
Along the mountain side. 

Their horses shake with fear 
When loosened boulders go 
With leaps, like startled deer, 
Down to the gulfs below. 

Their very dogs will shirk, 
And drop their tails in fright 
When asked to go and work 
A mob that's out of sight. 

My little collie pup 
Works silently and wide; 
You'll see her climbing up 
Along the mountain side. 

As silent as a fox 
You'll see her come and go, 
A shadow through the rocks 
Where ash and messmate grow. 

Then, lost to sight and sound 
Behind some rugged steep, 
She works her way around 
And gathers up the sheep; 

And, working wide and shy, 
She holds them rounded up. 
The cash ain't coined to buy 
That little collie pup. 

And so I draw a screw 
For self and dog and keep 
To boundary-ride for you, 
O Riverina Sheep! 

And, when the autumn rain 
Has made the herbage grow, 
You travel off again, 
And glad -- no doubt -- to go. 

But some are left behind 
Around the mountain's spread, 
For those we cannot find 
We put them down as dead. 

So, when we say adieu 
And close the boarding job, 
I always find a few 
Fresh ear-marks in my mob. 

And, what with those I sell, 
And what with those I keep, 
You pay me pretty well, 
O Riverina Sheep! 

It's up to me to shout 
Before we say good-bye -- 
"Here's to a howlin' drought 
All west of Gundagai!"