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WHO WILL SING THEIR PRAISES?

Merv Webster Avatar  Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled WHO WILL SING THEIR PRAISES? which was written by poet Merv Webster. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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WHO WILL SING THEIR PRAISES?

It was when I paused a moment from my workload’s pressing call 
that I gazed upon the picture frames which lined my office wall 
and I sensed a strange sensation and was soon to be beguiled 
by the host of beaming faces as six generations smiled. 
 
Though I laud the pioneering skills my grandfathers had showed, 
my thoughts drifted to the women-folk who also walked that road 
and it dawned that all our chronicles, our ballads, poems too 
failed to sing the women’s praises in the way they ought to do. 
 
From the dreamtime of our nation and the Aborigine, 
long before the new white visitor arrived from ‘cross the sea, 
the indigenous black mothers would seek out bush tucker food 
in an effort to give sustenance to her nomadic brood. 
 
And the wretched convict woman with her love-child by her side 
forced to labour in the work house - and in vain as her child died – 
how she struggled for existence in the infant colony 
with the hope of serving out her time and one day being free. 
 
Loyal wives of military men who too were forced to dwell 
far away from native England and to live here quite a spell; 
also women of free settlers proud to stand beside their men 
in a land of sweat and sorrow and rebuild their lives again.

When the question of imbalance of the genders rose its head, 
many women sought to emigrate and hoped that they would wed; 
but the immigration policy developed many flaws 
till the Chisolms of the century took up the women’s cause. 
 
Once the mountains to the west were crossed the steadfast settler's wife 
looked to find a piece of country where she might live out her life: 
far from comforts of the cities to some isolated run 
where she fought a running battle with the searing summer sun - 

Where a slab hut was her castle - where a white ant bed the floor – 
where she always had a handout for the traveller at the door. 
Though she bore a swag of youngsters with the aid of her black friend, 
sadly some would battle whooping cough: it won out in the end. 
 
CONTINUED

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  1. Date: 7/3/2012 9:29:00 PM
    This poem will hopefully be as ingrained in Australian poetic history as The Man from Snowy River.