A blue is a blue cattle dog,
an Aussie breed of solid loyal
indomitable little buggers
held in great affection over
here.A Cocky is a station owner,
(Affectionatly named after the
sulfur crested cockatoo, a noisy
bird that doesnt work real hard)

Chatting with the Cocky

"You must be a city bloke," he said.
"Your smile doesn't reach your eyes,"
and there he sits on the petrol store
bench amid the dust and flies
in a singlet and an old felt hat
with a worn out blue beside.

His strong blue eyes stare out
from the tanned leather of his hide.
I stop to talk, and ponder what
to say to start a chat
t'ween a withered bush old-timer
and a roaming city chap.

My family name would fail to
ring his bells of memory
that span the local area like
a genealogy.

"Where you from?" he kindly asks
what easy answer can I give?
the many moves of childhood past
have robbed me of any sense
of personal heritage at last.

Instead we chat of mundane things
the cotton season and summers rain
in earthy terms of practical bent
and drink our drinks as men are meant
I wonder at how much he's seen
the brown of summer, springs bright green
the birth of young, the death of old
a million stories now untold
But stored within his mortal coil
and rendered hard by wily mind
sharpened by the steady grind
and polished down by livings toil.

I ask of him with strangers boldness
coupled with impatient youth
the secrets of his rural oldness
and he talks with shining eyes and
eager tongue of hunting trips with dog and gun
and early days droving on horse and under stars.

He reckons that a lot been said
and most of it he's heard
but a man is judged by actions
by his handshake and his word
And you know you own
a lot too much
if it spills outside your tent

and if ya dog
don't like a bloke
the chances are he's bent

he adds a bloke should
check his principles
before he makes a stand
and should never fail to do his bit
to give his mates a hand.

And if you mind the pennies
then you'll always have a pound.
and happiness he says boils down
to a score good mates,
and a faithful hound

And in the end be humble
for your victories mean naught
for there's always one more season
with its bushfires and its drought
so if you get too "up yourself"
your luck will sure run out

He nodded as he shook my hand
when he had said his bit
"There's always something more to learn
but that's the guts of it."

And as our chat lingers on
in memory as I ride along
I try to store his sage advice
so I may too grow old and wise.

Max 23/2/98