Works in the Bulletin 1912

Owing to a shortage of trucks on the N.S.W. railways, etc., etc., etc. - Regular news item.

Hear the Backbone of the Country howling in his agony,
In the fresh and early morning, as the busy honey-bee
Nectar from the dewy petals,
While along the singing metals
Hastes the overladen train,
Bearing cityward the grain...
While the city agent's gloating
O'er his profits, hear it floating
Up and down and to and fro,
Hear it gather, hear it grow,
Hear it swell
Like a knell
Drowning ev'ry other sound
For a thousand miles around.
Over all the childish voices
As the urchin forth rejoices
On his tardy way to school,
Hear it in the morning cool,
High above the breakfast bells.
How it wells, how it swells;
While the city man is going
To his office, hear it growing
O'er the clamor of the street:
"Give us trucks to cart our wheat!"

"TRUCKS!..." Mark it now at noon increasing to a wild insistent howl, While the hot and harried lumper with grim, disgusted growl Chucks Bag on bag upon the siding Where infrequent trains come gliding, Where the maddened luggage sorter And the frantic railway porter Loudly curse. 'Tis growing worse: "'Fraid to-day there's very few, sir," Comes the yelp of the producer: "Gimmee trucks!" O, hear him bawling While the trains go slowly crawling, Crawling east, and south, and north, Hauling tediously forth Grain to dear old Sydney town, Hear it sounding up and down; Hear it high above the roar Of the sea, while on the shore Little wavelets break and sport At the still deserted port, At the harbor all neglected, While the traffic is deflected Into town, Sydney town; Now the rising of the screech Drowns the soft and honeyed speech Of the smiling politician Who's "explaining the position," Who is bluffing, Who is stuffing Simple country folks with lies; But the clamor never dies. Hear the grumbling, hear the groaning, Mingled with the blowflies' droning In the humid air of noon: "Send us trucks, and send 'em soon!"
"TRUCKS!..." Louder, as the day wears onward, hear it breaking, ever breaking Through the hoarse and heated barrack, where our flanneled fools are making Ducks Out upon the cricket ground. Hear the loud persistent sound! 'Tis a boom Charged with doom, Like a restless spirit howling, Like a ghost unshriven growling >From the tomb. Lo, the surfer on the beach Hears it high above the screech Of the seagull by the shore, High above the breakers' roar - Through the summer's afternoon, While the lumpers almost swoon In the heat; And the stolid man in blue Pauses as he hears it too On his beat. O'er the rude and raucous bawling Of the bottle-o 'tis calling, High above the sounds of traffic, Breaking in on those who maffick In the bars, How it jars! Drowning all their glad "Here's lucks." "For the Lord's sake send us trucks!"

The Bulletin, 15 February 1912, p24

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002