Dirty Dick's Dilemma by Will Lawson

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Dirty Dick of Yalgobin
   Lived in a hut apart from men;
Marked by the years and seared by sin,
   He swore he'd never see town again;
Talked to the trees and talked to his dog,
Or the sheep or a snake or a hollow log ---
   He lived like a dog in his den.

There came a wag to his hut one day
   When Dirty Dick was out,
Who chalked on his door ere he went his way
   Through the burning, blazing drought,
"Dirty Dick of Yalgobin
Keeps the dirtiest hut I've ever seen,
   Of that there is no doubt."

When Dirty Dick came home that night
   He saw the message there;
But he could neither read nor write
   And he could only stare
And say "It's something the boss wants done;
I'll have to find some son-of-a-gun
   To settle this affair."

He pulled the door from its hinges down
   And slung it on his back,
And started off for Budgery Town
   Along the Budgery track.
Eighteen miles it was, no less,
Of heat and thirst and weariness ---
   It made Dick's muscles crack.

"Read what's wrote on me door," said Dick
   To the boss of the Budgery pub.
Whose heart was kind and whose brain was quick
   To save old Dick a snub.
He said "It says I'm to give you two
Of the biggest beers a man can brew
   To sleep off in the scrub."

When Dirty Dick of Yalgobin,
   Who lives in a hut apart from men.
Gets thirsty now, he says with a grin,
   "I'd better get back to the pub again."
He shoulders his door and they yell with fun
To see him coming in storm or sun
   Where Budgery's streets close in.

The message that's written on old Dick's door
   Has faded in storm and drought;
But he sits and reads it as if he was sure
   He knew what 'twas all about.
"Dirty Dick of Yalgobin
Has had more free beer than you've ever seen ---
   That's how he makes it out.

First published
in The Bulletin, 21 August 1940;
and later in
Australian Bush Songs and Ballads edited by Will Lawson, 1944;
Old Ballads From the Bush edited by Bill Scott, 1987; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Katherine Bell, 2007.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 21, 2012 8:48 AM.

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