Monday, 17 April 2017

Poetry Revisited: An Easter Rhyme by Barcroft Boake

An Easter Rhyme

(from The Bulletin: 7 May 1892)

Easter Monday in the city—
          Rattle, rattle, rumble, rush;
Tom and Jerry, Nell and Kitty,
          All the down-the-harbour “push,”
Little thought have they, or pity,
          For a wanderer from the bush.

Shuffle, feet, a merry measure,
          Hurry, Jack and find your Jill,
Let her—if it give her pleasure—
          Flaunt her furbelow and frill,
Kiss her while you have the leisure,
          For tomorrow brings the mill.

Go ye down the harbour, winding
          ‘Mid the eucalypts and fern,
Respite from your troubles finding,
          Kiss her, till her pale cheeks burn,
For to-morrow will the grinding
          Mill-stones of the city turn.

Stunted figures, sallow faces,
          Sad girls striving to be gay
In their cheap sateens and laces.
          Ah! how different ‘tis to-day
Where they’re going to the races—
          Yonder—up Monaro way!

Light mist flecks the Murrumbidgee’s
          Bosom with a silver stain,
On the trembling wire bridge is
          Perched a single long legged crane,
While the yellow, slaty ridges
          Sweep up proudly from the plain.

Somebody is after horses—
          Donald, Charlie or young Mac—
Suddenly his arm he tosses,
          Presently you’ll hear the crack,
As the symbol of the cross is
          Made on ‘Possum’s steaming back.

Stirling first! the Masher follows,
          Ly-ee-moon and old Trump Card,
Helter skelter through the shallows
          Of the willow-shaded ford,
Up the lane and past the “gallows,”
          Driven panting to the yard.

In the homestead, what a clatter;
          Habits black and habits blue,
Full a dozen red lips patter:
          “Who is going to ride with who?”
Mixing sandwiches and chatter,
          Gloves to button, hair to “do,”

Horses stamp and stirrups jingle,
          “Dash the filly! won’t she wait?”
Voices, bass and treble, mingle,
          “Look sharp, May, or we’ll be late;”
How the pulses leap and tingle
          As you lift her featherweight!

At the thought the heart beats quicker
          Than an old Bohemian’s should,
Beating like my battered ticker
          (Pawned this time, I fear, for good).
Bah! I’ll go and have a liquor
          With the genial “Jimmy Wood.”

Barcroft Boake (1866-1892)
Australian bush poet

2 comments:

  1. It sounds quite Australian! Here in the good old USA there is no Easter Monday. It is right back to business. But I noticed on one of my calendars that there is Easter Monday in Canada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Austria there is Easter Monday, too. Most people go back to work on Tuesday - except teachers because after the Easter Holidays school starts only on Wednesday.

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