Works in the Herald 1935

The periodic and apparently inevitable strike of seamen is on once more in Australia.

Men of the sea (said Bones, A.B.)
   Is touchy coves and curious,
They stands a lot, till some dark plot
   Gets 'em all hot an' furious.
Tricks with their food brings on a mood
   That's apt to be real shirty.
That's how come we once struck at sea
   In days when ways was dirty --
Them blastin', blazin', hazin' days
   When ships an' seas was dirty.

We was 'Frisco bound in a ship ill-found
   An' scarce a sound plank in 'er,
Wheh cook speaks free, an' he says, says he:
   "There's no plum-duff for dinner!"
"Wot?  No plum-duff?" we answers gruff
   An' snarky like, an' surly.
"Avast!" says we.  "We'll strike at sea
   Till we gets it, late or early
Down marlinspikes!  The whole crew strikes!
   For we likes duff late an' early."

The old man, he don't seem to be
   No ways put out about it.
"Plum-duff?" he purrs.  "Why, sure, good sirs,
   You'll get some, never doubt it."
An', cold an' hot, 'twas duff we got
   An' nothin' else thereafter.
"Wot?  Had enough?  You swabs, you stuff!"
   The skipper roars wi' laughter.
"Nought else will come.  Eat some, you scum!
   Wot?  Sick?  Excuse my laughter!"

Men of the sea (said Bones, A.B.)
   Is proud an' supercilious.
But that don't do, not when a crew
   Grows pasty-faced an' bilious.
Whe we bore down on 'Frisco town
   A sick crew 'twas wot landed
An' skipper says: "Now, go yer ways,
   An' say I ain't free-'anded!
You strikin', bluffin', puddin'-stuffin' sweeps,
   Say I'm mean-'anded!
You loafin', leerin', mutineerin' mutts,
   I 'opes yer stranded!"

Herald, 17 August 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005