Poem: Four Friends by Mousquetaire (Gordon Tidy)

When the work is done and the people are gone and the voice and the nuisance end
I find it most pleasant to banish the Present with a smoke and a minstrel friend.

Those friends the first of the volumes versed, those keen-eyed, quick-eyed men
Who can do so much with that one right touch which is proof of a poet's pen.

Fate leads their feet to here and there, by many a bourne they bide,
But their own true selves on my old book-shelves stand firm at an old friend's side.

And when I feel the yester-winds blow fresh as of yore they blew,
When we swing through Life to the drum and fife and the tune that we once marched to.

Then Gordon strong has signed the song brings back my boyhood blithe,
For I take him down when I'd forget that mower's ceaseless scythe.

I take him down and the striding brown goes sailing and sailing along,
And the grey cheeks flush at the rattle and rush of his "sitting loosely" song.

The cup he pours makes the blood run hot, nor gave those grapes but wine,
For so fierce he stamped the fruit to juice that many a bunch bled brine.

But sorrow -- where is not sorrow? It's shadow escapes, what rhyme?
E'en Ogilvie, the Troubadour, he laughs not all the time.

He's off to the Bush to the air so rare that's clinked from snaffles and spurs,
To the Bush that Ogilvie's lover is as sure as Ogilvie's hers.

He seems a careless caroller, with his lilt of the lover's lute,
A Gipsy free who shall flourish a Glee forthwith from his generous flute.

How he sings of the joy of the girl and the boy, how the bridle-touch thrills through his hands!
-- And yet how plain is the dusky vein in Will's well-woven strands.

But would you change for Hell-gate glare this room's soft-shaded light,
Would you tread the West's arena-sand where the gladiators fight;

Would you hear a stave of great gifts that gave the old world's wider ways,
When the camp-fires burned o'er the Fifties turned to our narrower Nowadays.

Would you learn their lot in the God-forgot, where they're besting it, God knows how,
-- Then read the lays that brought the bays to Lawson's sweating brow.

But here are Banjo's bits of blood, -- "They're off!" and "Here they come!"
-- How bright the clustered silks shine out as they slip by the river-gum.

Horse! horse! yes, of course it is horse , -- a curse on your canting cry,
Some books are bought for what's called "thought," and let who wants them buy.

Let some hold out their sieves for rain, let some teams plough sea-sand,
Be I, when "Banjo" drops the flag, at the top of the staring Stand.

First published inThe Bulletin, 14 June 1902

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 29, 2006 8:14 AM.

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