Poem: The Overflow of Clancy by H.H.C.C.

(On reading the Banjo's "Clancy of the Overflow")

I've read "The Banjo's" letter, and I'm glad he's found a better
   Billet than he had upon the station where I met him years ago;
He was "slushy" then for Scotty, but the "bushland" sent him "dotty,"
   So he "rose up, William Riley," and departed down below.

He "rolled up" very gladly, for he had bush-fever badly
   When he left "the smoke" to wander "where the wattle-blossoms wave,"
But a course of "stag and brownie" seems to make the bush-struck towny
   Kinder weaken on the wattle and the bushman's lonely grave.

Safe in town, he spins romances of the bush until one fancies
   That it's all top-boots and chorus, kegs of rum and "whips" of grass,
And the sheep off camp go stringing when the "boss-in-charge" is singing,
   Whilst we "blow the cool tobacco-smoke and watch the white wreaths pass."

Yet, I guess "The B." feels fitter in a b'iled shirt and "hard-hitter"
   Than he would "way down the Cooper" in a flannel smock and "moles,"
For the city cove has leisure to indulge in stocks of pleasure,
   But the drover's only pastime's cooking "What's this! on the coals."

And the pub. hath friends to meet him, and between the acts they treat him
   While he's swapping "fairy twisters" with the "girls behind their bars,"
And he sees a vista splendid when the ballet is extended,
   And at night he's in his glory with the comic-op'ra stars.

I am sitting, very weary, on a log before a dreary
   Little fire that's feebly hissing 'neath a heavy fall of rain,
And the wind is cold and nipping, and I curse the ceaseless dripping
   As I slosh around for wood to start the embers up again.

And, in place of beauty's greeting, I can hear the dismal bleating
   Of a ewe that's sneaking out among the marshes for her lamb;
And for all the poet's skitin' that a new-chum takes delight in,
   The drover's share of pleasure isn't worth a tinker's d--n.

Does he sneer at bricks and mortar when he's squatting in the water
   After riding fourteen hours beneath a sullen, weeping sky?
Does he look aloft and thank it, as he spreads his sodden blanket?
   For the drover has no time to spare, he has no time to dry.

If "The Banjo's" game to fill it, he is welcome to my billet;
   He can "take a turn at droving" -- wages three-and-six a-day --
And his throat'll get more gritty than mine will in the city
   Where with Mister Lawson's squashes I can wash the dust away.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 August 1892

Bulletin debate poem #5

[Note: no-one knows the identity of "H.H.C.C." for sure, but one commentator believes it was Henry Lawson.]

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 1, 2006 8:34 AM.

New York Public Radio - Australian Authors was the previous entry in this blog.

Weekend Round-Up 2006 #14 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en