The Babies of Walloon Award – Open Age Bush Poetry
by Brenda Joy
Charters Towers, Qld
If you are looking round to find some other work to do,
a job that brings rewards, renown and lots of money too,
take heed of what I'm passing on before you make a start –
don't choose the role of poet or you'll surely break your heart.
If you ignore this sound advice and want to be a bard,
forget about becoming 'bush' - it's pretty bloody hard,
with rules and regulations re the rhyme and metre stress -
try other forms where prose of nonsense seems to quite impress.
Technique is so important but the audience out there
don't get it 'cause it's subtle, and they really aren't aware
of all the hours of editing we put in to our craft -
the first creative output just becomes a working draft.
Then there is all the learning that we do behind the scene.
To be a good performer then you really must be keen
to enter an internal haze, repeating lines out loud;
preparing for a smooth rendition to appease a crowd.
Outside poetic circles, there's reluctance to accept
the long or drawn-out verse, with people wanting to be kept
amused by funny anecdotes or mainly comic rhyme -
risque and toilet humour gets them going ev'ry time.
So if you have a yen to be a deep and sombre bard,
again I'll warn you from the start, that path's espec'lIy hard.
A prelude to a barbeque is what we have to be,
or supplement to tea and scones - as long as they are free.
Now even great comedians who cause the laughs to flow
can find that once the food appears the crowd is keen to go.
And you'll be up against the fact that most prefer a song
with simple little melody so they can sing-along -
like something from the USA that they already know
through hearing it repeatedly on country radio.
So give a cheerful upbeat tune - they'll surely show it glee –
but never try to reach to them with thoughtful poetry.
Unlike the singers we're not blessed with music's sound effects.
We rarely have a microphone, yet everyone expects
we should perform for hours on end and never lose a word.
We have to work from memory, and if they spot they've heard
a poem on the night before we happen to repeat,
they think that they've been taken down, and treat us like a cheat –
which gives them such a great excuse to disregard 'the hat',
our one and only income source. And whilst we speak of that ...
... a foremost poet who commands a very handsome fee
for concert hall performances - and all of us agree
that he is worth the price; he puts on such a bonzer show -
can find in tourist parks when hat goes round to get some dough,
he might just get a golden coin or silver weigh-me-downs.
But when it comes to giving notes, well then he gets the clowns
who'll reach into the hat and claim four dollars change from five –
his takings from donations wouldn't keep an ant alive.
So once again I'm warning you - don't start to play this game.
It will not bring you fortune's smile; it will not bring you fame.
And there's a greater problem 'cause as soon as you get hooked
on writing or performing, then your goose is really cooked,
as all the words that you must scribe and shows that you must do
will keep you restless night on night with planning and review –
for there is no escaping, once the Muse your life she rules,
you're destined for addiction - like the rest of us poor fools.