Ballad Of Joyce Hill

By Keith D Trestrail

To her family she was coy
but truly she would be their Joy,
a country girl from Kingaroy –
the fourth of eleven.
Over hill and range she did tramp
living in tents from camp to camp
by the glow of a railway lamp
and the stars in heaven.

Along the way past Many Peaks
swam in Splinter and Monal Creeks
where a child a gay frolic seeks
in the heat of the day.
Up on the range where it outlooks
when not tending the campsite chooks
she read in school her beloved books
dreaming of far away.

As an older girl on horseback
she’d ride for miles a dusty track
like a drover with a knapsack
where the long trail begins.
Up “dash it” early milking cows,
picking cotton and feeding sows
and shooting possums in their boughs
to sell their bounty skins.

“O someday I’ll teach school” she said
till she met Arthur Hill and wed
and bore life to her eldest, Ted,
the first of eight to come.
In Mt Morgan where miners drilled
as rains came and Trotters Creek filled
a new life on the land she’d build
and be a wife and mum.

But on their farm and dairy run
“hells bells” there was work to be done
from sunup to the setting sun
and all must do their share.
Through the Great Depression and war
a boundless faith to God she swore
and it burned in her evermore
in His heavenly care.

Her hands had many mouths to feed
and so when hungry kids did plead
she baked the bread dough that she knead
in the old woodfired stove.
And with her weary frame so sprite
late as the curlews cried at night
she read her bible with delight
as it did her behove.

In her time a digger of wells
when the winds blew in dry hot spells
and echoed the sound of train bells
up and down the railway.
A grazier, tiller, and sower,
a painter, milker, and grower,
a doer, thinker, and knower,
and a potter of clay.

To all her far flung family
a great-great-grandmother was she
and like a grandmother to me
whom I most gladly knew.
So now when I hear the tick tock
and chimes of the pendulum clock
or “tommyrot” and “poppycock”
I’m reminded of you.

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