Thursday, June 20, 2013



   AUSTRALIAN  BUSH BALLADS FROM       DOWN UNDER    
COPYRIGHT R.J.Warren2003-2012


                                                         Introduction
The poems of Author and Historian Raymond J Warren have been laid down more for their history and general twentieth century lifestyle rather than as poems as such. They are a reminder of the days when the world was a much calmer and happier place. His poems have been arranged in sections so that one can easily follow and understand the theme. The Aussie Dawn speaks for itself, whilst Settled in History and the Indigenous Side of Life are as their names suggest both being history based.The Author is still working on his poetic abilities and believes that although he lacks in the romantic area, he does make up for it wherever history raises it's head. He is a self-published historian from Queensland and his history making book [see below] is gathering momentum in all parts of the world. He would also like to welcome readers from the USA, Europe, England and the Continent and hopes that his Australian-isms are not too hard to follow. 

With his own years adding up he has added "IN PASSING" to the posts as it reflects the feelings had when one loses a pet or loved one. The final post is "SONGS OF THE ISLANDS" which covers his several years in Papua New Guinea and his visits to the Coral Sea and the Torres Strait. If any reader has a question for the Author, he is always contactable on his email at ray.j.warren@hotmail.com. He also invites members and/or comments from those who might be enjoying this Blog. If any reader has an update on any subject on this Blog please let the Author know and he will credit the supplier with any such change.

I HAVE SELECTED A POEM BY THAT NOTED EARLY AUSTRALIAN POET HENRY KENDALL, FROM WHOM I GATHERED THE COURAGE TO WRITE BALLADS, POEMS AND THE HISTORIES THAT HAVE BECOME PART OF MY LIFE FOREVER. "OH THAT I COULD CONVEY THE FEELINGS OF THE AUSTRALIAN BUSH HALF AS WELL AS HE".

THE LAST OF HIS TRIBE

He crouches, and buries his face on his knees,
And hides in the dark of his hair;
For he cannot look up to the storm-smitten trees,
Or think of the loneliness there -
Of the loss and the loneliness there.


The wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass,
And turn to their coverts for fear;
But he sits in the ashes and lets them pass
Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear -
With the nullah, the sling and the spear.

Uloola, behold him! The thunder that breaks

On the tops of the rocks with the rain,
And the wind which drives up with the salt of the lakes,
Have made him a hunter again -
A hunter and fisher again.


For his eyes have been full with a smouldering thought;
But he dreams of the hunts of yore,
And of foes that he sought, and of fights that he fought
With those who will battle no more -
Who will go to the battle no more.

It is well that the water which tumbles and fills

Goes moaning and moaning along;
For an echo rolls out from the sides of the hills,
And he starts at a wonderful song -

At the sound of a wonderful song.

And he sees through the rents of the scattering fogs

The corroboree warlike and grim,
And the lubra who sat by the fire on the logs,
To watch, like a mourner, for him -
Like a mother and mourner for him.

Will he go in his sleep from these desolate lands,

Like a chief, to the rest of his race,
With the honey-voiced woman who beckons and stands,
And gleams like a dream in his face -

Like a marvelous dream in his face.

  Henry Kendell


                                       

Wildflower: The Barbara Crawford Thompson Story
Copyright Raymond J Warren 2012

CONTENTS 

IN THE BEGINNING
Page and Poem 
#1 An Aussie Dawning
#2 Windows of Life
#3 Remember that first Memory 

SETTLED IN HISTORY
#4 Cobb and the Bushranger
#5 Six White Horses
#6 A dried up old Gum Tree at Cooktown
#7 Sturt’s Desert Pea
#8 The Bushman
#9 Mary Wharf 

THE INDIGENOUS SIDE OF LIFE
 #10 Toby
#11 Lizzie’s Lookout
t#12 The Leap
#13 The Rock 

AT HOME ON THE RANGE
#14 Summer Rain
#15 The Jackaroo
#16 Song of the Homesteader
#17 High Mountain Drifter
#18 Song of the Shearer 

AROUND BROKEN HILL
#19 Terror at Broken Hill
#20 Freddie and the Snake
#21 The Milk Round
#22 The Ghost Gum Tree
#23 The Bar at Old Mount Gipps

FAMILY SENTIMENTAL 
#24 Our Broken Hill
#25 72 Wyman Street, West Broken Hill
#26 Tibby
#27 Billy and the old man
#28 Billie [the Goat] 
#29 The Dump
#30 Eyes Wide in Fright 
#31That Little Son of Mine
#32 I don’t want to wash the dishes Mum 

ABSTRACT
#33 Just a Thought
#34 It’s a Woman’s World
#35 Toffee Apples and Fairy Floss 
#36 If I were a Love Bird 

GO WEST YOUNG MAN 
#37 The Nullabor Nymph
#38 The Jetty at Bussleton

 A DAY AT THE RACES
#39 A Nation cheered for Phar Lap
#40 Reckless
#41 The Melbourne Cup 

ALL AT SEA
#42 Kelly and the Octopus 
#43 If I were an Ocean Ship
#44 Kelly and his Crays
#45 The Last Dive 

THE FUNNY SIDE OF LIFE
#46 My Second Cigarette
#47 When that old age comes a' marching up on you
#48 High School Bully
#49 The Hearing Aid
#50 False Teeth
#51 Step in Underpants
#52 The old man’s Computer
  
NATURAL DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES
 #53 For we are Aussies and we Care
#54 The Silence of Two Hundred#56 Sam
#55 The Terrible Shade of the old Ghost Gum Tree 

THE FORCES
 #56 Twelve Miles from Amiens
#57 Kapooka March Past
#58 A Soldier Passing 
#59 Can I have my Boy Back
#60 As I Stand Here Beside You
#61 Down among the rubber in the rain


IN PASSING 
#62 Dear Mum
#63 Let me sit down here beside you
#64 Can I come Too
#65 That old Tin Cup 

SONGS OF THE ISLANDS
#66 Wildflower
#67 The Drummer of Mer
#68 A Piccaninny Crying
#69 Stand Silent Saibai
#70 Madang down by the sea
#71 Rabaul Rabaul Rabau
#72 Grey Powder Sand
#73 Nuego#73 Kowat Bee
#74 The Gawi
#75 Give me Moa
#76 Only in Her Memories 

FINALE OR FINALLY
#77 The Aussie Sundown 

                               IN THE BEGINNING 

AN AUSSIE DAWNING 
[2003] #1

On dark and still horizon, the first gray wisp of dawn,
Muffled chirps and flutters herald the coming morn.
A smudge of pink and orange, on heaven’s pallet high,
Darkness seeping slow away, from canvas in the sky

Silhouettes hang somber, in eerie predawn hush,
Hues of purple, pink and gold from east horizon gush.
All is tense no breath of wind, then another chirp and twitter,
As diamonds sprinkled ‘cross the sky, lose their brilliant glitter.

Movement out upon the plain, a dark and shapeless form,
While dawn continues steady, her rainbow color’s born.
Rays of gold and orange, transfix the scattered clouds,
Calling birds unite in song and night is overpowered.

The golden rays of Sol, revealeth cattle on the plain,
As pigments sweep across the sky, like some unearthly rain. 
A universal marvel, this wondrous colored dawn,
Presented there for all to see, every Aussie morn.

WINDOWS OF LIFE 
[2001] #2 

From darkness springs bursting bright,
A new life formed, in dawning light.
There a window opens wide
A newborn now has moved outside.

Starry nights and mystic moons,
Days that rush by all too soon
Visions ebb and flow in tides,
There a second window bides.

Adolescence done and gone,
Soon the year is twenty-one.
Desire calls at window three,
And lovers kiss there tenderly.

Time adheres to Physic law,
Rushing fast to window four.
Couples merged are there to see,
The parent year of twenty-three

Quickly are five windows gone, time becomes a race,
The schools, the prom's as life rolls on, at a frantic pace.
Hair receding changing hue, midlife has arrived,
Age has crept in from the blue, the year is forty-five.

A generation moving on, searching ere for more,
Tired aching bones, are worn down to the core.
Body bending ere so slight, a toll of time and tide,
At window six a soul looks back and the year is sixty-five.

Slower are the movements now; at window number seven,
Visions there of wonders past, ‘prepare ye for thy heaven’.
A final window opens wide for all to travel through,
A soul has crossed at eighty-five to bide a window new.

REMEMBER THAT FIRST MEMORY?   
[2003]  #3

Remember that first memory, one thousand years ago,
Maybe your first day at school, where you didn’t want to go
Or was it in the food you ate, something that you liked,
Could it have been that bumpy ride, upon a three-wheel bike?

Was it in the garden, where mud pies were the rage?
Or that ever-talking cockatoo, in its giant cage
Was it when that doggie wog, ate your ice cream up,
Standing like some furry giant, when in fact it was a pup?

Was it something special, like being tucked in bed at night?
Or down beside the seaside, with the sun all shiny bright?
Well no matter what your memory, treasure it with pride,
For none can tell if memories are on the other side. 

SETTLING HISTORY 

COBB AND THE BUSHRANGER 
[2000] #4 

Stock whip crack, rattling tracks of Cobb’s old battered stage,
Breaks the bush land silence, on rush through dusty haze.
O’er the red clay plains they run, through the Mulga scrub,
While dusty throats are thirsting for the Way Station pub

Slow then up an incline, the horses to a walk.
Time enough to shake the dust and settle for a talk.
The driver reaches down and grabs his old tin cup,
Then almost near the top a yell, ‘Bail up now, bail up!’

The horses stand and tremble, their withers dripping sweat,
The driver pulls the hand break on, his hands a sudden wet.
Then all at once they see him there, a devil ‘stride his horse,
Ten feet tall and half as broad, with two big guns of course.

He orders them to drop their cash, down into his hat,
Then curses the coach driver and tells him he’s too fat.
When all are well shaken down, he sends them on their way,
And rides off into silence, ‘cross-dusty pans of clay.

He squats beneath a ghostly gum, to boil up his tea,
And flicks away a bush fly, that settles on his knee.
He listens to the loneliness, surrounding him out there,
While pensively he sips his tea, a dingo in his lair

He knows one day the law will come, to put out all his lights,
And somewhere out there in the scrub, he’ll fall in his last fight.
The sweat the dust his wild lust, for riches still unseen,
Cobb and the Bush Ranger, in histories page a dream.

SIX WHITE HORSES
#5 [December, 2005]

Six white steeds standing, in the shade of a gum tree,
The horses fine awaiting to become one company.
Cobb’s Stage has arrived they'll change the horses there,
Soon they’ll settle in the rig, side by side each pair.

The coach came out from Townsville, headed for the mine,
Hauling mail and passengers along that old cut line.
The six white horses pulling are all from Entriken,
They’ll stop at Julia Creek awhile and then be off again.

Cobb and Co had captured, the wide Australian bush,
And taken to the inland as westward ho they pushed.
They had held the reins and for years they led the way.
Till Watt’s little invention, came along one day

Two steel tracks they laid there, beside Cobb’s old way,
Sitting on wooden beams, what now would Cobb say?
And what ere will happen, to the Way stations there?
And to those six white horses, does anybody care?

Six white steeds a’ standing, in the shade of a gum tree,
The horses fine awaiting to become one company.
Cobb’s Stage has arrived and they’ll change the horses there,
In portrait now they stand there, side by side each pair.

A DRIED UP OLD GUM TREE AT COOKTOWN
#6 [January, 2006] 

On a dried up old gum tree at Cooktown,
A plaque there simply had read.
Cook and his ship the ‘Endeavour’,
 Took a rest by this old tree, now dead’. 

Endeavour’ had holed on the Barrier Reef,
She almost stove in her side.
So to fix her, Cook drove ‘Endeavour’ ashore,
Where she sat for a while, high and dry.

Cook tied his ship to that gum tree,
And mended the hole she had got.
Then he sailed away from that gum tree,
A tree that he quickly forgot

Well tree just stood there and lived on,
Long after Cook made a meal.
There on the beach at Hawaii,
But the tree didn’t know nor could feel.

Her branches with age they trembled,
They broke and soon fell away,
Her body grew old and it crumbled,
Till nothing survives there today
 
So they came and laid a new plaque,
One that would show where she’d been,
That dried up old gum tree at Cooktown,
Where Cook had ‘Endeavour’ careened. 

STURT’S DESERT PEA
#7 [January 2007] 

In all the years of man, the bards have penned with power,
About the birds and the bees and of course the flower.
Of Roses and the Orchids. of flamboyance they could see,
But no poet ever wrote a word, ‘bout Sturt’s Desert Pea.

She does not stand up tall nor does she hang around,
In fact she always keeps herself, right close to the ground.
Just why she was forgotten, is very hard to see,
For red and black and beautiful is Sturt’s Desert Pea.

Sometimes her dress is different, in color moonish white,
With pinkish bow tie beckoning, to all the bees in flight
Amidst the brown of desert dun, she bares her red or white,
A gift sent from heaven above, is this lovely desert sight.

She keeps her well always full, topped with nature’s juice,
To spread her seed around, her runners running loose.
Life is hard for her out there, in that dry sandy sea,
Where none can hold a candle to; Sturt’s Desert Pea

THE BUSHMAN
#8 [January 2006]

Awake the Bushman rises, bleary from his swag,
In chill of autumn’s dawn, he lights the day’s first fag.
Billie on, the crackle, of burning Red Gum bark,
Turns his thought’s to life and had he made his mark?

Flies have started buzzing, rotating round his face,
They await the bushman’s sweat, and it’s salty taste.
He lifts his Billie from the fire and laces it with tea,
And stabs a chunk of bread with wire fork.

Bread toasted brown, he melts some treacle in,
Then hammers back the lid, on that old green treacle tin.
The smell of burning gum leaves, a pleasure to his nose,
Treacle toast is tasty sweet, but sticky on his clothes.

He sips his mug of tea, in the early morning breeze,
And watches his blue heeler, as it entertains the fleas.
Time to harness up the horse, to his battered dray,
To travel onward through his life, it’s the only way.

He always slept in the cart, when his woman was alive,
But he hasn’t slept there since, the night that she died.
Dog walks underneath, as they slowly move away,
The only place with moving shade is underneath that dray.

The Bushman hopes his dying, will come in one big storm,
As nature puts on her show and shows her good form.
And they will find his wagon parked amid the sodden trees,
Dog and horse his mourners, they’re all that’s left to grieve.

MARY WHARF
#9 [December, 2005]

Twas on the Mary river, very very long ago,
They lay a wharf ‘side water, ever running slow.
Built for Blackbirder’s and the tall ships too,
Near the town of Maryborough, while it was new.

Ships came from everywhere, even o’er the foam,
Settlers and farmers, to build for them a home.
Then came that fateful day, back in 1893,
Flood silted o’er the wharf, on the River Mary.

Underneath tons of silt, she rested silently,
Nothing more to do there, nothing more to see.
Almost a century had drifted by, it seemed,
When one digging in the dirt, found a wooden beam.

Well the Wharf saw the light of day, though never as before,
Too much silt had buried her, beneath that river shore.
But now she sees the sunlight and blue skies there of course,
And children of her children, who first walked on Mary Wharf

THE INDIGENOUS CORNER

TOBY 
[2001] #10

He stands proud and haughty, a sentinel of the land,
A wild ebony silhouette, with Woomera in his hand
Right dusty foot is rested, placed hard against left knee,
Old Toby from the deep bush, far from mount or sea.

The spirit of his youth is lost, for gray has tinged the black,
White spirits came to spurn him, they don’t want him back.
But Toby found a crossroad, to build once more his den,
A young gin there to care for him, just like a mother hen.

They camped down by the coach road, their hunger to appease,
The spirits laughed and tittered, at black Adam and his Eve,
The novelty replaced by hate, then bellies start to grieve,
But Toby is too old and tired to take his gin and leave

A frumpy high strung landsman's wife, complains then bitterly,
Of naked natives on the road, begging flour, sweet and tea
Ne’er before a worry but ‘tis then the lies were told,
To have old Toby dragged away and thrown in the hold.

The Sergeant and his constable rode out to bring him in,
To take old Toby’s freedom and keep him from his gin
Toby waited by the road, no shirt upon his back
Haughty and alone he stood, that wizened old black.

The policemen crept up silently, for Toby things looked dire,
But the old man ever was alert and waited quiet by his fire.
The young cop jumped at Toby to catch him off his guard,
Nulla flew from toes to hand, the old black thumped him hard,

The Constable lay dying, his skull cracked like an egg,
The Sergeant fired off a shot and hit Toby in the leg.
Toby threw his war club, with the strength of one too old,
He bounced it off the horse’s flank, then Toby’s blood ran cold,
For the Sergeant rode right at him, till scarce a yard between,

And sent a lead ball through his eye, the gin let out a scream.
Old Toby just before he fell rose up to his full height,
The end came for the ancient ones, at Toby’s final fight.
[Woomera/spear thrower. Nulla/War club

LIZZIE’S LOOKOUT
#11 [January, 2006]

Ten miles from old Cockburn, near the western border,
Where the Barrier Range wanders, in no particular order.
There stands a rocky outcrop, that overlooks the plains,
Wind blown o’er millennia, lashed by drought’s end rains.

With the coming of the white man, the native children lost,
What little good there was for them, at an awful cost.
But one found her true love, among the spirits there,
Tall, strong and mounted, upon his Arab mare

He named that girl Lizzie, because of how she ran,
Slim and fast she really was, with dilly bag in hand.
Shyly she would look at him, eyes flashing all the while,
A smile showed her teeth of white and her girlish guile.

Lizzie took to following him, all around the range,
Her love so strongly felt, that naught could ever change.
While he worked in his mine, she’d wait beneath a tree,
Until he came to sit with her, her love now he could see.

Every year he’d take a trip, to the big ‘Smoke’ for a time,
A month would pass then he’d return, again to his mine.
Lizzie kept a lookout, a watch from rocky tor,
Longing, waiting his return, loyal to the core.

One day as she waited, she began a native wail,
Tears filled her loving eyes, her face though black was pale. 
Twas beyond her reason, her feelings must be wrong,
Something very primitive brought out a sad death song.

They brought the news a fortnight on, her loving man had died,
His horse had stepped in a hole, as homeward he did ride.
But Lizzie sat upon that tor, hard rocking to and fro,
And every year on that day, she wailed for her beau.

One dark and sullen morn, as if by unknown fate ,
On her rocky outcrop, Lizzie went to join her mate.
But in that lonely bush land, all believe her will,
Has kept her soul waiting and she is watching still.

THE LEAP
#12 [January, 2006]

Not too far from Seaforth, where the ocean breezes blow,
They chased a native girl with child, many years ago.
She did not trust the white men; of ghosts she was a’feared,
And she ran like an Emu, when whites on horseback neared.

At first she tried with all her guile, to hide among the trees,
She feared horse and rider, why can’t they leave her be?
Driven up a stony hill, with spirits close behind,
Struggling with babe in arms, she made that fateful climb.

She yelled at them to cease, to leave and go away,
They didn’t understand her, for nothing would they say.
Laughter echoed up the hill, ‘twas centred on her fear,
Till she stood atop the cliff, the end was awful near.

The spirits called out to her, in words she did not know,
Perhaps they were a’telling her, no closer should she go.
Tears rolled down her velvet cheeks and as there she did weep,
She looked back for her people gone, before she took 
The Leap’ 
Spirits” [white people] 

THE ROCK
[2001] #13

Rising like a great mud pie from central desert plains,
Speckled, like an old red hen streaked with ancient rains.
Surrounded there by spinifex, tanned well by the sun,
Stands a rock called Uluru, by indigenous ones.

Long before the whites there came, its name was Uluru,
And spirits whisper in the wind that the name was true.
But then a ghost fought the bush, to blaze a trail wide,
To stand beneath that giant rock where mighty eagles glide.

He gamely stood in silent awe, for nothing could he say,
The giant rock just sat there, where wild dingoes play.
Yes, those who call it Uluru are right in history’s clock,
But to me that giant monolith will always be Ayers Rock.  

THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BUSH 

SUMMER RAINS. [2000] #14

O’er the wide frontier plains the breeze is blowing high,
Thunderheads are massing, to fill the summer sky.
The aroma of wet grasses adds sweetness to the air.
Not long before the rains arrive, for all a-thirsting there.

The rumble of the thunder and lightning flashing blue,
Heavy rain crashing down, with mournful wind on cue
From the hills tiny streams rush into dry creek beds.
And wash away in torrents, all things that there lay dead

As evening turns to night it seems, the rain will never end.
The sky alight and burning, dimensions seem to blend,
Waters flowing violent, winds cease then start anew.
In lightning flash trees sparkle, like diamonds with the dew

Creeks turn into rivers, now rising fast to flood,
Swelling into arteries, engorged with earth’s life-blood.
Then all at once ‘tis over, with morning comes the sun.
To warm the earth once again, where ‘thy will be done’.

The heat of summer has returned, to focus on the earth,
And all that ever grows there, will surely now give birth.
For precious life will be renewed and all upon the plains
Evermore will welcome, the vibrant summer rains.

THE JACKAROO 
[2001] #15

Aside a fence across the flat, a Jackaroo comes riding,
He sits astride a horse of gray that homeward he is guiding.
Shoulders hunched and collar high; his hat way down low,
Aromas on a rain soaked breeze, ‘tis heading for a blow.

He stops and ties his tired mare and loops a broken wire,
He strains it taut then on again, for boundary shack and fire.
With jacket tight pulled round him, down then comes the hail,
Sheep yard out there on the right, he can barely see the rail,

The mare, her ears toward the ground, her breath a misty fog,
Somewhere ahead the shack, was that the bark of dog?
Then suddenly a flash of light and from a mighty tree,
Giant limbs come crashing down and cowering cattle flee,

Finally the warmth, of rubdown rug and stable,
The Jackaroo by fire sits, his tea upon the table.
On wild, dark and stormy nights, when the lightning cracks, 
Tis a measure of a stockman’s heart in the emptiness outback
Jackaroo =cowboy or stockman

 SONG OF THE HOMESTEADER
 [A Chimney and a Door [1974] #16 

By that broken rusted old gate, he stands there alone.
He gazes at the country that once had been his home.
Sad and lonely feelings are hard now to ignore,
For all that’s left of the homestead, is a chimney and a door.

Yes all that’s left of the homestead is a chimney and a door,
The walls have all fallen down; the windmill turns no more,
Sun beats down upon the land, baking hard and dry,
Only Mulga lives there now, there’s nowt else left to die.

Shearing shed still stands there, though gone its grating floor.
Cookhouse is just jumbled tin; the range won’t cook no more.
Termites took the sheep yard fence, many years ago.
And only dust lies in the trough, where water used to flow.

Bits of wool and wire hang in the old wool shed,
The rafters and the windows are twined with spider web.
A faded torn old lounge chair, beneath the pepper tree,
Children's voices echo there, yet not one can he see,

None work the land now, for drought has had its way
The old place just gets dustier, with every passing day.
Rusted, broken fencing wire and worn out dried up bore,
All that’s left of the homestead is a chimney and a door.

Yes all that’s left of the homestead is a chimney and a door,
The walls have all fallen down; the windmill turns no more,
Sun beats down upon the land, baking hard and dry,
Only Mulga lives there now, beneath that cloudless sky.

High Mountain Drifter
#17 December 2005

High up in the ranges, where the winters are white,
And the horsemen were the best in days gone by.
Where the only use for engines, was to turn on the light,
Before that, big old candles you could buy.

A big snow was a’ coming but work was still around,
Oilskins keep ‘em dry, when sleet is coming down.
Time to bring the cattle in, there’s a chill in the air
Drive ‘em to the winter grass, its better way down there.

There’s a tale ‘bout a drifter, a yarn we all thought strange,
Of how a sudden blizzard caught him high up on the range
The cattle were well spread and he’d tried do his job,
But in the mist he disappeared, while hunting down that mob.

The snow came in strong that year the cold it was intense,
For someone to be out in it, made very little sense
The drifter went missing, the cattle though came down,
Riders went to look for him but the drifter wasn’t found.

Many long months later, they found him there one day,
Tucked up in his oilskins, his hat down all the way.
Sitting on that mountain, his dead horse lay beside,
The high mountain drifter had frozen there and died.

Now they say on misty winters eve, when snow is on the ground,
A shadowy figure rides up there, through mist without a sound
And ghostly cattle follow him, down that mountainside,
Now and forevermore, the drifter on his ride.

Yes high up in the ranges, where the winters are white,
And the horsemen were the best in days gone by.
Where the only use for engines, was to turn on the light,
Before that big old candles you could buy.

SONG OF THE SHEARER
#18 [1976] 

Twas growing near to dark, a station sheep dog barked,
As we turned in off the road,
Down that dusty track to the Shearer’s shack,
Past the squatter’s proud abode.

I can see a windmill turning in the early evening breeze.
Birds down at the water trough, beneath the ghost gum trees.
The sundown turns the sky deep red across the open plain,
Stock horses graze way out there; It’s shearing time again.

As daytime turns to night and crickets start to sing,
Dingoes try to harmonize, as night birds take to wing.
Over at the woodshed yard a hungry lambkin's bleat,
Answered by worried calls, from a hundred unshorn sheep.

The Southern Cross will shine, high above tonight,
The Big Dipper in the east will soon be sparkling bright.
The evening breeze will cool us, ready for the morn,
And the day will start again for us, not long after dawn.

I can see a windmill turning, in the early evening breeze,
Birds down at the water trough, beneath the ghost gum trees.
The sundown turns the sky deep red, across the open plain
Stock horses graze way out there its shearing time again.
[Squatter = Farmer or landowner]

AROUND BROKEN HILL

TERROR AT BROKEN HILL 
#19 [2001] 

Twas the 1914 Great War, when two men of Pakistan
Used almighty Islam, as only crazed fanatics can.
Declaring war they headed bush, to fight as enemy,
They went their way with tucker box and Martini Henry

A mad attack at Rocky Hill, an old man raised from bed,
Without an ounce of warning, they quickly shot him dead.
They stole his shovel and a pick to make a dugout there.
To wait upon the soldiers, to fight them from that lair

But the army men did not come, for none knew of their deeds,
Nothing moved way out there, ‘cept lonely tumbleweeds.
They founded then a new camp, down by the railroad line,
And fired on a picnic train, full of families from the mine.

The train was only open trucks, where many women sat,
On which these rebels, fierce and bold, bravely fired at.
Bullets smashed the ladies down, smiting children too,
The butcher and the ice cream man, a crazed unholy crew

Morning brought the searchers, seeking their revenge,
To follow on the rebels trail, to see where it would end.
The pack of angry fighting men, found them hunkered down,
Amid white quartz that hid them there, on the edge of town

With bullets whining all around, fired from a pub,
Townsmen shot at rebels two, hiding in the scrub.
War was ne’er before declared, well not on Aussie soil,
But two had put a billy on, that brought men to the boil.

When the shooting died away, the townsmen went to see,
The rebels two, among the rocks, martyrs ne’er to be.
The townsmen in their anger, remember with a will,
When terror in Australia, was first at Broken Hill.

FREDDY AND THE SNAKE 
[2001] #20 [

Freddie was a scrubber a bushman through and through,
His home was just a humpy as was his dunny too.
His eyes were dark as night, his beard mottled black,
With chestnut horse and dray, he roamed the great outback.

Now Freddie loved to hunt and fish, for Freddie was no dill,
But he’d end up at at the local, out at Broken Hill.
In all his years of fifty-five, he scarcely had a cough,
One black look from neath his hat’d frighten sickness off.

But Freddie loved daring fate; he liked to act the tough,
He bonded with a Brown snake, its scales big and rough.
Every night with sugar bag, the King asleep within,
He’d head down to the local, for a tonic topped with gin.

Freddie’d toss the snake and bag, careless on the bar,
And wait for some fool joker, to make him out a star.
As soon as he was asked, he’d open up the bag,
And tip that ugly reptile out and drinker’s jaws would sag.

How many times that ugly snake slithered round the floor,
With grown men bar jumping, or heading for the door
Some thought Freddie funny but others thought him mad,
But everybody bought him beer, to keep snake in its bag.

One night Freddie drank too much and headed for his home,
He lay down on his ragged bed as usual, all alone.
Just before he went to sleep, he thought he’d check his pet,
He reached into the sugar bag; his finger came back wet.

But Freddie didn’t worry; he put the snake away,
Then staggered over to his bed, a wool bale filled with hay.
Freddie then quick fell asleep, nevermore to wake,
He passed away late that night, his life lost to the snake.
[Dunny =toilet]

THE MILK ROUND 
[2001] #21

Freddie and Teddy, were best mates and loved a drink as well,
Freddie owned a milk round, with horse and cart and bell.
Both got drunk, one summers day and as the sun went down,
Teddy was there to lend a hand, on Freddie’s night milk round.

Things were going great that eve, for they were on a roll,
Freddie drove the horse and cart, though booze took its toll.
Freddie soon fell asleep but the old horse knew the way,
Till Teddy tried a short cut, to shorten up their day,

He drove the whole caboodle, ‘cross an old lady’s yard,
He didn’t see her washing hitch, onto the carts mudguard.
The wind had got her singlet, wrapped tight around the line,
The pegs no longer held it there; it was twisted like a vine.

The horse a’ sudden could not move and Teddy knew not why,
He hit he horse a good one with the reins to make him try.
Then began a tug of war that went on for some time,
The horse at first seemed to win but so then did the line,

Teddy would not let up; he thrashed that poor old horse,
Still the singlet would not budge, nor would the line of course.
Horse heaved strongly in the straps, straining forward hard,
But the tired horse had met its match, in that old lady’s yard

Well Teddy finally got it loose, by backing up the cart,
And then continued on his way, feeling rather smart.
Yet Teddy could not reason, how anyone could wear,
A singlet much longer than a dress, even for a dare

THE GHOST GUM TREE 
[2001] #22 

No greater can a symbol be,
To represent a land that’s free.
An emblem to the world a key,
Australia’s grand old ghost gum tree

 She wears her coat of ghostly white,
 Shining bright on moonlit night.
Tinged for strength with steely gray,
She shares her shade each sunny day.

An icon ere, for all will be,
The great Australian ghost gum tree
Her towering strength proud and bold,
An awesome vision to behold

She stands for power hard there won
Beneath Australia’s desert sun
In forests and on mountains free,
Australia’s grand old ghost gum tree.

PETS AND FAMILY SENTIMENTAL

OUR BROKEN HILL
#23 [August, 2005]

Rising from the ranges and reaching for the sky,
Black Hill towers o’er the town, watching time pass by.
Mining men have disappeared, their pockets empty now,
The Pubs have all gone quiet; no drinkers left no how.

The stealthy of old Crystal lane, no longer linger there,
The Palais and the dancers too, the ‘Hill’ is looking bare.
Where are all the Pipe Bands, they weren’t all that bad,
Rotunda’s are all empty no social times are had.

Mahonie’s Dam has dried up, no rain for quite a while.
Post Office Clock has stopped, it’s time to fix the dial
Out at the nine-mile, along that well-worn track,
Memories of the picnics in the creek sand there out back.

The days of hunting, roo’s for meat, are almost gone they say,
With the rabbit burrows empty now; no kittens there will play.
The Pinnacles still stand there, twelve miles down the track,
They point the way to Adelaide and also the way back.

The Rocky Hill stone slip-slide and the way it wore our pants,
And Kangaroo’s in Argent Street got rare a second glance.
Old Moota Thompson's Piggery and Sheriff Jack as well,
All are fleeting memories, for old grandfather’s to tell.

The Hill has gone all Artsy, with Pro and Jack and Co,
New chums live there now and think they’re ‘in the know’.
But even they can’t change the town, history lives there still,
West, North, South and Railwaytown, that’s our Broken Hill.

SEVENTY TWO WYMAN STREET
#24 [2005]

Although my memory’s fading, with every passing year,
I still remember my old home, although no longer near.
At the edge of bush land, where childhood had its fill,
At Seventy Two Wyman Street, West Broken Hill

What wonders we grew up with, what pleasures we all had,
Playing soldiers in the backyard, shooting popguns at our dad,
The giant gum trees standing tall, a shade for Robin Hood,
I’d like to travel time to there, if only that I could.

A giant wall six feet high, traversed our acre round,
From its mighty ramparts, we protected there our ground.
Hopalong and the Ringo Kid and there of course, was me,
Shooting at an enemy, that only we could see.

There it is our tennis court, at first that was its use,
Time went by and other sports caused it much abuse.
Can’t forget the old car tyres, from which we made our forts,
We looked like unwrapped lollies, like licorice allsorts.

The wonders of mums cooking, her scintillating voice,
Singing as she washed our clothes and hung them on the hoist.
Christmas times were loads of fun as was our Easter fill,
At Seventy Two Wyman Street, West Broken Hill

TIBBY 
[2001] #25

She wasn’t very pretty, thin nor was she fat,
Tibby wasn’t human for Tibby was our cat.
Tabby gray and ears of white, not special to the eye,
But Tibby had a certain charm, hidden in her cry.

She came to us a kitten, so we’d love and nurture her,
To cuddle her at moulting-time while she covered us with fur
And whenever she had kittens, she’d proudly show them round,
And sit there purring loudly, like a spring all come unwound.

Yet somehow she was so much more, than only ‘just a cat’,
She seemed to know of danger and where it ‘all was at’.
 When a baby sought to play, with King brown snake one day,
Tibby jumped between them and slapped that snake away.

She was always there around us, when we were little kids,
Trying to protect us, no matter what we did.
Even if we walked for miles, she’d always tag along,
Keeping her cat’s eye on us, lest something might go wrong.

Came the day our house burnt down, with Tibby caught inside,
Four white kittens in a basket, our Tibby’s little pride.
A fireman told the story then, of how he came to see,
This cat dragging a basket, as from the flames it tried to flee.

She almost had them out the door, then as he reached for them,
The kittens jumped and ran inside, ne’er to be seen again.
Tibby was badly singed, with all her whiskers gone,
She sang there for her kittens, a mournful cat death song.

Twas three days later that we found her, crying in the night,
Mee-owling for her kittens a sad and sorry sight.
In our arms we comfort her and all were crowded round,
Crying done, the purrs begin, her human kits she’d found,

When Tibby passed years later, we found her neath the bath,
Where she’d gone to cool herself, while she breathed her last.To us she was the bravest one and when she finally fell,
We all cried when she died, Mum and Dad as well. 

BILLY AND THE OLD MAN 
 [2001] #26 

Billy was a hound dog, made up of many bits,Collie, Greyhound, Shepherd and perhaps a little Spitz
Billy was a chaser; he loved a tennis ball,
He’d run and jump all day long and never tire at all.

The old man loved to play, while sitting neath our tree,
 He’d give a call and toss the ball and Billy’d bark with glee.
They’d play out there for hours, he laughing all the while,
And even Billy seemed to have a happy doggy smile.

But dad had a mean streak, which sometimes reared its head,
He’d throw the ball with gusto, into the prickle beds.
Three-corner jacks are nasty types that go a long way in,
And when the old man threw it there, he knew it was a sin,

The way that Billy handled it, made him laugh the more,
Billy’d still chase the ball although his feet got sore.
Billy’d pluck those prickles out, with naught but his teeth,
Squatting there, feet in the air, the tennis ball beneath.

Then there was the beehive, a really nasty place,
Even we’d not go there, we gave the bees their space.
But Billy took the dare on, no matter if they sting,
Till on the ball one rested, that nasty little thing.

The old man almost had a fit; he nearly burst a lung,
With poor old Billy trying hard, to rake it off his tongue.
But nothing stopped our Billy not jacks, nor bees at all,  
Billy’s way of loving us, was with his tennis ball.

Now sadly he has left us, the old man’s joined him too,
Perhaps they’re playing ball up there, across a cloud or two.
Billy and the old man, I guess will always be,
 A simple loving tender part, of our family memories

BILLIE [The Goat] 
[2001] #27

Billy was a goat, that had a certain charm,
When Billy was a little kid, he’d do nobody harm.
He grew up just as Billies do, with stylish French beard,
Leading always with his head, something to be feared.

When mother called to Billy, like an angel he would come,
And nibble on some vegetable, that he’d get from mum.
But Billy had a nasty side, that he liked to show,
Especially on washing days, when mum hung out the clothes.

Billy’d hide behind the loo and mum would look around,
Watching out for Billy, before that she bent down.
When all was clear, mum would bend perhaps to grab a sheet,
That’s when Billy saw an enemy that he’d like to beat.

An amazing game of cat and mouse, developed o’er the years,
Mum would sing a nervous song to clear away her fears.
Billy always knew the time to make his nasty charge,
He’d rise up on his hind legs and from the loo he’d barge

He knew he’d get mum sure as quids, its London to a pound,
And at full speed he’d butt her and knock her to the ground.
Every washday this went on, till mum gave in one day,
And Sole Brothers circus came to take our Bill away.

But Billy lived a happy life, filled with fun and chaff,
The clowns used our Billy, to make the children laugh.
He loved to butt those clowns and send them on their way,
But I think he really missed mum more, on any given day.

Although it really pained her, to give our Bill away,
 It ‘pained her more to keep him’, was all that she would say.
And though old Billy’s gone now and mum is with him too,
We hope that up in heaven, mum has no wash to do. 
[Quids =English and Australian monetary slang = pounds

 THE BAR AT OLD MT GIPPS
#28 [December, 2005] 

The old man in the corner, sits with middy almost dry,
While on his glass there wobbles, a drunken bush fly.
The barman reads the ‘Miner’, for nothing bothers him, 
Cept his cook the ‘missus’, her nagging’s on the rim.

The Jack from the station, has dropped in for a pony,
Says the fish at counter lunch, yesterday was bony.
Barman don’t care, his nose stuck in the paper,
Nothing now will get him up, except for whisky vapor.

The Cocky’s big Mercedes, has pulled up to the door,
The barman now is on his feet and sweeping at the floor.
The fly door squeaks its anger, at being opened wide,
And the Cocky orders whisky and a squash to take outside.

The drunken fly has had enough, for it seems he’s gone,
The old man is a’ hawking hard, I wonder what is wrong?
Two more Jackaroo’s come in, from out at Fowlers Gap,
They stir the barman asking, ‘is Bundy here on tap’?

Some miners from the ‘Hill’ stride in, always ready for a ‘blue’
There’s no one there to fight with but that’s nothing new.
Big smoke couple homeward bound, stop in for beer and chips,
And slowly drinkers fill the bar, a dream for old Mount Gipps.

THE DUMP
[January 2006] #29

Dust and smoke gets in your eyes, wave a hand, a cloud of flies,
Flapping paper in the breeze, acrid smoke makes you sneeze.
Tin can sparkling in sunlight, smoke is drifting day and night.
Flattened old bicycle pump n’ plenty more, down at the dump

Buzzing sound, a big horse fly, a mate to find, he passes by,
Tumbleweed rolling ever round, hooks on some old tin it found.
A  zephyr then changes end and back comes the smoke again,
Broken bottle, headless doll, time and tide have taken toll.

Things that will cure a waddle, front seat of an old Tee model,
Chamber pot on the ground, almost square no longer round.
Bedroom items never seen, garden tools, old hasbeens,
Rusty metal everywhere and cardboard boxes have a share.

Old car tire tops the heap, green grill from a Yankee jeep,
Watering can without a bottom, woolly stuff made of cotton.
Planting pot without its plant, curlers from a maiden Aunt,
Bedpan from a nursing home, earpiece from a public phone

Jumbled in nameless heaps, mixtures there to make skin creep,
Broken basket for wash clothes, piece of wire, busted hose
Old and tired battered shoe, what that is, ain’t got a clue!
Smell is rancid in the air; heat just shimmers on out there.

Dust and smoke gets in your eyes, wave a hand, a cloud of flies,
Flapping paper in the breeze, acrid smoke makes you sneeze.
Tin can sparkling in sunlight, smoke is drifting day and night.
Flattened old bicycle pump n’ plenty more, down at the dump. 

EYES WIDE IN FRIGHT 
2000 #30

Lying on my bed at night, eyes all wide in childish fright,
Noises in the roof above, a ghost or burglar wearing gloves?
Or could it be an alien, stumbling ‘bout above our den,
Gargles then a thump or two, silence then it starts anew.

Scuffles then a growl is heard, a rattle then but ne’er a word 
Who’s up there’ is my shout, ‘tis just a whisper that comes out
Try a whistle, mouth too dry, a flapping sound, can it fly?
A sliding noise another thump finally from my bed I jump.

Outside shines a moonlit night, face in window marble white,
The window rattles then the door; cannot stand this anymore,
Phone wire swings to and fro, why it does that; I don’t know,
What the devils causing that, not the wind, p’raps a cat?

Now fear is a weakness true my brain won’t tell me what to do,
Legs are weak and shaking hard, is that something in the yard?
Horrid noises I can hear, how do I quell this awful fear?
Finally my reason blossoms, 
Tis just some hungry ringtail Possums

THAT LITTLE SON OF MINE 
#31 December 16th 2009 

Where ever has my baby gone, that little son of mine
In tiny bathrobe standing there, that little son of mine.
His smiling face, his love for dad, his eyes that ere will shine,
I’ll love him till the day I die, that little son of mine.

Watching as he grew up, his days of fun and games,
Looking at his baby pics and wanting all in frames.
His change came with puberty; his parent had no blame
If only that he knew the loss, he’d take away the pain

Now he walks with manhood, adolescence lost in time,
But the memories of his childhood are now then only mine.
Tears will fall from saddened heart, as my years unwind,
The happy ones will always say, he’s that little son of mine.

I DON’T WANT TO WASH THE DISHES MUM
#32 March 2010 Raymond J Warren

I don’t want to wash the dishes mum,
It’s not my turn tonight.
Its all that soap and water mum,
Me hands go red and bright.

Mum can’t you make them others,
Wash them awful things,
All them scraps and greasy plates
And that grater with its wings

Too much Caustic soda mum,
Me hands are out of sight
Me eczema mum it plays up bad,
Me homework I can’t write.

You say that I should stand there
And dry the dishes now?
The others, they will wash them up,
No, you don’t have to show me how!

Mum, put your wooden spoon away
I’ll dry them dishes right,
I’ll shine them all a'sparkle
But I won’t tomorrow night

ABSTRACT

JUST A THOUGHT
#33 [July 2006]

"Why is it so dark in here, am I all alone"?
"What and where is this place, can I call it home"?
"I can’t see a single thing but somebody is there".
"I’ll come stand beside you, if you can tell me where".

My word it’s awful dark, are we locked inside a case?
I’d feel so much better, if I could see your face.
"Who or what am I? I’m afraid that I don’t know",
"I can’t tell where I’ve been, or where I have to go".

"Do I have a name? For a minute let me think",
"No, I don’t know a single name, to which that I am linked".
"So won’t you tell me please, who or what are you"?
"Why can I not see you, what ever should I do"?

"You say your name is Brian, and you like to think a lot",
"About the many things that are and things that are not".
Well I know I don’t amount to much, perhaps I’m even naught.
But I think your name is really Brain and I am just a thought.
  
A WOMAN'S WORLD
#34 February 2010
 

She lies in her bed at night, her children finally down,T
rying hard to turn her worn out nerves around.
Loneliness and tragedy, the children are her life,
Aching heart is worn away since he left them in strife

Husband took a younger wife, kids made too much mess,
None to make him mad, new wife's pregnant none the less.
So now she lives in hope, someone new will come along,
She yearns for loving arms, to hold her tight and strong.

Tired eyes begin to close but now the quiet is too loud,
Bills and costs now want in, to join the maddening crowd 
Sleep then now and in the morn, a new day will begin,
The kids will all be grown soon and old age will settle in.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
TOFFEE APPLES AND FAIRY FLOSS 
[1998] #35

The rumble of the semi’s that roll in off the highway,
The clang of hammer whacking pegs, on the showman’s byway
Where one can find the gaping stare, of swivel headed clowns,
It’s time to shout and clap and cheer, the Royal Show’s in town.

At nine o’clock next morning the gates are opened wide,
Gatekeeper lets the crowd go and they quickly rush inside.
Mums with kids in strollers and older ones as well,
Heading for the show-bag hall, hurried by the bell.

The smell of toffee apples and waffles filled with cream,
The hydraulic sound of Hurricane, a hundred girlish screams
The clatter of the ghost train, the Whizzer whirling by,
Ferris wheel goes round and down, then upward to the sky

A walk on Showman’s alley, Dagwood Dogs are in the air,
Showmen call to toss a ball and win a top prize there.
The Grand Parade and cattle, with horse and cart there too,
All go strutting proudly round, on parade master’s cue.

Then all at once it’s over, another year gone by,
The crowds begin to wander home as tired children cry.
And sticky paper wrappers, like playful spirits toss,
On breezes sweet with Toffee apples, oh yes and Fairy Floss 

THE PEPPER TREE
#36 Raymond J Warren 2010 

With willowy green leaves you clung tenaciously,
To desert dirt and life, even far from rivers free.
Your branches spread to shade, the hot desert sun,
Gnarled and old and wizened, oh ancient Pepper tree.

How many bush birds wild, sang their desert song,
Among your spreading arms, for years so long?
Now many passing by, have used your shade grand, 
How many are now sleeping, and do you understand?         
                                                                                                          GO WEST YOUNG MAN 

THE NULLABOR NYMPH
[2000]#37

Darkness deep at Nullabor, the road is limestone white,
Blue-bush ride the fringes, of that highway at night.
From shadow swift a movement and in the headlights glare,
A naked body shining, a Nymph is running there.

The beauty of a Venus can ne’er compare her grace,
Her lithe form bounding there as if in wild race
Across that desert highway, searching for her Mars,
Her nakedness highlighted, as if on Grecian vase,

How many were confronted, so very late at night,
By this most unusual, revitalizing sight
So quick had she come and gone, most were ere unsure,
If it really were a Nymph and not a kangaroo they saw.

Her reign upon the desert, though short, yet was it sweet,
The last that any saw of her, a pair of flying feet. 
Twas way back in the 70’s, she disappeared from view,
Perhaps some maid will take her place and bless us all anew.

Darkness deep at Nullabor, the road is limestone white,
Blue-bush ride the fringes, of the highway at night.
From shadow swift a movement and in the headlights glare,
A naked body shining, is that a Nymph running there?

BUSSLETON IETTY
[December 2005] #38 

Shall we walk the Jetty now', she asked me tenderly, 
 ‘Oh yes’ said I, ‘too fast’, I thought, hoping she didn’t see,
Evening was upon us, for sunset crossed the land,
As we began our Jetty stroll, walking hand in hand 

Good’ I thought and made a plan that at about halfway,
I’d stop and steal a little kiss, then continue on our way.
When we reach Jetty’s end, we’ll sit and have a squeeze,
And walking back, if on track, she will not be a tease.

Now ‘how far is the halfway mark’? I began to ponder,
Don’t want to miss my halfway kiss, ‘I think I’ll do it yonder’.
So I stole a little kiss, with warm hand clutching hand,
Hearts were beating very fast, ‘tis true that love is grand.

But as we trudged along, something was not right,
I couldn’t see jetty's end, the finish weren't in sight.
Walking ever walking, the jetty did not stop,
When finally we arrived, all to do was flop.

We had to sit and rest, the walk had worn us out, 
This bloody jetty’s miles long’, I wanted then to shout.
So if you go to Bussleton and that jetty calls to you,
Take an extra pair of shoes, p'haps some supper too!

A DAY AT THE RACES

A NATION CRIED FOR PHAR LAP
#39 [January, 2006]

Born so darned ugly, with great big gawky bone, 
Call that a horse’ they jeered, ‘send him on back home!’
They named that colt Phar Lap, and tested him a while,
Until he won his first race the trainer did not smile

Who’d have thought gawky, would ever win a race,
He looked the type of horse, that had only plodding pace.
But soon he proved the mightiest and none would ere be better,
That wonder horse Phar Lap, the bookies called Red Terror.

The bookies did not like him and some preferred him dead,
With strapper Tommy walking, they tried to shoot big Red.
But he went on his winning way and took the bookies down,
The punters, they all loved him and passed the drinks around.

He won all there was to win, on Australian shores,
So they took him to America, to try to win much more.
He belted them in Mexico and won the ‘Agua Caliente’,
Again the mighty Phar Lap had made the pundit’s pay.

Resting in a paddock, this mighty wonder horse,
Was fed a noxious weed, it was poison of course.
Tommy sitting on the ground, big Red’s head upon his knee,
And he watched poor Phar Lap fade away, into racing history.

RECKLESS
#40 [January, 2006]

In the nineteen thirties, when Tommy Woodcock as a lad,
Was strapper to a racehorse, he reckoned ‘weren’t too bad’.
It was the mighty Phar Lap, recalled Tommy and he sighed,
For he had to watch, while his champion had died

But many years thereafter, ‘bout forty five or so,
Tommy found a new pal, a horse that too, could go
Was this one like Phar Lap? Tommy wouldn’t say.
 Tommy named him Reckless, perhaps he felt that way,

Reckless loved old Tommy, with a love fierce and true,
There was nothing that for Tommy, Reckless wouldn’t do.
 I remember well the day, was it nineteen seventy-seven?
Reckless won the Sydney Cup and sure put me in Heaven

Tommy had a good one and I knew that they’d do well,
Reckless was one-of-a-kind, that, anyone could tell
Yes he won the Sydney Cup at twenty-five to one
I had backed him to the hilt and hoped for a good run!

Reckless won the Cup and to Brisbane he gave notice,
The pundits were all yelling, ‘Tommy should have wrote us’!
The Adelaide Cup in his stride also came his way
Could he win the Melbourne Cup, could it make his day?

Every man and his dog, backed Reckless for that Cup,
Tommy’s love for horses had made them all stand up.
But another horse came on the scene, one of Bart’s big pack,
A pirate horse by the name, ‘I think 'twas Gold and Black’.

The race started slowly, the horses found their place
Round the bend toward the end, they set a fierce pace.
Reckless and then Gold and Black, neck and neck they run,
Gold and Black then Reckless, both wanted that big one.

The crowd roared for Reckless, the sentimental favorite,
And just before the winning post, we all thought he’d save it.
But Gold and Black took the win, all round the track was still,
Perhaps the smallest winning cheer, went up with little will.

But Tommy was a happy man, for Reckless was the one,
He didn’t care about the loss his horse had really shone.
Not too long after that, old Tommy passed away,
To race forever with his mates, on Heaven’s big Cup day.

THE MELBOURNE CUP 
[2000]#41

The bell a crash, off with a dash, the Cup is underway,
Colors merge as they round the curve, what will win the day.
Punters fast to fences run, to watch the horses by,
A flock of seagulls feasting there, the rumble makes them fly,

Past the post first time round, they wave their favorites on,
Jockeys high up in their irons, till the last one by has gone.
They round the bend and slow a bit; the horses find their place,
The crowd nervous waiting, for the last part of the race

Down the back straight running, the five leads the way,
The mighty one aside him, with coat all mottled grey.
They race onto the main stretch; the charge can now begin,
A roar a cheer and from the rear, dark horse might just win.

Around the final bend they come, the whips a’ cracking loud,
The caller’s voice is quickly lost, amidst the roaring crowd. 
No one knows just who’s in front, for all across the track,
Four and twenty horses charge, perhaps it is the black.

Past the post then silence, all wait to see who won,
The sweating horses canter back, the jockeys job is done.
A final roar comes from the crowd, the winning numbers up,
And the loser curses his bad luck, at the Melbourne Cup.

SEA-GOING

KELLY AND THE OCTOPUS 
[1999]#42

Kelly was a cray-boat skip, of dubious renown,
He ran a boat from Geraldton, a quaint Westralian town.
Kelly’d take a risk or two, while sailing the sea,
And deckies all avoided him ‘cept one and that was me.

Kelly had a rival, who liked crayfish more than him,
The rival would steal Kelly’s crays, at the slightest whim.
Though Kelly was a powerhouse and never was a wooss,
 His rival had eight strong arms and was an Octopus.

One day down at the Flat Rocks, out there in the bay
I spied a slimy stowaway, in a pot among the cray.
Two beady eyes stared at me and gave me quite a shock,
While Kelly looked on angrily and then he did his block

The Octopus was well entrenched and hard to pull away,
A grimace crossed the Kelly face; nobody steals his Cray.
Kelly moved in for the kill and reached in with his hand,
The Octopus came easily, with a move I think was planned.

It shot out of that pot so fast, beyond the Kelly control,
And wrapped itself around his head, like some gigantic mole.
And then began the strangest dance that one could ever see,
Kelly with his Octopus, a’ prance in front of me

It was not a Sailors Hornpipe, nor a Scottish Reel,
Kelly waltzed or rhumba’d while I clung to the wheel.
The Octopus had Kelly, in its eight-arm strong embrace,
While Kelly, tried to peel it off his sorely wrapped up face.

With beady eyes a’ blazing, the beast would not let go,
And Kelly’s frantic tugging soon began to slow.
Every time he stretched the thing, his face was pulled awry
I knelt down upon the deck and laughed so much I cried.

Misty eyed I watched them, in that dance around the deck,
Till finally the Octopus; let go of Kelly’s neck.
It slithered down his arm and dashed for scuppers wide,
Then seemed to bow graciously, before it slipped over the side.

Kelly was exhausted; his brow was wringing wet,
He slumped down on a cray pot, his match finally met.
The Octopus and Kelly had danced till both were done,
With victory to the Octopus, the beast on points had won. 

IF I WERE AN OCEAN SHIP
#43 

If I were an ocean ship with portholes everywhere
In every window would be you, in every cabin there.
I would sail the seven seas to each corner of the earth,
To lie on tropic beach and run my fingers through your hair

Yes if I were an ocean ship, I’d never want to land,
I'd sail down watery promenades just to hold your hand
I’d voyage to jungle dark, to desert sandy dry 

To where the sunsets every eve, paint the western sky. 

If I were an ocean ship I would always keep you near
and watch the rain clouds drift on by, till our skies are clear
Where we could watch the Albatross gliding o’er the deep
Together we could happy bide, until eternal sleep

Yes if I were an ocean ship with portholes everywhere,
In every window would be you, in every cabin there.
We would sail the seven seas, to each corner of our world,           To stand with arms open wide, like two flags come unfurled.


KELLY AND HIS CRAY 
[2002] # 44

Kelly’d been a copper, till the sea called him one day,
To be a cray-boat skipper, somewhere out Flat Rocks way
Deckhands all avoided him, they said his boat was cursed,
They thought Kelly was a ‘crazy’ that he’d end up in a hearse.

But Kelly found a brave lad, to help him ply his trade,
That deckhand p’raps was crazy too, he never was afraid.
He did all that was asked of him; to his skipper he was true,
Until the day he sadly realized, Kelly didn’t have a clue.

His skipper had a certain luck that always turned out bad.
And this was disconcerting, to that poor country lad.
With Kelly you could ere be sure, that he’d never win,
Yet Kelly took it in his stride; he took it on the chin. 

Now Kelly got his dander up, if someone stole his sea,
If they laid their craypots, where his pots ought to be.
One day he found his sea space, aligned with craypot floats,
He set a course to cut the ropes, which fast stopped his boat.

They wrapped round propellers, like some gigantic squid,
From such a grip they would not budge, no matter what he did.
Kelly cursed and blustered, then grabbed a fishing knife,
And ordered deckie overboard, to free them from their strife.

The deckhand took the knife in hand, although reluctantly,
Then dived insanely overboard, to see what he could see.
Both the props were tied very tight, trussed up like a goose,
And it would take some hacking, to get the beggars loose.

Two minutes under water, then one spent breathing air,
The deckie hacked away the ropes, his fingers turning rare.
Fifteen minutes later, port prop was finally clear,
While Kelly in the noonday heat, was slowly turning queer.

The deckhand called to Kelly, I’ve got ‘the port one free’,
And then ‘I’ll fix the starboard one’, much to Kelly’s glee.
But Kelly’s sunburned mind told him, why not test the prop,
He started the port engine, would the deckie get ‘the chop’?

The deckie clung for dear life, to a stanchion overhead,
While the whirling dervish fronting him, lusted for his legs.
The deckhand screamed in fury, mostly laced with fear, 
Turn the bloody engine off ’ but Kelly didn’t hear.

Closer still it dragged him, aimed at prized crown jewels,
While Kelly hummed an Irish tune, he was no-one’s fool.
Then finally he heard the shouts and shut the engine down,
The deckhand cursed him loudly but all Kelly did was frown.

Deckie cleared the other prop, while hovering o’er the deep,
Then clambered out atop the pots, to have a nervous sleep.
Kelly sailed onward, his thoughts now many miles away,
And deckhand dreamed of anything but Kelly and his cray.

THE LAST DIVE
#45 [January, 2006]

It was sunny on that day, when the reef they went to see,
To snorkel and to Scuba dive, round a coral quay.
Many colored corals; the sea was sparkling bright,
All upon that dive boat, going down to reach new heights.

All had much fun and were talking all at once,
When the skipper counted them, perhaps he was at lunch.
For when the boat left the reef, two were left behind,
A man and wife still seeking, new corals for to find.

Ten minutes gone, they surfaced, their dive now finished,
No boat was in sight and the daylight had diminished. 
Where is the boat’ the wife cried, though not yet with fear, 
I think they’ve forgotten us’, he said nervous and unclear.

What now could they but do, ‘cept wait and tread the sea,
P’raps the boat would come back, to where it ought to be.
The sun now low and they, were twenty miles out from land,
They better start the long swim now, the wife touched his hand. 

What is that? His wife had cried, a fin had broken through, 
Only just a dolphin dear’ but her eyes showed that she knew. 
You swim ahead and I’ll make sure, that’s all it be’,
And he turned back to battle with, the Tiger of the sea.

She watched in silent turmoil, then called for his return,
And all the while the Tiger watched, it’s eyes like fire burned.
The man continued swimming, the shark he’d try to fight,
To save the woman that he loved, he’d try with all his might.

But the beast would ere but circle, never swimming near,
Smart yes! He knew that soon they’d fall to fear.
The man swam back to his bride, face toward the shark,
Until it neared and nudged him, then the face of man went dark.

He pushed his wife away and turned to feel the blow,
And everything went black, as his blood began to flow.
She watched in horror as her mate was quickly torn in half,
And suddenly he was gone, and so too was the shark.

Panic coursed right through her, she swam away in fear,
For long minutes she kept swimming, her eyes now full of tears.
Finally she dared look back and saw the Tiger of the sea,
Swimming patiently behind her, for she was next to be.

THE FUNNY SIDE OF LIFE
Comedy etc.

MY SECOND CIGARETTE
28/5/2012 #46  

Everyone remembers that first time cigarette,
The one you had for a dare or some forgotten bet.
But I remember most of all and in my mind it's set,
That terrible, that horrible, second cigarette.

Now it all began real innocent when I was only eight.
My brother, five years older, had a roughie for a mate.
The two were quite chummy and liked to have a fag,
Until we caught them smoking and threatened to tell dad.

My little mate and I, his brother was the rough,
Were quickly set upon, by brothers acting tough.
They then cajoling nicely, offered us a smoke,
Why if we tried one now, we'd soon be grown blokes.
They had a little pack with a Camel on the front,

Quick we were to smoke and soon more, we would want.
"From what were they made, that filled our smokey lungs?" 
"From many many Camels, they collect and roll their dung".

Now several days went by and we wanted once more,
To try again those burning fags behind the old shed door.
But our brothers, they were not around, what would we do?
Where would we get our second fag, not for one but two?

My mate had a smoking dad, who always rolled his own,
So he stole a pack of Tally-Ho but they were all alone.
We had nothing for the inside, only paper there to burn.
Where would we get the filling, for it we did yearn.

My mate and I thought strongly, then suddenly it clicked,
Camels looked like horses, horse dung would do the trick.
So down to the local stable, we went on our dung quest,
There we found dry horse dung, hoping 'twould be best.

So we sat and rolled them up, our second ever fag,
While licking on the papers, quickly made us gag.
Soon we were smoking, were green as we could get,
Knowing horses ain't like camels in a second cigarette.  

WHEN OLD AGE COMES MARCHING UP ON YOU
23/07/09 #47 

When that old age comes marching up on you,
And you really don’t know what your gonna do.
With those aching pains,you no longer hold the reins
When that old age comes marching up on you,

When that old age comes marching up on you
And your offspring start to tell you what to do
It really must be true, your second childhood’s due
When that old age comes marching up on you

When that old age comes marching up on you,
And your eyes no longer tell you what is true.
You no longer see what kept you happy in the night,
When that old age comes marching up on you.

When that old age comes marching up on you,
That's when your ears stop listening to you,
You can't remember what you said,
Perhaps you should have stayed in bed
When that old age comes marching up on you.

THE HIGH SCHOOL BULLY
2005 #48

I don’t know where you came from or what was on your mind,
Why did you give those fierce looks and slap on your behind,
You said ‘I wanna fight ya mate’, then why not pick on him?
Instead of all this push and shove, my patience’s wearing thin.

What’s that you say? You don’t like me views?
You think I’m a dandy and you wanna have a blue!
Well we're entitled to opinions, no matter how wrong we are,
What do you mean ‘put up yer dukes, yer want to have a spar’?

Well look here now I don’t want to box, I’m not a fighting lad,
Shoving me will do no good, of that you should be glad,
Now here, here sir don’t push me, I don’t want to fight,
Can’t you see your not wanted, by day or even night?

Well all right then if you won’t go, I’ll entertain your wish,
You can throw the first one, ‘well done sir, a mighty swish.’
What’s that sir your nose it hurts? I’m truly sorry now,
You bumped my fist by accident, I’m sorry but that’s how.

You think you better leave now; your shirt is getting red?
Your mama will be mad at you, for getting it all bled.
Yes I too, am sorry sir; I feel an utter cad,
I didn’t mean to bully you I wish I never had.

THE HEARING AID 
[2004]#49

There comes a time in ones life, when age begins to show,
When crow’s feet hit the corners and the saggy bits hang low. 
Tis then the eyes, don’t have it and reading is a chore,
Your answers all start with ‘Hey’, you don’t hear well no-more.

So it’s off to the doctor, to see what he might think,
He shoves some metal in your ear, so cold it makes you blink.
He hums and hahs from ear to ear then whispers an aside, 
Hey’? You say and right away, his mouth opens wide.

He gives the medical ‘stern look’ and wipes his ear torch clean,
Says he in jest. ‘your ears are right but there’s nowt between’.
Then serious he tells you, that your ears need some support, 
A hearing aid’ll do the trick, or you’ll end up hearing naught’.

So now will come the hard bit, those aids cost a mint
The cheap ones cough and rattle, really make you squint
Then there are the sea sounds, like listening to a shell,
There’s loud and unadjustable, like your head’s inside a bell.

Finally you select a pair, one for each sick ear,
And listen as the tide comes in, on stereoscopic gear,
Every cloud is silver lined, when you’re finally driven queer,
You can always turn the thing off then nothing will you hear.

FALSE TEETH 
[2003] #50

Where have all my real teeth gone, strong and hardy they,
Good at opening beer bottles and chewing gum all day.
White as pearls they really were, no blemish could be seen,
Then one day spots appear, perhaps too much ice cream.

So off to the dentist, you know that man in white,
The one with teeth always strong and shining bright.
Sitting in the waiting room, my teeth they hurt like hell.   
But when your name is finally called, a miracle, you’re well.

A plastic finger parts tight lips and a wad of cotton wool
Is there to hold your jaws apart, while silver pliers pull.
One by one throughout the years, they slowly disappear.
Ceramic teeth take their place, those things that we all fear. 

Tis not the thought of false teeth, that causes the chagrin,
'Tis how at first they make you choke,  you put them in.
 They really do hate your mouth; they rock and roll for weeks,
They like to bite you on the tongue and nip you on your cheeks.

Then all to soon they grow on you, for when you take them out. Your lips begin to whirlpool in, no longer can you pout.
When finally you know them, your gums begin to shrink, 
I should have taken care of teeth’, is all that you can think.

When at last you pair with them and take them out at night,
To set them in cold water glass, shining in moonlight.
In the morning comes the sun, the sky all bright and blue,
And your old friends sit there vacantly, smiling back at you.

STEP-IN UNDERPANTS 
[2003] #51

Whoever did invent them, or were they found by chance,
Multi-colored elastic stretch, step-in underpants,
Did some practical joker, some blot on history’s page,
Make those stretchy awful things, to curse us in old age.

For have you ever noticed, when finished in your shower,
Bending down to put 'em on, they suddenly have a power,
First they grab your little toe and on one leg you dance,
Till you curse the day you bought, those step-in underpants.

It’s true now I can tell you, that one day from the blue,
Your trusty little underpants will start a war with you,
The elastic is the first to go, broken when you sneezed,
Hard you try to hold them up but they migrate to your knees.

As time goes by the war gets worse and then on one fine day,
You just can’t get a foot in, no matter what you say.
Had you known the trouble, they’d not got a second glance,
Those red and green and black and blue, step-in underpants

THE OLD MAN’S COMPUTER
#52 [December 2009]

The old man sits enrapt with glee,
Eyes staring steadfast, fixedly,
Set on screen in drug like trance,
Nothing else will hold his glance.

For he is now a’ tronic man,
A computer junkie, mouse in hand,
The twentieth century’s come and gone,
And still the boy in man lives on.

Lights are flashing in his game,
Pin Ball machines were not the same,
Now its war with tanks and things,
And missiles flying without wings

In time he’ll travel who knows where,
Who knows what he will do there.
Time will claim him too one day,
Computer too, will have had its day