Works in the Herald 1937

In order that workmen in the Kiewa River camp could vote in the referendum, a ballot box had to be taken there and brought back to Tawonga, 13 miles across mountains, by pack-horse.

"Votes -- votes -- votes," thought the horse
   Plodding along on the mountain track,
Following down by the hill-stream's course
   With a ballot-box in his heavy pack.
"Votes, votes and a burden of votes,
   Meaningless quite to a sage like me.
This tangled battle on which man dotes,
   Causing a clamor from sea to sea,
And the end of it all when talk is ended;
Nothing altered and nothing mended.

"Votes," mused the pack horse. "Votes, votes,
   Scraps of paper and mystic signs.
There is virtue in grass, and virtue in oats;
   For I plan my living on normal lines.
But they load my back with their paper scraps
   And they lead me forth from the kindly fields.
There may be a purpoase in all, perhaps;
   But never an answer plain horse-sense yields.
We gain our fill of a land's resources;
But whoever heard of political horses?

"Talk, talk -- oh, I hear them talk
   As I crop the grass by their public halls,
But the leaves grow sweet on the clover stalk,
   And the young grass springs where the soft rain falls.
Out in the open their voices float
   As argument swells and talk mounts higher,
Now, the sum of it all I carry -- the Vote --
   A pack-load heavy with man's desire
And still they talk, but I plod and ponder
(Nice bit of grass in that paddock yonder).

"Talk?" mused the horse. "But one more mile
   And I'm back again to a peaceful life
Where shade trees beckon and green fields smile ...
   They call it 'progress,' this tangled strife;
They call it 'order,' this frantic haste
   That man may prosper and man may eat.
Well, men and horses, each to his taste
   But I know a spot where the grass grows sweet
Toil when you must and eat when you're able
"Ah, well," sighed the pack horse, "there's my stable."

Herald, 11 March 1937, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005