What our reporter calls "the unconventional mingling of the sexes" is much more unwholesome than can be any piles of dirty jam and fish tins. - Melbourne AGE on Seaside Camps.
A sight that gives me much distress Is George without his trousers, Garbed, scantily, in bathing dress Proscribed by saintly Wowsers, And Gerty, gay and forward flirt, Without the regulation shirt. Though 'tis a fearsome sight, I ween, When jam tins strew the shingle, It is a far more shocking scene When Bert and Benjy mingle With Maude and Winnie in the wave; It hurts to see them so behave. The melancholy dead marine Sown thick along the beaches, The can that held the late sardine, Or potted prawn, or peaches, Are things of innocence beside Gay Tom and Topsy in the tide. I hold by stern morality, Depite the worldings' scoffing, And though it pains my soul to see A fish tin in the offing, 'Tis naught beside the things I feel Whene'er I hear Belinda squeal. Indeed, this tin that held sardine My sad soul sorely vexes. The fish it harbored might have been Unwed, and mixed in sexes! Good brothers, can you wonder then, That seaside damsels mix with men? A pile of picnic scraps, 'tis true, Can raise a mild commotion. But what of John and Jane and Sue Mixed in a single ocean? A sight that stabs me to the heart Is Billo smoodging with his tart. But hark, my brothers, yester eve I had a wondrous vision. The sun was just about to leave, With his well-known precision, When I espied upon the sand A tin with a familiar brand. And, as I gazed, my limbs grew limp And giddiness came o'er me; For from it stepped a fish-like imp That smirked and bowed before me! His puckered features seemed to be Awry with spite and devilry. "Young man," he said, "You're wasting time. Why do you sit there mooning? So brave a youth, just in his prime, Should find more joy in spooning. For see! the ocean hath its pearls. Go forth and mingle with the girls!" And from the tins that lay about Upon the silver shingle I heard a wee shrill chorus shout, "Young man, go forth and mingle!" And then I knew each empty tin Concealed its special imp within. I know my eye grew wide and bright, Despite a life ascetic, And from the narrow path of right I felt a tug magnetic, That sought to draw me o'er the sand Out to the siren-haunted strand. I felt the red blood course anew, I felt my pulses tingle; And still the tiny chorus grew: "Young man, go forth and mingle!" .... Then, from the old, bashed can I saw A lordly lobster wave a calw. "Good fellow, have a care!" he said, "Stray not from pathways upper! I am the ghost of one long dead, Slain for a sinful supper. But once good works were done by me Amongst the sinners of the sea. "In life I roamed the vasty deep Engaged upon a mission Which was my fellow-fish to keep From swimming to perdition. Now I am dead" (his voice grew thin) "Alas! they mingle in the tin! "Beware the blood that bounds and leaps! Your sinful feelings throttle. Beware the imp that leers and peeps From out each tin and bottle! A submarine Chapzander speaks. Beware when gay Belinda squeaks!" Lo, as he spoke my blood grew chill, The spell no longer bound me, The impish chorus now was still And silence reigned around me. The ghostly lobster disappeared; My heart of base desire was cleared. But, like a man inspired, I saw His cause for intervening. His sad, sweet face, his waving claw To me were full of meaning. Indeed, a sainted fish was he, A very Wowser of the sea. You smile, good friend? But ah, be sure 'Tis not a theme for scoffing; For well, too well, I know the lure of fish tins in the offing. A devil lurks inside each tine To tempt unwary souls to sin. And, top this day, I fell a thrill 'Mid tins upon the shingle; I seem to hear that chorus shrill: "Young man, go forth and mingle!" And yet, 'tis naught to what I feel Whene'er I hear Belinda squeal.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-06|