Works in the Herald 1935
Well I remember him -- Big Jack Herrington;
   Big Jack, the lumper, tanned and honest-eyed,
The clean, straight limbs of him,
The strength in those limbs of him --
   Strength that was the end of him, and once had been his pride:
Big Jack Herrington, toiling up the stack,
Hefting up the wheat sacks on his mighty back.

One year, two years he labored when the wheat came;
   Three years, four years, in the grimy heat,
Toiling up the planks there --
The crazy, narrow planks there.
   Folk said, "A wonder!  Why, there's nothing got him beat!"
Never had he faltered beneath a heavy bag --
Big, Jack, the lumper, never known to sag.

For five years, for big pay he larbored there.
   "Ten bob a day!" they said.  "Jack's the boy to score."
And then came the end of him --
A false step, and the end of him;
   And Big Jack, the lumper, he toiled no more.
Twisted now and broken -- his body and his pride,
Big Jack lingered on, a cripple till he died.

Old Jack Herrington, sitting in the bar-room,
   Hoping for a kind friend, waiting for a "shout."
Men said, "Remember him?"
Course I remember him.
   Best about the stock yard till his strength gave out.
Booze never beat him till that tumble turned him queer....
Hey! Old Jack, there! Have another beer?"

Herald, 4 March 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003