The Ship Home by Stephen J. Spano

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(Printed in a reckless moment because of the staff's inability to decide what it is about.)

How ships are built into Australian Homes!
   No timber of the ship is there,
No iron, copper, cordage, naught of sail,
   Yet the ship is there.
Some Harpley, Sovereign of the Seas, Red Jacket.
Some Lightning, painted green with straight cut-water,
Or Marco Polo or Great Britain.

The old folks hear the murmur of the shell,
They leave the Chalk Cliffs and England's gardens,
Its dewy meadows, humid roses,
Its choked-up London; yet, perchanee, most dear
'Ampstead, 'Ammmersmith, 'Ackney, 'Ighgate,
'Olborn, 'Olloway, 'Ounslow,
The Cockney and the Cockneyess in the blood.

Ah yus! the ship slid with them adown Thames.
Farewell Gravesemd, Deptlord, Wool'ich, Chattum;
No more will good old Grinnidge greet our eyes
Unless we come back with a pot o' gold.

But buck up, laeses! buck up, sturdy lads!
Slavery shall no more rattle chains;
No more touching hats to Lord Nozoo;
Right away past the blowy Nore;
Shiver my timbers and hitch my britches up,
The sea! the sea! The broad and open sea!
The rolling fresh and ever free ---
Australia is the land for me.

Dadl lights another pipe;
He courses in his thoughts o'er Biscay's Bay,
Past Teneriffe and Cape of Storms,
With waves up twenty feet.

We had the pluck to come.
At last fair Adelaide loomed in the haze --
All yellow dusty with a rare hot wind
That fanned our faces in the Bay.
Fruit comes aboard, Australia's peaches ---
Rosy-cheek rascals, and blushily delicious.

Yet on to Melbourne through the rushing Rip,
And here we are in Canvas Town,
Sighing like Israelites for Egypt's fleshpots,
But through the quagmire the way must be ahead,
Like Australia with its Federation.

Sinking holes for gold at Ballarat,
A whilom forest overrun with tents.
Fighting then in Melbourne for a bit of land.
Lord Nozoo here too!
Striking out into the bush, and well-nigh eating bark.
But planting down a Home.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 November 1906;
and later in
Freedom on the Wallaby: Poems of the Australian People edited by Majorie Pizer, 1953.

Author: nothing is known about the writer of this poem.

Author reference site: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 8, 2011 6:47 AM.

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