Nancy of the Lab'ring Hoe

I had written her a letter, tho’ the time might have been better
Chosen since the floods had cut the road where the postie had to go;
Her man had gone a’drovin so she worked the farm without him,
And the envelope I headed, “Nancy of the Lab’ring Hoe”.

Her answer unexpected came in writing unreflected
(And I think the same was written when she’d taken of the jar):
She rambles when she’s pissed, and so I’ll give the gist,
“Th’ old buggas left me, perm’nant, and I thank my lucky star."

In my mild, domestic fancy visions come to me of Nancy
Taming bushweeds in the paddock with her trusty Lab’ring hoe.
If her hens are slowly laying, she encourages them, saying,
“If you don’t produce ‘em quicker to the boiler you will go."

There’s bushmen keen to wed her; in truth that’s just to bed her,
But Nancy takes no crap from drifting idlers such as them.
She’s a pioneering daughter with a Lawson’ary haughter
And sends them on their way with a laugh as hard as gem.

The dog beside me napping, fingers at the keyboard tapping,
More used to drafting prose but a ballad now I write.
‘Stead of emulating greats, such as Lawson, Joyce or Yeats
I’m playing on the Banjo and versifying trite.

But I somehow rather fancy I’d not like to change with Nancy
Nor take a turn at droving where the southern poets go.
I’m happy in the city, writing stuff to pass for witty,
And I doubt she’d want to join me, Nancy of the Lab’ring Hoe.


With apologies to A.B. Patterson

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