Spreading ANZAC legend through bush poetry
A cowboy hat atop his bushy head, cigarettes and glasses in the top pockets of his farmer work shirt and a leather-bound notebook in his rucksack paint the picture of national bush poetry champion Mark ‘Bushie’ Thompson.
Poetry and writing have always been a coping mechanism for ‘Bushie’ who passed through Yarrawonga on March 31.
‘Bushie’ comes from a family of army men, having enlisted himself, however he left that life to become a swagman at the young age of 14, working as a stockman right across Australia for the past 48 years.
As an acclaimed bush poet, ‘Bushie’ has won many poetry awards across the nation and performs his work at ANZAC services, festivals and even the small-town country pub he is passing through.
“I write serious poetry,” Bushie said.
“It’s a need to get it out of my system. No-one ever taught me how to write poetry, I just found it’s a great release.
“Everyone has had struggles in their lives and from travelling the country pillar to post I have seen and experienced a lot of it, but to put the words down on paper and have something to look back on provides me and others something to look back on and see how far you’ve come.”
Being a swagman for close to 50 years with no fixed address, ‘Bushie’ did not stay in town for long but he passed on one of his proudest and most prized works to be shared in the lead-up to Anzac Day.
The date April 25 and the ANZACs hold a special place in Bushie’s heart and he is
passionate about sharing the stories of our war heroes in a raw and true blue Aussie manner.
“I wrote the April 25 poem from the stories I’ve heard from veterans at the pub or RSL after ANZAC Day services,” Bushie said.
“They aren’t usually forthcoming with the stories of war and what they experienced but get them to sit around with blokes who have been through the same events and understand
all the thoughts and feelings they have while also sipping on a beer and they will open up and you hear their raw stories.”
▯ If you would like to hear ‘Bushie’ recite the poem himself, search ‘Mark Bushie Thompson ANZAC Day’ on Youtube or visit ANZAC Day - Mark _Bushie_ Thompson - YouTube.