Laggan Poet's and Mary Gilmore Society publish a collection of Australian bush poems

POETRY IN MOTION: Laggan Bush Poet Amy Hallam reciting bush poetry at Laggan Pub. Photo: Clare McCabe.
POETRY IN MOTION: Laggan Bush Poet Amy Hallam reciting bush poetry at Laggan Pub. Photo: Clare McCabe.

Never Come Back as a Sheep is a compilation of bush poetry, written by John Bowring during his retirement in Crookwell.

The collection published by the Upper Lachlan Dame Mary Gilmore Society and Laggan Bush Poet's and Musicians and Friends, is a tribute to Mr Bowring following his his passing earlier in the year.

Mr Bowring was a long-standing member of the Laggan Bush Poet's and Musicians group, a group of local poet’s, musicians, composers and singers, who meet regularly at the iconic Laggan pub.

A recent meeting included a touching poem read by his wife Sylvia, and a tribute to Mr Bowring written by Elizabeth Egan. 

The collection includes 96 original poems, and is illustrated by local artists, including Leslie Gartrell. 

"John Bowring, as revealed in his poetry, is not only a person of intellect and passion, but also a man with a deep sense of patriotism leavened by a waggish sense of humour," said Malcolm Barlow. 

"Though quite a scholar, with a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Sydney, John's poetry shows him to be not just a keen observer of the world, but also a deep thinker,” he said.

Christopher Lee, novelist and screenwriter said "Poetry is a hard form to master, perhaps the hardest. Yet, John's command of metre, rhythm, cadence and rhyme put him amongst the leading practitioners of folk poetry today. His voice is clear, confident, ironic," he said.

A percentage of the profits will be donated to the youth in the ULS, following the wishes of Mr Bowring, this will be announced at the launch by Mayor Brian McCormack, Louise Taylor will also attend.

Never Come Back as a Sheep excerpt, by John Bowring:

Never come back as a sheep!

A dog is okay and so is a cat.

Most animals aren’t as smart as that;

A horse, or a pig, or a cuddly fruit bat,

Or even a rabbit that’s pulled from a hat,


From the very first day you’re on call

You’re fair fame for one and for all

There are itch mites to make your skin crawl, 

With lice and keds stacked wall to wall. 

So forget about Little Bo-Peep!

When finally your life is through

There's really nothing much you can do.

Border Leicester, Crossbred, ram or ewe,

You'll end up on somebody's barbecue!


A tribute to John Bowring.

A tribute to John Bowring.

Book launch, September 22, Memorial Hall, 2 - 4pm.