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1996 Ararat - 'A Rural Woman's Time'

Digital Image - Participants at the 1996 Ararat Women on Farms Gathering

Image: Digital Image - Participants at the 1996 Ararat Women on Farms Gathering

Source: Museum Victoria

Gathering: 1996 Ararat Gathering

Author: Jan Lewis - Ararat Gathering registrant and poet. Jan was given the title 'Pop-up Poet' because she kept appearing throughout the day reading poetry. Jan is a well-known bush poet and a member of the Australian Bush Poets Association.

***

What do I do with my time???!
I wonder if you have an hour to spare?
Just sit yourself down in that chair over there.

First and foremost, there's the farm
- I have to keep the family calm.
They all count on me you see
to sew, clean and cook their tea,
wash, iron and then to bake
the ever popular scones and cake,
and that's only while I'm inside. Then
You'll find me in the cattle pen,
or you might catch me chopping wood
-and no, it doesn't do me any good
to tell them I don't use it all
and that I can't recall
the last time someone gave a hand.
Oh yes, I'm in such demand!
In the garden , or chasing sheep,
making hay or slopping deep
to my ankles in squelching mud
saving animals in the flood.

That uses up a bit of time, but hey!
I don't hang around the farm all day!
I help the oldies home alone,
and check them every day by phone.
At the school there's lots to do
- mowing, reading, spelling too
High School as well, and here's the rub
-now I'm running the parent's club,
and many other monthly meetings
where I organise the seating.
Would you believe there's forty-five
groups that keep this town alive?
Hospital, churches, footy ground
on the committee merry-go-round!
Raising funds! What a battle!
Cake stalls, fetes and constant raffles.
Working bees - each week there's one!
How do you think those things got done?

Not enough hours in the day
but I can socialise along the way.
Voluntary workers large and small
we're unthanked, unsung heroes all
but really, very few of us resent
exactly how our time is spent.

Related Stories:
Victorian Women on Farms Gathering Collection
Poetry and Song - The Victorian Women on Farms Gatherings

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