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The Shearers Wife

by Louis Esson (1879-1943)

Australian writer

Before the glare o’ dawn I rise
To milk the sleepy cows, an’ shake
The droving dust from tired eyes,
Look round the rabbit traps, then bake
The children’s bread.

There’s hay to stook, an’ beans to hoe,
An’ ferns to cut in the scrub below,
Women must work, when men must go
Shearing from shed to shed.

I patch an’ darn, now evening comes,
An’ tired I am with labour sore,
Tired o’ the bush, the cows, the gums,
Tired, but we must dree for long months more

What no tongue tells.
The moon is lonely in the sky,
Lonely the bush, an’ lonely I
Stare down the track no horse draws nigh,
An’ start . . . at the cattle bells.

About the Author

Thomas Buvelot Esson (Louis), was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Following his father's death, he and his mother moved to Australia when he was three years old. Esson attended Melbourne University where he majored in English and French. Unhappy with Australian literary scene, he left and travelled to France, England and Ireland. While he was in Ireland, he was encouraged to return to Australia and start writing Australian material. He began by writing poetry. However, it was short stories and plays that he would later turn his keen writing ability. Today Louis Esson is considered the father of modern Australian drama.

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