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Barb Erlandson 21st October 2013

It is wonderful where these poets bob up. I was compering the 2013 Poets Breakfast at the Highfields Pioneer Village and made a call for any walk-up poets. And Barb walked-up! She did an amazing job with this poem and took out first prize. It is from the 2000 Bronze Swagman Book of Bush Verse. Barb readily gave permission for the poem to appear here.

His Hat

I married him in Sydney
And that, I thought, was that,
But I surely didn't reckon on
His beloved old felt hat!
To me it was embarassing,
It had no shape at all,
But to him it was a symbol
Of a life beyond recall.

And many precious memories
Were locked within that hat --
It mattered not 'twas full of holes
And squashed and battered flat.
It had so many uses
In its glorious long-lived past,
'Though many of these practicals
Left this city girl aghast!

It ws great to fan the fire
Or to water his old mate,
To help him through barbed wire,
Or to slam the cattle gate.
It made a great pot-holder
When 'twas time to boil the billy,
Or to lift the radiator cap
When the grades were steep and hilly.

And no better prod the bullock had
To help him up a hump
Than a mighty slap from that old hat
On his hot and sweaty rump.
It made a good soft kneeling pad,
'Twas great to swat the flies.
It made a beaut dramatic prop
For bushman's yarns and lies.

And then, too, when 'twas needed --
At special times of course --
No better blindfold could be found
To coax a stubborn horse.
Ah yes! There was one other use
To which that hat could rise --
It was also very handy
To keep the sun out of his eyes.

(c) Barb Erlandson