Friday, 9 December 2011


Poem 6 of 230:  THE PICKER

While picking onions at Echuca,
    Betimes I came across a
Man who was, he said, by trade a picker.

A compact and stocky physique had he;
    Kind he was to first-time me -
Advising, “You should pick ‘em on your knee.”

Then he told me of his long-kept plan
    Of travel, by caravan,
To pick seasoned crops, over a wide span.

But workers’ rates, I knew, were non too fair -
    Twenty dollars a tonne, there,
Was all the onion-crop owner could spare.

Though (with tally taken by some louse,
    And told to see owner or spouse),
Believe me, they lived in some kind of house.

(C) David Franks 2003