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Poetry Competition 2018 : and the winner is …. ‘The Old Stockman’

August 24, 2018

“Having carefully read all the poems twice, and the finalists three times, I can say that there was an excellent line-up. I found nine that I placed in the finalist category, and in the end I went with one with which many in the district would empathise. I therefore officially declare the poem “The Old Stockman,” to be the winner, and many congratulations both to the writer, and to the Dannevirke Library staff who organised this event.”

Lyn McConchie.







The Old Stockman

When age and hard work take their toll,

my time on Earth was done.

I went up to the pearly gates

with my horse and dogs and gun

to interview St Peter.

I thought that I’d apply

to manage that great station

that spreads across the sky

where the fields are green and grassy

and the cattle fat and sleek,

where the snowy fleeces fill the bale

and they work one day a week.


St Peter said, “Now tell me now,

why give the job to you?

Tell me of your experience,

the jobs that you can do.”

“Well, I’ve overlanded cattle

down the hot and dusty track.

I’ve shorn the wrinkly jumbucks

with sand upon their backs.

I’ve mustered in the Southern Alps/

I’ve fenced in Papa Blue.

I’ve done a thousand lambing beats,

and I’ve broken horses too.”


Well, I thought with my credentials

that he’d give the job to me.

But he gave it to some yobo

with a varsity degree

who wouldn’t know a heifer

from a bag of pig potatoes

and keeps his farming tally’s

on a blood calculator.

So I told St Pete “You stick your job,

I wouldn’t work for you.

I’ll go next door and see Old Nick.

He’ll give a man a go.”


Old Nick, he took one look at me

And said, “You’re just the man

to put in charge of ‘Hades Hole’

a scrub infested run,

where the hills are steep and rocky

and the rabbits breed like flies

and the lousy sheep are dying

‘neath the blazing summer sky.

No cash to fix the tractor

that’s in the shed in bits,

and the fences that were built last year

are covered by the slips.


“40 hours is what you’ll work.

You’ll do that every day.

And since the place is nearly broke,

there’s precious little pay.”

I said “Old Nick, I’ll take your job.

I’ll show you what I’m worth.

This sounds like heaven pure and sweet.

It’s just like back on Earth.”


© Trevor Tyler


When we rang to congratulate Trevor (89) he couldn’t believe that his poem won, and was very happy.  He will be receiving a $30 book voucher and ‘Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018″ in the mail soon.  Congratulations to him, and thank you to everyone who contributed to the competition this year. >Alice





From → Competitions, Events

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