Monday, 17 March 2014


Anushka Maree  aka Fiesta Anna but usually called Anna or Nush
Buster - our second hand working dog, a beautiful Kelpie who taught us all he knew and then some - Boo Boo was a gorgeous boy
Some of our mob resting in the shade at Springdale 

At last my heart's an open door 
And my secret love's no secret anymore ...looking down from our highest hill 

This was the first Poem I posted when I joined The Australian Bush Poets Association and was  written about a little white Border Collie -  our working dog Anushka Maree - Kennel name Fiesta Anna.

Despite its glitches - The Bitch from the Bush is still my favourite  but over time as my writing improved with help from my peers and a degree of persistance from me Nush morphed into Nancy of the Overthrow a bit of a take off on Banjo's Clancy of the Overflow but done in the interest of rhyming poetry

Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

My bitch from the bush, whose pet name is Nush, 
is as white as vanilla ice cream. 

When out with the mob she is always top dog, the best of a champion team. 
She never will scare 'em, or rip 'em, or tear 'em. They seem to think she is a lamb. 

When it comes time to muster, with her best mate Buster, 

she brings home those ewes and those rams. 

She is a real beauty with blood lines that do me quite proud when I’m working along. 

She’s willing and ready and holds the flock steady. She’s smart and she seldom goes wrong. 

With the old dog retiring, the apprentice not firing, 

Nushy is the best chance we’ve got, 
of getting them mustered and covered and clustered 
for tomorrow we shear the whole lot. 

So let’s hear it for Nush, the bitch from the bush 
she's little, she's quick and she's smart. 
She’s a wonderful mutt, and I know in my gut 
that she’s blessed with a wonderful heart. 
It's hard taking chaff from old sheepmen who laugh 
at her coat that's as white as the snow. 
But all I've got to say at the end of the day 
is how little some smart people know. 

Her breeding is fine, this small girl of mine. 
Her father, Princes Wally by name. 
Fiesta Jodie her mum would be well known to some 
due to her renowned sheep trialling fame. 
"Keep her out the house," these old men would grouse 
"and keep her quite firmly in hand. 
Keep her chained night and day, and don’t let her play." 
We were told by these men of the land. 

But when push comes to shove, she thrives on our love; 
She’ll work from the dawn until dark. 
You can treat your dogs well and not spoil them to hell; 
let them loose and you'll brighten their spark. 
For she's not one to shirk when it comes time for work; 
she's brilliant when working the mob. 
Sheep don't argue the toss, 'coz they know she's the boss. 
This girl is a pearl at her job. 

So give 'em their due. They work harder than you. 
Let some of those old wives' tales die. 
For they're your best mate when the mobs at the gate 
and you’re faced with a darkening sky. 
Give  them love and a bed; keep them warm and well fed; 
show respect to them, give them their due. 
At the end of their days, let 'em soak up the rays; 
for they've given their best years to you. 

Here's to Sam and to Sophie, to Ralph, Red and Jodie, 
to Wally, old Buster and Nush. 
Working dogs of this land, they're the drover's right hand; 
willing workers who herd and who push 
mobs of sheep overland, whatever their brand, 
for the love of the work and of you. 
They are worth a man’s wages, dogs loyal and courageous, 
the Kelpie, the Collie, the Blue.

The poem eventually morphed into the final product - where little Nushy became Nancy in the interest of rhyming poetry


Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

A Border Collie, white and fancy, goes by the name of Nancy,she was born out on the ranges where the Iron bark thickly grows.

Her Mum 'Fiesta Jodie' came in pup to 'Princes Wally'and the pup was jokingly called Nancy of the overthrow.

The farmer  wasn't happy. It was getting close to shearing, 

his  bitch knocked up and cannot work and that's an awful blow.

He'd three thousand head to muster and despite his bluff and bluster

he relied far more on his dogs help than anyone would know.

The pup's a little beauty with bloodlines fine that do me

proud as punch. She is the smartest dog that I've seen in a while.
She is lightweight, white and fluffy, but with her I'm always happy
and her antics whilst out mustering they always make me smile.
And I sometimes rather fancy that my little bitch, my Nancy,
has been on earth before. Is another dog juxtaposed?
For she knows just what to do and there is no discussion, true it
is in her genes.  When chasing sheep, she's never indisposed.

In my wildest flights of fancy I have visions of my Nancy
working in the ring and trialling, beneath a judge’s stare.
As she gets her three sheep yarded, my directions she's discarded
for she's doing what comes naturally and works without a care.
She is a vision splendid, waving tail and gait extended,
and quickly blocks the ram and turns him,not an easy feat.
so I'm filled with admiration when she has an altercation
with a stroppy ram who thinks that she is small enough to beat.

For she stops and gives him eye, and then creeps on him kind of sly.
He stamps, he’s undecided. Should he go or should he stay?
Then with lightening quick precision not a moments indecision,
she swings on him quick and he decides he'd best be on his way.
As the stock are slowly stringing, 'cross the paddock with the ringing
of the lead sheep's bell somnolent tone on this the final push.
My life is blessed and thrilling, and sweet Nancy is so willing.
I am privileged to work alongside the Bitch from the Bush.

I oft’ take the time to ponder, as my gaze slowly wanders
'cross the paddocks that surround me, full of fine Merino sheep.
Where the air is unpolluted, without cell phones or loud music
and at night when sheer exhaustion brings to me the sweetest sleep.
It is a lucky man I am and I thank God once again
as I enjoy simple pleasures that the city folk can’t know.
Now out here on open acres with my sheep and dogs around me
I share nature’s glorious gift with Nancy of the overthrow.

Post a Comment