CLAIRE Reynolds was just six years old when she recited her first poem in public.
“It was my first year of school at Weetalibah Public,” she said.
“The poem was ‘The Bush Christening’ and just after I started I remember the audience shouting out ‘lift her up, we can’t see her’.
“Afterwards, everyone was patting my dad on the back and I thought, ‘why’s he getting all the credit, he didn’t do anything’.”
Gabby Colquhoun was 10 when she started taking a real interest in poetry.
“I wrote a poem for the Charlie Chuckles section in the Sunday paper,” she said.
“I also remember writing a poem for the school magazine about the same age; we didn’t even buy it.”
Both ladies have since become seasoned poetry performers, demonstrating their considerable abilities on stages across the region and the State.
They have again agreed to donate their talents to this year’s Bush Poetry at the Saleyards, which will be held on March 15.
The two ladies have supported the event since its inception and will be joined on stage by talented youngster Wyatt Hall as well as fellow bush balladeers Bob Bush and Peter Mace.
“It’s a great setting, outdoors with the audience enjoying wine and nibbles’,” Gabby said.
“When you’ve been doing this as long as Claire and I have you soon learn what works and what doesn’t, and this certainly works.”
Claire has recently returned from a 10-day trip to Tamworth performing as part of the Country Music Festival.
She said good bush poetry still had strong appeal.
“Good bush poetry will make you laugh, make you cry or make you think,” she said.
“I love it because it has more than a grain of truth about who we are, why we are the way we are and it’s something that you don’t find in the history books.”
Both women write their own poetry, but also enjoy learning those poems written by others.
Gabby said plenty of preparation went into a live poetry performance.
“A lot of people think because you know a poem it’s easy to stand up and recite it,” she said.
“But you do have to brush up regularly to stay in practice.
“When you do get on stage and forget a line it’s the most awful feeling in the world, but it happens to everyone.”
Bush Poetry at the Saleyards is an initiative of the Gloucester Rotary Club, supported by GACCI and doubles as a fundraiser for the residents of the Hillcrest aged care facility.
Tickets need to be purchased before the night and are on sale at the Gloucester Visitor Information Centre, Gloucester Health Foods and Gloucester Real Estate.