The Joy Ride by C.J. Dennis

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Ah Gawd! It makes me sick to think
   Of what I 'eard an' seen;
Poor 'Arry like a wet rag flung
   Across the wrecked machine;
An' Rose, 'er face all chiner-white
   Against the gory green.

Now 'Arry Cox 'e drives a car
   For Doctor Percy Gray.
Ses 'e to me: "On Sund'y nex'
   The Doc. will be away.
'Ow is it for a little trip
   To Fernville for the day?

"I know two bonzer girls," 'e ses;
   "Fair 'otties, both, they are.
There's Rose who serves behind the joint
   In Mudge's privit bar,
An' Lena Crump who jerks the pump
   Down at the Southern Star."

Now, who'd refuse a Sund'y trip
   With girls an' all give in?
The car was there an' oil to spare.
   To rat would be a sin!
An' who'd refuse a drop o' booze
   When pals is flush o' tin?

Wot all the courts an' papers say
   Can't add to my distress....
Rose, with the blood upon 'er face
   An' on 'er crumpled dress!
An' that poor champ who got the bump --
   Ah, Gawd! 'E was a mess!

The girls 'ad stout at ten mile out,
   An' we was drinkin' beer.
I swear they lies like 'ell who ses
   That we was on our ear!
For we was both, I take me oath,
   As sober as me here.

Now, Lena was a dashin' piece,
   'Igh-spirited an' flash.
'Twas plain enough to me that day
   That 'Arry'd done 'is dash.
An' Rose -- (Ah! how 'er eyes did stare)
   Rose was my speshul mash.

It's easy now fer folks to talk
   Who might have done the same.
We meant no 'arm to anyone,
   An' 'Arry knew 'is game.
'Twas like a flash, the skid -- the crash.
   An' we was not to blame.

I wisht I could shut out that sight;
   Fergit that awful row!
Poor Rose!  'Er face all chiner-white,
   Like I can see it now;
An' 'Arry like a heap o' clothes
   Jist chucked there any'ow.

They ses we painted Fernville red;
   They ses that we was gay;
But wot come after dull's me mind
   To wot them liars say. 
We never dreamed of death an' 'ell
   When we set out that day.

'Twas ev'nin' when we turned for 'ome:
   The moon shone full that night:
An' for a mile or more ahead
   The road lay gleamin' white:
An' Rose sat close aside o' me.
   'Er face turned to the light.

Wot if we sung a song or two?
   Wot it they 'eard us shout?
Is song an' laughter things to curse
   An' make a fuss about?
"Go faster! faster!" Lena screams.
   An' 'Arry let 'er out.

I'd give me soul jist to ferget.
   Lord!  how 'er eyes did stare!
'Er kisses warm upon me lips,
   I seen 'er lyin' there.
Blood on 'er face, all chiner-white,
   An' on 'er yeller 'air.

I never took no 'eed o' pace
   (I've been on twenty trips).
An' Rose was restin' in me arms,
   'Er cheek against my lips.
A precious lot I dream of skids,
   A lot I thought o' slips.

I only know we never thinks --
   I know we never dreams
Of folk walkin' on that road;
   Till, sudden, Lena screams....
An', after that, the sights I saw
   I've seen again in dreams.

We never seen the bloke ahead!
   'Ow can they call us rash?
I jist seen 'Arry move to shove
   'Is arm around 'is mash;
I seen 'er jump to grab the wheel,
   Then, Lord!...there came the smash!

Aw, they can blame an' cry their shame!
   It ain't for that I care.
I held 'er in my arms an' laughed....
   Then seen 'er lying' there,
The moonlight streamin' on 'er face,
   An' on 'er yeller 'air.

First published in The Bulletin, 20 March 1913;
and later in
Backblock Ballads and Other Verses by C.J. Dennis, 1918.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 20, 2013 7:28 AM.

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