Waiting for the Mail by E. J. Brady

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Three times a week the mail-car, across the coastal hills,
Comes rattling with our letters, our papers and -- our bills.
The village lights assembled,
Their eagerness dissembled,
Won't know until they've sorted what disappointments, thrills,
In those sealed bags await them
To please or irritate them,
To elevate their spirits or aggravate their ills.

They crowd the office counter -- an agent's note for Joe
(The hairy rabbit-trapper) with cheque from So and So!
Joe grins, and in his pocket
Crams envelope and docket,
Departing in a hurry. The others rightly know
That Joe, unkempt and leery,
Benevolent and beery,
Has gone to greet the barman and bid the liquor flow.

Fred Fielding pushes forward; he grabs a slender mail;
His features, fat and florid, revert from red to pale --
"For three-pun-ten and under!"
He shouts in tones of thunder,
"They've sold them pigs in Melbun! Too late to cancel sale!
I'll wire the wicked robbers
That me and all me cobbers
Will send our stuff to Sydney, the whole of it, for sale!"

Old Mother Jones approaches, she wheezes and she moans,
Rheumatics nip and grind her, she creaks in all her bones.
But now her face hard-bitten
In cheerful smirks is litten --
A bottle of the Cure-All may even cure Ma Jones.
By parcel post arriving
It points to her surviving
The cold of coming winter with mild and mellow groans.

Miss Sally Smith trips lightly two awkward youths between;
She has no brains whatever, but, turning seventeen,
The males declare her pretty
As flash girls from the city;
At all the district dances she holds her own I ween.
And this, the last mail order,
Will make her, round the Border,
Despite the jealous females an undisputed queen.

At last I breast the counter, my fortune I rehearse;
Two bills, a seedsman's pamphlet, and some rejected verse!
Avaunt this inky scrapping,
I'm going rabbit trapping!
As soon as Joe is sober, with that unlettered curse
A partnership I'll wangle;
Surveyed from any angle
No other occupation than writing could be worse.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 March 1947

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 5, 2011 6:44 AM.

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