bush poetry 

of 

merv webster

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In Australia, copyright law is contained in the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act), and in court decisions that have interpreted the provisions of the Act. The Act is amended from time to time to keep the law up to date.

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Beside all that, when you get down to tin tacks, it's just UnAustralian.  Don't you think?

The following material in my books is Copyrighted and approval must be sought before copying any parts herewith and permission must be obtained from me before performing any works for monetary gain.

Appreciate your support
Merv Webster

In 1995 I began compiling my first book of written bush verse, Tales of Uncle Jim, and then in 1996, bush poet, Neil McArthur encouraged me to have a go at performing my poems at the Bundy Mob's Bush Poets Muster.  This was the beginning of my association with performance poetry and over the next four years I enjoyed a measure of success at various competitions held around the country. See ACHIEVEMENTS page.  

    My goal was to be accepted by my peers as an original writer of rhyming verse as well as being a performer of bush verse and have them accepted as a form of entertainment.   Since 2000, Chris and I have put together our own show of bush verse and yarns called, 'Laughter and Tears from the Bush', and presented it at various events around Australia.  See our PERFORMANCE page for details and photographs. 

CLICK ON IMAGES ABOVE TO VIEW CONTENTS OF EACH BOOK

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SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

1995 - 84 PAGE BOOK OF BUSH VERSE 

CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED POEMS FOR WORDS

THE BENEFICIAL DUFFING THE WEDDING THE ART OF MILKING OLD BLACKIE
UNCLE JIM'S COOKING GINGER'S DEBT THE WITNESSES THE DEAL
THAT OLD GOAT SMELL THE CHASE THE OLD COW DUCK AND JUMP
SNEAKY SNOOPY THE MEDICINE THE HORSE SALE THE OLD BLUE BITCH
FORGETFUL JIM LUCKY TOUGH AND DETERMINED JIM'S FEAR OF MUTTON
THE SONG DAD WROTE PAYBACK IN THE BUSH BALANCING THE BOOKS IT'S SAD HOW WE'VE FORGOTTEN
THE FISHING TRIP THE SCOUT CAMP HONESTY THE BEST POLICY MUSTERING "BALGOWNIE"
THE LESSON OF RESPONSABILITY JIM'S SECRET

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                                               THE BENEFICIAL DUFFING

Old Uncle Jim lived in the bush out Moonie river way
and finished stock on prickly pear, but balked when folk would say.
"Why don't you sell them loc'lly Jim; the money's best right here."
While others pressed, "Try Brisbane mate; the money's there I fear."

As muster time come 'round again the stock had to be sold,
so saddling up old Jim prepared to ride off in the cold.
Then as he searched the paddock, where he thought his stock should be,
he could not find a single beast and went right off his tree.

"They've cut me fence!" was what Jim roared "and duffed the lot by heck!
Just let me find the thieving curs, I'll wring their flam'in necks." 
"They've tried to hide their tracks as well by burning off I see.
They'll rue the day when it comes time to meet the likes of me."

He picked their trail as best he could though night got in his way.
"I'll sleep right here" said Uncle Jim, "but rise at break of day."
Though stiff and sore old Jim was up before the crack of dawn
and swore that when he caught the crooks they'd wish they’d not been born. 

I have a hunch thought Uncle Jim on where they plan to go,
and on his face a cheeky grin revealed he might just know.
His hunch was right the stock were there in wagons at the rail.
"Now how to find these thieving crooks?" He'd put these blokes in jail.

Jim walked towards the railway yards to see what he could find,
and straight away he spied the boys the ones who robbed him blind.
Most bushman would have done their blocks and dropped them on the spot,
but Jim he was a thinking man, he'd teach these boys a lot.

He strode towards the boys he knew his face gave nought away,
but all the time he'd on his mind just how these boys would pay.
"You lads have done a mighty job, it seems you've read my mind;
to bring the stock down to the rail; the thought was rather kind." 

"I'm giving you a pound a piece, for surely that is fair,
and when you get to Brisbane lads you'll meet the Agent there.
We'll have a talk on your return, I'm sure you've lots to say. 
Now off you go and do the job and get things underway."

They did the job and came on home their faces rather red, 
apologised and told the tale of how they got misled.
"We have two girls we'd like to wed as we do love them so;
that's why we stole the stock from you;  'twas stupid now we know."

"I see your plight," said Uncle Jim, "and think I understand,
though don't condone your efforts though to win a lass' hand.
I'd like to help your dreams come true, here's forty pound apiece,
but never let me hear of you at odds with the Police."

They took to heart what Jim had said and both lived happy lives,
but kept the secret to themselves and never told their wives.
One day perhaps they'd tell their sons, if tempted they should be, 
the beneficial duffing tale old Jim had told to me.

Based on a true story.

©Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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                                                    UNCLE JIM'S COOKING

Two days of droving at our backs Jim gave a great cooee!
We'd reached Balgownie's grid at last and just in time for tea.
I thought the place was looking good, but mostly on my mind
was climbing from this saddle which was killing my behind.

We settled all the cattle in the temp'rary holding yards
and figured since we worked so hard a swim was on the cards.
"I sense you'd like a dip!" cried Jim, "and as you've worked so well
a man had better let you go; you're busting I can tell."

He said he'd even cook the tea, which really wasn't Jim, 
but still we never knocked him back and set off for our swim.
I noticed as we walked away Jim looking on the ground
and thought ... what was he looking for ... though didn't hang around.

With two days dust upon our frames the water sure felt great
and knowing Jim was cooking tea we thought ... you beauty mate.
We spent an hour all horsing 'round, then headed back to camp.
Our clothes were smelling better now, though soaked and rather damp.

We tried to wring them out a bit and hung them on a bough
as Jim cried, "Come and get it boys your tuckers on right now!"
We sure were all a hungry lot and soon were tucking in, 
while Jim had plastered on his face a silly kind of grin.

The tucker in itself looked good though couldn't make it out;
we'd never seen the likes of it and we had been about.
The texture was all mushy with a rusty coloured look,
a brew we should have realised that only Jim could cook?

Then as we kept on eating you could feel the grit inside,
but no one said a single thing, none dared to hurt his pride.
I then recalled as I had left Jim looking on the ground
and wandered what in fact it was that Uncle Jim had found?

The fireplace then revealed a clue which came as no real shock;
Jim used a rusty plough disc for a flam'in Chinese woc.
He'd thrown the tucker on the thing and as he stirred it 'round
the rust and dirt and God knows what was truly well in ground.

Our bowels were not to good next day and did we do it hard, 
though no one said a thing to Jim while branding in the yard.
When tucker time came 'round that night we hinted to old Jim,
"We'll take our turn with tea tonight. You duck down for a swim"


©Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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FINALIST IN THE 1998 BUSH LAUREATE AWARDS

SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

1997 - 138 PAGE BIOGRAPHY OF A DREADNOUGHT BOY 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY AND POEMS

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SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

1998 - 84 PAGE BOOK OF BUSH VERSE & YARNS

CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED POEMS FOR WORDS

THE WIFES'S REVENGE REMINISCING WITH HENRY FEEDING THE MOB THE MARKET
HUNGERFORD THE SECRET'S OUT A BITE ON WORDS  FOR I'VE HIS BLOOD IN ME
THE LARRIKIN AND HIS SCHEME THE DOLLAR FORTY CHIPS SILVER SPUR'S SECRET MY MATE BERT
A PIG DOG TALE  THE UNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHEDLIC STEW LATE FOR SCHOOL
THE ROSEBUD ROUSEABOUT PICANINNY DAWN DOWN ON HIS LUCK BACK THERE
TO HAVE LOVED A FRIEND A FISHY TALE THE RIDE THE COURAGE OF THE GREY
THOSE YANKS BITTER SWEETS THE TRAGEDY OF EMMA'S DREAM TILL I FIND A FLAMIN' COVER
WHAT SORT OF WINTER GUNLOM AT KAKADU KATHLEEN THE JAWOYN OF NITMILUK

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                          THE WIFE'S REVENGE

"I'll have a sip of beer my dear,"
The wife would always say.
I was not one for sharing see,
She knew that anyway.

The sharing wasn't my concern,
But would I have enough?
To see me through the whole weekend;
Her friends thought I was tough. 

"Now if you want a beer," I'd say,
"Why don't you let me know;
I'll buy a little extra then, 
Yes while I'm on the go."

No, she would wait 'til Sunday 'arve,
When I was on the lounge.
Then when the game had just begun,
She started on the scrounge.

"I'll have a sip of beer my dear,"
Which sent me off my head.
"You should have told me Friday 'arve,
So drink some tea instead."

"You're mean," she'd say, "and selfish too,
You never want to share,
I feel that you don't love me dear 
Or even seem to care."

It was the same old story line
When ev'ry Sunday came.
She knew I would not share my beer,
Though asked me all the same.

Then came a weekend I recall
That had been very hot.
Seems all the beer I'd brought on home
I'd drunk the flamin' lot.

The footy match was not much fun
No, not without a beer,
When from the kitchen came that voice,
"I'll have a sip my dear."

"You know I've got none left," I said,
Sarcasm in my tone.
"Then may I have this one?" she asked,
"Left sitting on its own."

She'd somehow found another beer,
I couldn't believe my eyes.
"You've Buckley's chance!" I yelled at her
And ran to claim the prize.

She pleaded, "May I have a sip?
I told you it was there."
"No way!" I cried and sculled it down,
She whinged it wasn't fair.

The awful taste it hit me then,
My face went rather white,
And laughing with a dev'lish grin
She thought it quite a sight.

She'd found an empty stubby there
And filled it to the brim,
With soap suds from the washing up,
My lot was rather grim.

My greed had been my downfall mate;
She'd fin'ly found a way 
Of teaching me what sharing meant,
Revenge was hers that day.

©Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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                                                 TO HAVE LOVED A FRIEND

An empty stare betrayed her loss and tears flowed unrestrained,
Though heartfelt words tried hard to heal, a sadness still remained.
So limp and soft her once strong hand hung loosely in my grip,
I felt at loss with what to say, the words escaped my lips.
Fresh flowers on the mound of dirt paid tribute to her friend,
Whose bridle she clutched in her hand, so little in the end.

We only went to trim the feet of our old Shetland Snow,
He showed the signs of foundered hooves, mate's gait was getting slow.
Her young friend shared the block with him some other horses too,
But when we cornered all the mob, defiant they shot through.
The filly though just stood confused, she sensed my daughter there,
Desire to join the others though reflected in her stare.

My gentle words were meant to coax, to reassure her ears,
An outstretched arm was meant to calm and nullify her fears.
Then in a flash she'd made her mind no longer would she wait,
And dashed past me with lightning speed, she meant to join her mate.
Her flight forced her to race between a concrete trough and me,
When suddenly, her forefoot slipped, and caused the tragedy.

Momentum forced her frame to slide through moisture and the mud,
Then concrete crushed her forehead bone, soft muzzle filled with blood.
She thrashed about in frantic throes which chilled me to the bone,
My daughter cried, "Please help her dad, please help my strawb'ry roan!"
I threw myself upon her head and held the filly down,
Then sent my girl to seek some help, to fetch the vet from town.

A sedative it eased her pain while vet he worked to save,
The failing force within her friend, the situation grave.
Her frame so still, her breathing rough, now time would only tell,
If she would lose her fav'rite mate, the waiting it was hell.
As sedative then ran its course she started to respond,
My daughter spoke to reassure her love and life long bond.

The trauma drained her filly though, her mind was not her own,
She thrashed and struggled all the more, each breath a muffled moan.
Her hurt was more than we could bear, my daughter said mid tears,
"I know I love my filly Dad, she's been my friend for years,
But I can't bear to see her pain, we must do what is kind,
Please let her go and be at peace, my love is not so blind."

Then as we said our last goodbyes to our dear equine friend,
The fatal dose of sedative then quietly brought her end.
For months my daughter felt her loss her friendship she did crave,
And often sought to sit and talk by her young filly's grave.
I felt so proud the other day, her words I do recall,
"It's better to have loved a friend, than had no friend at all."

©Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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FINALIST IN THE 2000 BUSH LAUREATE AWARDS

SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

1999 - 84 PAGE BOOK OF BUSH VERSE & YARNS

CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED POEMS FOR WORDS

LET'S KEEP ALIVE THE DROVER'S DAY I'M NOT RIDING SIR THE CURING OF YOUNG FRED MCPHEE A BITE BEYOND BELIEF
A FEW WORDS A BUSHMAN'S LOVE DAN'S NIGHT OUT B25
BERT'S WILL THE OLD WIDOW FLO THE LAMENT OF CHARLES E. BYRD WALZTING MATILDA - AN ALLEGORY
BIB BOB'S FROM SPLITTER'S CREEK WILL AND THE THIEF THE ROSE FROM THE GARDEN BILL AND THE BLONDE
SWEET MADELINE A SURE THING WHERE DID I COME FROM DAD I'LL N'ER FORGET THAT DAY OLD MATE
THE BALLAD OF THE BLOWFLY DIVINE JUSTICE SARAH THE PESSIMIST AND THE OPTIMIST
JUDAS DE VERSE WHO'D LIKE TO GO TO HEAVEN THE DROVER'S CHOICE

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                                      THE CURING OF YOUNG FRED McPHEE

On the outer Paroo where most septics are few
And the outhouse has still pride of place;
Poor old Toby McPhee worked a small property
With his son and his darling wife Grace.

When the milking was due and the harvesting too,
His son Fred seemed to just disappear.
Though they looked everywhere this bewildered old pair
Found no trace of their poor little dear.

I've the paddock to plough and I need the boy now
As the horses are harnessed and ready.
Then he saw the smoke rise and to Toby's surprise;
'Twas the outhouse that hid his young Freddy.

"So the silly young bloke seems to fancy a smoke.
Well I've just the right cure then for him."
As he led the horse team Toby's eyes gave a gleam
And the lazy lad’s future looked dim.

He then hooked the team to the log skids on the loo,
While the slack was worked out of the chain.
With the reins in his hand he then gave the command
And both horses then took up the strain.

Poor young Fred he was perched on the seat when it lurched,
Though soon ended up down on the floor.
With Fred's pants 'round his knees Toby heard his wild pleas,
But he goaded his horses some more.

The lad's fag hit the pan and a fire soon began
With the paper and sawdust alight.
Then the skids hit a hollow and what was to follow
Was one hell of a horrible sight.

That pan flew in the air and though Fred crouched in prayer
All the angels they must have been out.
For the team in a trot had sent airborne the lot
And the contents were scattered about.

Toby's lungs out of air he then reined in the pair
And the curing had come to a close.
Fred emerged from the door looking terribly sore,
While the pong was quite strong on the nose.

When there's work now to do on the outer Paroo
Our young Fred McPhee's work is hectic.
For he saves all his dough, but it's not for smokes though,
As their place is now going septic.

©Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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                                                                SARAH

Head stockman for Ned Price her father worked on Magnet Downs; 
a loner and a bushman who'd a phobia of towns. 
He loved the isolation of the far north station runs, 
while Sarah she played carer to his motherless three sons. 
Year in, year out she kept his house, though yearned a female friend; 
the long hot nights and lonesome days, they never seemed to end. 

For sixteen years she played that role, her childhood passed her by, 
instead of girlish laughter Sarah sought somewhere to cry. 
Her clothes were men's fare ... shirt and pants ... her hands were callused too; 
oh how she longed to get away and live like townsfolk do. 
She dreamed of dresses, dances and the company of friends, 
but morning light would render all her dreams to dreary ends. 

A stranger stopped to stay a while for Ned had found him work, 
his ways were flash and carefree, while his smile was more a smirk. 
He sensed the insecurity that plagued poor Sarah's life, 
then played upon her heartstrings, though his song was penned with strife. 
So masterful the melodies, they stole sweet Sarah’s heart, 
within the month she’d left with him; this man she called ... her Bart. 

For near nine months they lived as swells and tasted town delights, 
till deep in debt and desperate they fled like frightened kites. 
Bart headed for the Bloomfield, where he'd mined for tin before, 
and home would be a shanty isolated from the law. 
Exhausted and her child near due poor Sarah lived in dread 
of life in isolation and the gloom which lay ahead.

She raised her first-born daughter by the Bloomfield's Upper Arm 
and Bart the artful lover ... well ... he’d lost his luring charm. 
He'd fossick for their livelihood, which sometimes paid quite well, 
but Bart would go on drunken sprees and leave them in that hell. 
So often left with little food, bush tucker was their fare 
until her demon reappeared. Complain? She did not dare. 

She'd been the subject of his rage on more than one account, 
so for her little daughter's sake, this ploy was paramount. 
Her lot was further burdened for within her womb there lay, 
the miracle of life once more; a son now on his way. 
'Twas just another mouth to feed ... was what filled Sarah's head, 
no sparkle filled this mother's eyes; salt water welled instead. 

Most fathers would be jubilant to have a new born son, 
but love was some forsaken thing and Bart had room for none. 
He often binged in China Camp for rum had claimed his brain, 
while Sarah's isolation slowly sent the girl insane. 
Like feral creatures of the bush her infants roamed at will 
and Sarah's soul just pined away till slowly she grew ill. 

'Twas in the early part of June, the day she turned eighteen, 
that drunken creature known as Bart returned upon the scene. 
He found the shanty empty and devoid of human form, 
the silence ... like a deathly calm that comes before the storm. 
From constant bingeing on the rum Bart thought his head would burst, 
so staggered down towards the creek to quench his fiery thirst.

Then as he cupped its contents, which was cold and crystal clear, 
Bart's face became so ghostly white, his eyes were filled with fear. 
For in its depths he saw three forms all pale and void of life; 
the family he'd never known ... his children and his wife. 
He buried them beside its bank, then simply walked away 
and where Bart went ... well no one cared ... not even to this day. 

It seems poor Sarah lost her mind and did what she thought best; 
she drowned her infants, then herself. She found eternal rest. 
An old man just some months ago recalled this tale to me, 
I know it made me cry a lot. Did it do that to thee? 
And LORD ... when it comes time to judge the living and the dead ... 
please think of Sarah and her kids ... you saw the life they led. 


©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

This tale was related to me by an old friend. Apparently it took place in Northern Queensland, but the names have been changed. My wife when she read the poem asked what eventually happened to Bart. My reply was, “No one really seemed to care. Sadly, there have been lots of Sarah's in this life. To their memories. Sarah won the serious section for written verse at The Australian Bush Poetry Championships atYarrawonga-Mulwala in 1999. 

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SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

2000 - 84 PAGE BOOK OF BUSH VERSE & YARNS

CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED POEMS FOR WORDS

THE HOMESTEAD TODAY IT ISN'T SO THE PARK BENCH RECONCILIATION THE YOUNG DOG AND THE ROO
CATHERINE [KATE] BUCHANAN THE WISH JUDGE'S COMMENTS THE ULTIMATUM
KAR KEYS G'DAY I'M KING OLD MATE TOM LOCKIE - ARTESIAN COUNTRY TOURS BOTANICAL JARGON
THE TRIAL AT BLINKANDMISS THE BLUFF YOU'RE JOKING!  MILK IN BILLY TEA IT'S NOT AUSTRALIAN
DANIELLE'S LAMB GUNSYND - THE GOONDIWINDI GREY THE PENMAN OF THE PLAINS WHERE DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?
A LOO[WD] CONVERSATION A BUSH KID'S PLEA A RUM TALE THEY DON'T BITE LIKE THEY USED TO
MISSING JENNY A TIGHT SITUATION I WONDER AT TIMES IF WE'VE FAILED ANOTHER RUM TALE
YOU DO US PROUD

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                                           A LOO[WD] CONVERSATION

The sound of country music rang down town in old Peel street,
While once again I set up camp amid the throbbing beat,
Of guitars, drums and didg'ridoos beside Frank Turton's chooks,
To share with folk my love of verse and flog me tapes and books.

Then strike me pink old nature called, so had to slip away,
And being air-conditioned like Grace Bros. saved the day.
The toilet there was unisex, but thought I was alone,
When to my right I heard a ring - a flam'in mobile phone.

Some voice then answered, "Campware here, oh hello Miss McBride."
When stone the crows - another ring - but from my left hand side.
A woman's voice said, "Hosiery, Miss Makim, how’d you do,"
And there I was perched on the throne, caught right between the two.


It's really hard to concentrate with all that in your ear,
In fact I had to come to grips with why I'd come in here.
The conversations going on both had a diff'rent theme,
Which had my mind a wee bit tossed, confusion reigned supreme.

"Two padded bras," Miss Makim asked, "They both must be the same."
"But room for three," campware replied, “With self supporting frame."
"Your pref'rence is convertible and satin finish too."
"Though shade cloth inserts are a must, to let a breeze blow through."

"And do we have some knickers which would match the bras - in black?"
"Of course they’ve got the bottoms in and zip up front and back."
“You want some with elastic in, but something that will last.”
"We have a range that slip up quick and come down just as fast."

Then as I heard the cisterns flush, I thought hell what a pain,
Transacting business in the loo, can really be a drain.
I reached out for some toilet roll to wrap up why I came,
When spare me days, 'twas nothing there, but cardboard roll and frame. 

What was a bloke to do I thought, I'm stuck here all alone,
When suddenly it crossed my mind - I'd brought my mobile phone.
I dialled the information line to seek the number out,
Then figured I'd ring toiletry, they'd have some rolls no doubt.

But when I punched the numbers in I heard a ring near by.
That's strange, I thought, then heard a voice say, "Toiletry, it's Di."
"Oh Di," I said, "it's Mervyn here, I'm stuck here in your store,
I'm in your loo and out of rolls so could you bring some more."

There was a sudden silence, as the phone went kind of dead,
But somewhere close I heard a scream as some sweet voice then said,
"Hey Merv I'd like to help you out, but sweetheart this is true,
You see I'm only two doors down and out of paper too."

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

While I was sitting outside Grace Bros. in Peel street Tamworth promoting my new book and our tape, both of which had made the Bush Laureate Awards, I was intent on writing a poem. I pondered on what to write about when from among all the noise and confusion I came up with the above. Must have been the combination of the Panamax and the Coke! 


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                                         THE PARK BENCH RECONCILIATION

The scent of spring lay in the air and sun's rays soaked the lawn, 
Inviting me to ... rise my son! Come greet another dawn! 
Already townsfolk bustled by ... I bid them... "How’d you do!" 
Then sat upon my fav'rite bench with clothes still wet from dew. 

Three long and lonely nights I'd camped there in the city park, 
Though only slept spasmodic'ly, as somewhere from the dark 
The scream of sirens echoed, making statements through the night; 
It's murder, theft and overdose! The end of some soul’s fight! 

The lure of lights and city life, enticed me, filled my head, 
With notions of new freedoms ... for the bush was surely dead. 
So boring, so predictable, the same old crowd of friends; 
With life styles going nowhere and their futures down dead ends. 

And that was just three months ago and now it's come to this; 
My savings gone, no sign of work and most of all I miss .... 
The Mum I took for granted, who was always there for me, 
But selfish desperation made these facets hard to see. 

'Twas then I glimpsed the presence of a woman drawing near, 
Which commanded my attention, for her features laid so clear, 
A certain sense of emptiness - so etched upon her face, 
And watched her tie the bouquets to the bench with yellow lace. 

My presence of no consequence, I heard her gently say. 
"How are you John and you too Mark, 'tis such a lovely day? 
I miss you two... you both know that... this year has gone so fast. 
I'm doing rather nicely John, I've found a flat at last." 

"The boys from down the R.S. L. ... your mates from Vietnam ... 
Had heard you'd lost the battle love and feared I'd come to harm; 
So found a flat ... it's lovely John ... and not too far from town 
And when I need a few things love, I don't mind walking down." 

"I understood your trauma dear, the torments of your mind 
And how you fought the phantoms of that war you left behind. 
The demon drink, the vagrancy, 'til fin'ly in the end 
You lost your fight on this park bench ... alone, without a friend." 

"Young Mark was only just sixteen and could not understand 
The hand life had dealt out to him and often would demand; 
An explanation why his Dad was no part of his life ... 
I lost him John; he hit the streets where heroin was rife." 

"For weeks I searched the streets in vain, 'til finally I read, 
Some kids were dealing in the park, or so the paper said. 
Then just as you found peace of mind, one dark and lonely night; 
They found our Mark upon this bench. He too had lost the fight." 

At that she rose, then paused a bit, and said "Adieu my men; 
Until this time next year my loves, when we will meet ag'en." 
Then took a step, but paused again, to look me in the eye. 
Her final words. "Go home my son. You're much too young to die." 

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

Many of us can probably relate to the words above, as aspects of the story may have touched our own personal lives. I know they have mine and many of my friends. I look forward to the day when the words of Revelation 21: 4 and 5 become a reality on this earth. ‘And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.’ 

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SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

2001 - 84 PAGE BOOK OF BUSH VERSE & YARNS 

CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED POEMS FOR WORDS

THE BATTLING LITTLE BILBY

WHO CARES

THE TEMPERANCE MEETING

THE BALLAD OF A NATION 

THE RABBIT SHOOT

THE COCKIE'S LAMENT

THE BALLAD OF NO EXCUSE

MURDER! BLOODY, MURDER!  

THE INTERVIEW

IT'S TOUGH TO BE A KELLY  

DUCK FOR COVER

THE APPRENTICE BULLOCKY 

THE PASSING OF STUMPY SHORE

EXCUSE ME! IT'S THE GIDYEA

THE RAINMAKER WRAGGE

I'M BOUND TO BE UP FIRST

THE MUSHROOM DILEMMA

BOOBERA DREAMING 

THE TALE OF TALWOOD TOMMY

RABBIT RUSE

A SHEEPISH TALE

A RUM SOAKED RINGER'S LOGIC 

LIP SERVICE

PAY DAY DILEMMA 

VICTOR STANLEY JONES

LET'S SET OUR CHILDREN FREE

THE FOOTY FINAL.

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A SEQUEL TO BANJO PATERSON'S -  THE MAN FROM IRONBARK

                               MURDER! BLOODY MURDER!

From Hornsby down to Campbelltown, from Penrith to Bondi, 
Each suburb 'round old Sydney town had heard the newsboy's cry. 
"It's murder, bloody, murder folks, it's ten who've come to grief!" 
And even folk from Redfern way would cringe in disbelief. 

There was a ghastly pattern to this madman's mixed up mind, 
For all his victims up till now were barbers of a kind. 
They all were found with bloodied throats, yes, slit from ear to ear; 
The weapon found at ev'ry scene was razor sharp I fear. 
No gilded youth would dare set foot in any barber's shop 
And long hair was a common thing on ev'ry Sydney cop. 

The barber's union secret'ry got calls of, "Help us please!" 
While rumour has it Stefan's left and ducked off overseas. 
Detectives were in search of clues and combed computer files, 
Profilers sat and scratched their heads relying on their wiles. 
Was jealousy the motive then to thin the barbers ranks? 
Or were the killings sweet revenge, a payback for their pranks. 

The coroner then found a clue beneath the victims nails; 
Some facial hair of quite some length, the kind you find on males. 
Forensic hoped to crack the case with new technology, 
Revealing its genetic code to solve the mystery. 
A little band of scientists were soon to ascertain 
The facial hair was known to them, a rather unique strain. 

It matched the hair some peeler kept of some up-country chap; 
Some barber tried to cut his throat and caused a violent scrap. 
They say it was a harmless joke, done simply for a lark 
And records showed the victim was from up at Ironbark. 
Detectives then swooped on the town and searched from house to house 
And took a sample from the beard of ev'ry youth and spouse. 

To their surprise they found a match and strike me don't you know; 
It was the grandson of the man those many years ago. 
They took him in to custody and found beneath his beard 
A livid mark from ear to ear just as they all had feared. 
It seems that ruckus years ago had traumatised the mind 
Of ev'ry male his granddad bore, according to his kind. 

And so another case was solved ... but wait ... there's news 'round town 
That Sydney had some arsonist now burning bike shops down. 
Detectives say they've found a note which has them baffled still. 
"My granddad hailed from Eaglehawk and suffered from a spill" 
 

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

Most of us were brought up on the verses of Banjo Paterson and enjoyed the humorous tales of 'The Man From Ironbark' and 'Mulga Bill's Bicycle'. Today's world is a very different place and the irony of it all is that the above scenario could possibly happen. Scary, eh! 

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 Winning poem in the 2003 Australian Bush Poetry's Associations Written Competition.

                    THE PASSING OF STUMPY SHORE

The Constable had found the man 'round five on Friday morn,
Apparently while on his shift from midnight through till dawn.
Two youths, with blood stains on their clothes, detained drunk in the park
Disclosed they'd rolled some homeless bloke, sometime just after dark.
As Sergeant in this country town I'd lived round here for years;
Observed some pretty callous things, but this left me in tears. 
The aged and fragile frame lay slumped there in a pool of mud
And through his snow white hair and beard was clotted, crimson blood.

The Constable looked up and said, "There fam'ly we can call?
For surely someone knows him Sarge. You know the bloke at all?" 
"He's know 'round here as Stumpy lad, been here a year or two.
Came out way back in sixty-three to work on Beetaloo,
Then worked his way to overseer and often came to town;
Was captain of the football team, a sportsman of renown.
He married pretty Sheila Clark and when his son was four
They called conscripts for Vietnam, which saw him go to war."

"A war of conflicts that would scar and traumatise the mind,
Confusing, cruel, and futile acts some failed to leave behind.
Inherent post traumatic stress was that war's legacy,
Together with the stump you see attached below his knee. 
The old man lying there my lad is testimony too
A life spent fighting guilt and fear his mind could not subdue.
Poor Sheila shared his sleepless nights, the flashbacks and his pain,
But in the end she lost the fight as Stumpy left again."

"He camped in squats around the town and drowned his pain with wine,
Withdrew into his own quiet world, content now to resign,
From all of life's inequities, the company of folk,
But all the town saw Stumpy Shore, a harmless poor old bloke.
His Sheila raised their only son, who still lives here today;
Who cared for her through all those years until she passed away.
She'd told him of the man she'd known before he went to war,
So in his mind he held no grudge against old Stumpy Shore." 

"In fact one day down by the creek, while Stumpy washed his socks,
He saved a lad from drowning as he'd dived onto some rocks.
The boy he saved that very day was his own grandson Kim;
Ironical, I guess eh lad, that Stumpy should save him."
"You know Sarge, when I found the man, I thought him just a bum
And judged the bloke on what I saw, but this has left me numb. 
The facts are mighty sob'ring Sarge and now I feel real bad.
You reckon we can find his son?" ... "You're talking to him lad."

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

The experiences of integration back into society by many of Australia's returned soldiers were often only known by close family members, if that. Whether the result of today's open-mindedness, the plight of veterans lives after Vietnam has been more of an open book. Their stories are quite sobering, touching the lives of both city and country folk. Lest we forget.  

FOR AUDIO CLICK ON SOUND CLICK IMAGE

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                          IT'S TOUGH TO BE A KELLY

Born County Antrim, Erin, in eighteen thirty-two; 
The colour of my hair was black, my eyes were greyish blue. 
My mother's name was Mary while my father was James Quinn 
And Ellen was my name in life, one of eleven kin. 
We sailed on board the 'England' as dad planned to immigrate 
Down under to Port Phillip, where he planned to relocate. 
Those childhood days at Moonee Ponds among the woods and hills 
Were precious times to sing and roam, naive to life's cruel ills. 
Our move to Wallan further north would make life bittersweet, 
For there I met an Irishman, who swept me off my feet. 
'Round eighteen years of age I was when I would marry Red 
And when my parents disapproved; we then eloped instead. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

My first child was sweet Mary Jane we baptised at Kilmore. 
We had her, then we lost her; we had our child no more. 
Red joined the Kilmore diggings then in eighteen fifty-three 
And made enough by Christmas time to come on home to me. 
The month before my man returned I'd bore our daughter Anne; 
Then Red bought land at Beveridge, a whole new life began. 
December eighteen fifty-four brought joy into our life, 
For our son Edward joined the world and I was one proud wife. 
Poor Red he had his ups and downs, as times were rather tough, 
But always had a home for us and that was love enough. 
Our Margaret born in fifty-six, they say to some degree, 
Showed such a certain will to live she was so much like me. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

In eighteen fifty-nine Red built a home that was brand new 
And there young James and Daniel, along with Cath'rine too, 
Would join the growing Kelly clan of which I was so proud 
And here we'd build our future dreams for which I prayed aloud. 
But soon the simple life we lived was threatened by police 
As charges laid against our clans were now on the increase. 
Red shaken by the goings on moved us to Avenel, 
But hard times and the alcohol would take its toll as well. 
In August then of sixty-five our Grace was to arrive, 
Though in that year I Iost my Red; he was but forty-five. 
Some said my Red had failed in life, but that is just not true. 
He was my husband whom I loved, his children loved him too. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

I know my temper boiled at times, which made me volatile, 
But widowhood and poverty were hard to reconcile. 
Red's sister Anne and I then clashed and what was the result? 
The Magistrate at Avenel would fine me for assault. 
That was the last straw so to speak, I'd make a move henceforth 
To join my two grass-widow aunts in Greta further North. 
A heavy load then fell on Ned to play a manly role 
And so he did from that time on; God bless the poor child's soul. 
We shared the shanty with my aunts, till in a drunken state 
James Kelly burnt the darn thing down, 'cause he'd become irate. 
I moved to Wangaratta where I worked from my abode, 
Then found a home near Greta on Eleven Mile Creek Road. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

My residence was simple fare, though housed my kids and I 
And board from thirsty travellers would help us all get by. 
My Annie married Alex Gunn in eighteen sixty-nine, 
Then two months later gained my lease and things were looking fine. 
Sad News then come from Glenmore that my dad had passed away; 
Another blow which hit me hard and left me in dismay. 
Young Ned he went off bushranging with Harry Pow'r himself, 
But came home dirty, poor and lean devoid of any wealth. 
They took my Ned before the courts, though never proved a thing 
And some felt he betrayed old Pow'r, but Ned would never sing. 
Persistence though was on their minds, they'd nab him anyhow 
And sent my Ned to Beechworth goal on two occasions now. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

Bill Frost had came into my life and slept oft' by my side, 
Though never kept his promises and his child Ellen died. 
My Annie's Alex went to jail and while he was away 
One Earnest Flood, the Constable, found Annie easy prey. 
The joy of Anna's birth late spring would sadly end in grief, 
As Annie's unexpected death left us in disbelief. 
Then poor Jim not yet fourteen years went up for cattle theft, 
While Ned was sent to Pentridge jail to serve the term still left. 
Around that time a stranger came, who'd share part of my life. 
George King from California and I'd become his wife. 
We named our first child Ellen and our second child was John 
And all the joy now in my life I had not counted on. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

In Feb'uary of sev'nty-four my Ned had gained release 
And had come home a diff'rent lad and planned to keep the peace. 
Life was as good as it would get and though times still were tough; 
Both George and I we paid our way and got by well enough. 
The Squatters 'round the district though and law enforcers too 
Were quite intent to bring us down and that we Kelly's knew. 
Their constant goading forced Ned's hand and he and George as well, 
Would take the bait, retaliate and give them merry hell. 
My Jim came home with two new friends; young Sherritt and Joe Byrne. 
Two boy's who would befriend my Ned as I was soon to learn. 
Then Dan was sent to jail once more, which left Ned rather wild, 
And George would walk out of my life and leave me there with child. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

Ned built the home he promised me while Dan served out his time, 
Then once again Jim was in jail, horse theft they say the crime. 
My Alice came into the world, but little did I know; 
What lay ahead would change our lives; Fitzpatrick's little show. 
That incident then lit the fuse to one almighty fray, 
Which caused my Ned and Dan to flee and I to jail that day. 
Sir Redmond Barry was the judge who satisfied his scorn, 
By handing down a three year term on that October morn. 
Both Ned and Dan said they'd exchange themselves instead of me, 
But now the law saw sweet revenge and just ignored their plea. 
I sat there in my Beechworth cell with sweat upon my brow 
And sensed my boys they would play up, there would be murder now. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

The next time I set eyes on Ned some twenty months had passed 
And sensed his time left here on earth was dwindling rather fast. 
We spoke in Pentridge hospital and then before he died, 
But once back in my dreary cell I cried and cried and cried. 
My Dan was dead, poor Steve Hart too, and young Joe Byrne as well; 
I can't condone the things they did, but life for them was hell. 
My fam'ly were no angels pray and we paid for our crimes, 
Though justice was denied to us so many, many times. 
In Febru'ry of eighty-one I found myself released, 
Though things at home were volatile and hatreds had not ceased. 
The constable young Robert Graham called in one day for tea 
And in good time I came to see the past was history. 
It's tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I am. 

They held a Royal Commission and Traps lost the ranks they prized, 
As treatment t'ward the Kelly clan was strongly criticised. 
My Jim he had his one last fling, which saw him back in goal, 
Though came on home a better man, God bless his weary soul. 
My dear, dear Kate would marry too and raise a family; 
Poor Maggie died in ninety-six, my Jim looked after me. 
In tragic circumstances I would lose my dear Kate too, 
Though Jim and I would raise her kids; the least that we could do. 
Sweet Grace wed young Ned Griffiths, and in my failing years 
My mind goes back to bygone days, which ends up bringing tears. 
I sit here now at ninety-one beside a cosy fire 
To let the poet tell my tale ... my wish and last desire. 
'Twas tough to be a Kelly, but a Kelly, that I was. 

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

Being of Irish descent, I have always felt for the plight of the battler and though many stories have highlighted thestruggle of Ned's life, I felt it was time to let his mum have a word. My tribute to a pioneering lady, who found not only the physical and economic nature of the colony a struggle, but also the social, justice and class structures as well. 

 

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                          THE RAINMAKER CALLED WRAGGE

At Crohamhurst Observat'ry one Clement Wragge esquire, 
A meteorologist of note, did willingly aspire, 
To render his assistance to the Queensland Government, 
Whose voters were in grip of drought and rather discontent. 

This plague of nineteen hundred and two was raging o'er the land 
When Wragge, who had been overseas, now claimed he'd heard first hand 
How grape growers in Italy fired guns into a storm, 
In hope the hail would be dispelled and condensation form. 

Herr Stiger who was German-Swiss designed this vortex gun 
And Wragge felt rather confident this new phenomenon 
Could play a part to paralyse the long-prevailing drought, 
If only Queensland's government were willing to help out. 

The western town of Charleville showed int'rest in the scheme 
And soon the local Aldermen had banded as a team; 
To ascertain from Mr Wragge the possibility 
Of testing out the vortex guns in their vicinity. 

Conjecture was that Charleville was suitable indeed, 
Which saw a motion fin'lly passed and Aldermen agreed 
To buy a batt'ry of six guns with funds they hoped to raise; 
Provided Wragge's known expertise would guide them through this phase. 

The Minister, John Leahy, then promised to provide 
Free transport of the vortex guns and also would confide 
With Government to seek request that should Wragge too be sought 
To travel west to give advice; then certainly he ought. 

The guns were wrought iron, riveted, and conical in shape, 
Allowing for the mortar blast to make a grand escape. 
Some thirteen feet six inches long this cannon did extend, 
Two feet three inches 'cross the mouth; nine inches at its end.

A plate fixed to three iron legs secured the gun in place 
And stood some twenty inches high above a wooden base. 
The Brisbane firm of Harvey built the guns for eight pound each, 
While powder was provided free by Philp for each gun's breech. 

Each had been christened with a name, an individual tag, 
Like Stiger, Philp and Leahy and Suschnig, Harvey, Wragge. 
Though in the bush the drought pressed on and folk were tiring fast 
And if the rains delayed much more they simply wouldn't last. 

Reaction to the enterprise by folk out in the west 
Had dwindled to mixed sentiments and therefore would attest 
To queries made in articles placed in the local rag, 
Requesting where subscriptions went. Where were the guns and Wragge? 

Then finally the guns arrived and kegs of powder too 
And rumour had it Wragge would come within a week or two. 
September saw Professor Wragge arrive in Charleville 
Prepared to share with folk out there his expertise and skill. 

Wragge sensed a certain lethargy when he arrived in town 
And thought the Mayor discourteous and felt somewhat let down. 
Though sev'ral townsfolk and the Mayor, who'd helped to raise the funds, 
Escorted Wragge in search of sites where he could fire the guns. 

T. Meadow's, Ormston's, Billington's and Birstow's would be swell, 
While Spencer's and the Rifle Range were jotted down as well. 
Wragge's lecture at the Albert Hall did not attract the Mayor 
Or many other folk it seemed, which Wragge thought quite unfair. 

Offended by their lethargy Wragge had refused to stay, 
Though helped erect the vortex guns, then set off on his way. 
He left a letter for the Mayor, which stated his disgust, 
Insisting his discourteousness belied his public trust. 

The firing of the vortex guns did not induce the rain, 
But desperate to break the drought the townsfolk tried again. 
The blasts blew holes in two guns sides on that September day 
And still the rains eluded them much to the folks dismay. 

The townsfolk blamed Professor Wragge, who left them on a limb, 
While Wragge blamed failure to comply to guidelines set by him. 
It seems Herr Stiger wrote to Wragge, when he was told the tale, 
Berating him as he'd designed the guns to dispel hail. 

Since then the droughts have come and gone, the floods and fires of hell, 
But towns like good old Charleville have stood up pretty well. 
If some bloke claims he can make rain what goes through bushies minds, 
Is blokes like that are just like things which hang from sheep's behinds. 

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

In nineteen hundred and two, Queensland was in the grip of severe drought when Clement Wragge suggested he could use Stiger Vortex guns to induce rain. The above poem tells the story of what took place. In 1947, some forty five years after the event, one of the guns was retrieved and fired during Charleville's Centenary celebrations and later again when the C.S.I.R.O. were conducting experiments in seeding clouds. One of the guns survives to this day and can be seen standing near the tourist information centre.

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FINALIST IN THE 2004 BUSH LAUREATE AWARDS

SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

2002 - 289 PAGE COMPILATION OF SIX PREVIOUS BOOKS OF BUSH VERSE AND YARNS

CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED POEMS FOR WORDS

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FINALIST IN THE 2006 BUSH LAUREATE AWARDS

SUPPORT PROVIDES INCENTIVE FOR CREATORS TO CONTINUE TO CREATE NEW MATERIAL

Merv Webster
P.O. Box  8211 
Bargara, Queensland.4670

thegrey@tpg.com.au 

PH:0741591868

ALL WORKS ARE COPYRIGHT AND USE OF WORKS MUST BE SOUGHT BY THE AUTHOR

2005 - 100 PAGE BOOK OF BUSH VERSE & YARNS

CLICK ON HIGHLIGHTED POEMS FOR WORDS

THE NELLIES

WHAT DO I TELL MY CHILDREN?

THE STAND AT STINKYBARK CK

I NEVER CRIED FOR ELVIS BUT I SHED A TEAR FOR SLIM

THE COOEE-BOOROO FROM IRELAND AND THE BOOTAMURRA MAN

NEDS ENCOUNTER WITH SNAGS

DEAR OH DEER!

LEICHHARDT'S IN THE BUSH 

WHO WILL SING THEIR PRAISES? 

RBT BLUES

THE BANCROFT REUNION 

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW CRISIS

A SIMPLE WORD OF THANKS

BLACKLISTED 

GERTY GRIBBLE'S DILEMMA

PARADISE WHERE?

HARD HAT HEROES

THE BLUE LIGHT ENCOUNTER

AN OLD MAN’S VOWES  

WHEN THE EVIDENCE WENT MISSING

THE YOWAH ADDICTION

CARAVANNING MAYHEM

WHAT FISH?

THE RELUCTANT BOOTSCOOTER

OLD JACKO IN THE CITY

R.M. WILLIAMS - A MAN WHO HAD TRIED

IT’S NO EXCUSE I FEAR

I WISH I WAS A CROCODILE

ROBBY

GRAN’S LAST WISH

CHASING BUTTONS

WHEN 7 RANG THE GREY

WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH

SOMETHING FOR STEVIE

BLUEY’S REFLECTIONS

A LIFELINE IN THE BUSH

SEARCHING FOR BILLY

THE VIGILANTE GRANNY

WHAT’S WRONG WITH RYME AND METER MATE?

THE POETS AND THE LADY

A JOYOUS CELEBRATION

SAM’S SOLUTION 

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                    WHEN 7 RANG THE GREY

I was jotting down poetic thoughts and making them my own
When I heard the music jingle on my mobile telephone.
Well you could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard,
"It's the Channel seven news room Grey, we need to have a word.

"Mate we've seen your knack for spruiking and relating your bush views
So you're bound to be a natural reporting local news.
Broughy's won the flamin' lotto and he rang and pulled the pin
And we're sure that you can wing it son. We want you to come in."

Well I couldn't knock the old mates back; it's not the Aussie way
So I asked when did they need me like. A voice cried, "Mate today."
Strewth, I thought I'll need to move all right and took off out the door,
'Cause I had to make some changes to my image, that's for sure.

I will need to dye the old grey locks and use some perming stuff, 
But I'll leave some grey tips showing; hell they'll look blonde sure enough.
Then I'll have to get a real bright tie that looks good under lights 
And I'll have to brush some white out on to show me pearly whites.

Then while driving down I'll practise on my great big Broughy smile
Though I'll take the hat and whiskers off, they're not young Robby's style.
When young Justin does his racing tips amid his sporting news, 
He might put me on a winner and I'll take a flamin' cruise. 

Hell, I'll have to get my tongue around that weather blokes flash name;
Scott or Bill would be much simpler, but they just don't sound the same.
Well I'm ready as I'll ever be. I'd best be on my way.
Hey! The news at six on seven, with The Goondiwindi Grey.

As I backed out of my driveway beads of sweat sat on my brow,
When the jingle on my mobile rang. I thought … who's calling now? 
So I stopped and grabbed it from my hip and said real cool, "G'day"
When that voice from channel seven had the following to say.

"Grey! I'm glad we caught you just in time. Young Broughy's rung old son.
He was down a number on the draw and so he never won. 
So Grey thanks for helping out old mate, perhaps another time."
Darn. I guess it's back to old bush verse and spruiking ruddy rhyme.

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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                     IT'S NO EXCUSE I FEAR

We were touring western Queensland when the world cup final came 
And we stayed in good old Hebel so we didn’t miss the game. 
There were drunken, rowdy ringers, the proprietor, Beth and me 
Who were cheering on the Aussies and envisioned victory. 

It was rugby at its finest and our boys sure did us proud, 
But the Pommes were hanging in there and encouraged by the crowd. 
In the final dying seconds we were looking at a draw 
And a further twenty minutes was now on the cards for sure. 

Well you wouldn’t read about it as things seesawed to and fro 
And the menace that we feared the most was .. hey, I think you know. 
Yes the Pommey’s secret weapon, what a truly awesome sight. 
Johnny Wilkinson and his right boot that won the game that night. 

It is true the Pommes won fair and square, but still it irks me some, 
‘Cause they flogged the poor great granddad of my gentle, poor, old mum. 
And to make it worse Prince Harry, who was out here for a spell, 
Was among the flaming spectators that cheered the pommes as well. 

Some weeks later we reached Injune and we stopped to buy some fuel 
When I felt the call a nature that was painful and quite cruel. 
I was settling down to execute what then had to be done 
When I felt a strange sensation like the presence of someone. 

Not an ordinary presence but a right royal one at that 
And it really was quite scary; still I didn’t stop to chat. 
When I paid the fuel attendant I said, "You’ve a problem dear, 
There’s a sort of royal presence in your gents that’s really queer.

She then smiled as she expressed to me, "Prince Harry used the loo. 
He’d dropped in from Tooloombilla and had spent a penny too. 
He is Jackarooing on the place and stopped in here as well 
So I guess it was his presence mate, as far as I can tell." 

With defeat still chewing at me from that finals rugby game 
I released my pent-up feelings and expressed them just the same. 
"I don’t care if he is royalty, it’s no excuse I fear. 
As replacing empty dunny rolls is etiquette out here!"

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

I was watching the news one night when a story on how Prince Harry, who had been working on  Tooloombilla Station west of Injune, came into town and had excited the locals when he called in at the local roadhouse and had visited the Loo there. This was about the time of the World Cup and having been done over by Johnny Wilkinson’s boot I was in a, cut down the tall poppy mood, and young Harry seemed a good candidate.

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AVAILABLE ON CD THE STORYTELLER

PRODUCT PAGE

                     OLD JACKO IN THE CITY

Old Jacko was a bushman who lived out the back of Bourke,
A ringer who for sixty years knew nothing but hard work.
Big Mal, his boss, said, "Jacko mate you're skinny as a rake,
So slip down to the city man and have a flamin' break!"

The old bloke wasn't all that fussed, but Mal said, "No buts, son.
You take your swag and old blue too and have a bit of fun."
The cities razzle-dazzle really blew old Jackos' mind
And Blue marked every light pole in Kings Cross that he could find.

Some dealer asked the ringer if he'd like to score a hit,
So Jacko decked him on the spot. He didn't mind a bit.
A scrawny, scabby tabby then appeared from out a drain
Which sent the old blue cattle dog completely off his brain.

Blue followed Jackos precedent and took the moggy out
And both were feeling pretty good. They didn't might a bout. 
They wandered down the street a way and walked into a bar,
Where Jacko thought the blokes all dressed a little bit bizarre.

Then as he knocked a schooner down he asked this chap how come,
Some blokes were slipping other blokes a rather tidy sum.
"You silly great big sausage dear. We're gay here, can't you tell."
"Who wouldn't be?" smiled Jacko "I'd be rather chuffed as well."

The worms were biting by this time so Jacko turned to Blue
And hinted he could eat a horse and chase the rider too.
They'd had enough of fish and chips and thought they'd have some Thai,
That oriental tucker place big Mal said they should try.

The restaurant was open and the ringer found a seat
And tried to read the menu, but the lingo had him beat.
He called the waiter over, who spoke worse then Jacko read,
So reasoned why not gesture to the little bloke instead.

He pointed to the menu, then to him and down at Blue,
Convinced the confused waiter would now know just what to do.
Then suddenly a grin appeared upon the waiter's dial
And Jacko thought ... he's got it ... and responded with a smile.

The waiter beckoned to old Blue who followed in pursuit
And Jacko thought ... that's service ... and he thought it rather cute.
I wonder what he'll give old Blue; he does deserve a treat.
A change I guess from biscuits and a chunk of old corned meat.

Old Jacko sipped a glass of wine and sat there patiently
And entertained himself by playing spoons upon his knee.
He wondered just what sort of dish the waiter had in mind
He'd never eaten Thai before or tucker of that kind.

Then from the crowded kitchen came the waiter with a tray,
A meat dish cooked in spices and done in the old Thai way.
He lay it on the table and he said "You like it chum?"
But Jacko look dumbfounded and his body went quite numb.

His look was rather fearful like and tears came to his eyes
And all the boys from back of Bourke they would have heard his cries.
For there beneath the crackly was his one and only mate
Old Blue his only friend in life dished up upon a plate.

Poor Jacko went beserk they say and tore the place apart
And ended up a nervous wreck and with a weakened heart.
These days he's in a nursing home and life is full of bliss,
But Jackos never eaten meat from that day down to this.

 ©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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PRODUCT PAGE

                      CARAVANNING MAYHEM

We're as Aussie as a barbecue, fair dinkum as they come,
And we're passionate 'bout our footy and we love a Bundy rum.
We're as true blue as Don Bradman and I'll wager both our pays
We're as ridgy didge as vegemite. No! Mightymight leastways.

We get green and gold malaria at least twice every week.
And the truth be known ... we've got it now ... right as we flamin' speak.
When we see our nations coat of arms we feel a sense of pride.
Well ... that was until we went outback. These days we cringe and hide.

We had bought a brand new four-wheel drive and caravan to boot
And we thought we'd tour Australia. It was bound to be a hoot.
We drove up through Bourke and Charleville and that old mate is where ...
Both those critters on our coat of arms ... attacked us then and there.

We had crossed the bridge at Yo Yo Creek when right there in full view
Was a whopping great big Kangaroo and old man Emu too.
Well they raised our Aussie pride on high ... that's 'till they split those chaps ...
And the emu hit the windscreen and was dumped upon our laps.

It was panic that now overtook this oversized galah,
As he started kicking madly to escape from out the car.
His big beak was pecking firmly at the middle of my groin,
While my manhood stood protected by a pocket full of coin.

The sharp claws were madly thrashing and my wife was not amused
'Cause he lashed out at her torso that was bloodied, cut and bruised.
And whatever emus tend to eat and digest through the day
Was now spread throughout the vehicle as we fought that deadly fray.

The old emu found the window and with freedom now in sight
That bird shredded the upholstery as he kicked with all his might.
We were covered with its feathers and in one all mighty push
He then squeezed on out the window and he headed for the bush.

We were bloodied, bruised and beaten and bewildered and amazed
As we scrambled from our four-wheel drive both still a little dazed.
We were now in need of first aid so we opened our van door
And we climbed inside to find the kit both feeling rather sore.

In the meantime unbeknown to us the big 'roo in despair,
He had clipped our brand new four-wheel drive and hurtled through the air.
When the flying frame of that large beast, which stood near six feet tall,
It had landed in the caravan through awning, glass and all.

On the table there before us stood this stunned 'roo, not quite dead,
When the scream from my old lady triggered something in its head.
In an instant he had grabbed me and had lunged out with his feet
And he shredded my new Levis and then made a quick retreat.

He had landed on the double bed and turned to strike again,
But instead his big tail hit me with excruciating pain.
He then latched onto the missus who by now was just a wreck
And they jumped around together as they grabbed each other's neck.

In that instant I then managed to make for the van's front door
While the missus she kept screaming, "I can't take no flamin' more!"
Now the 'roo he sensed his freedom and both he and my poor wife,
Spilled outside onto the roadway where it bolted for its life.

For the moment we just stood there both bewildered by our plight
And I must confess our torsos they were not a pretty sight.
We then sat and drank the rum we had; we needed a stiff drink.
And we headed back for Melbourne where we both sought out a shrink.

We have sold the four wheel-drive and van to pay our flamin' quack
And we watch the good old tele when we want to go outback.
We have both now turned religious and we daily read the psalms,
But we cringe when we're confronted by our nations coat of arms.

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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-

Available on above CD

                               BLACKLISTED

Through the course of my life I've rode many strange things, 
Like the time on old Chainsaw out at Alice Springs; 
And that camel at Boulia called Topupmebeer, 
But my craziest ride was November last year. 

Neil McArthur had purchased Thong Classic you see 
And he gave me the ride. I was proud as can be. 
It was true that my weight was a flaming disgrace, 
But with Jenny Craig's help I'd be right for the race. 

When the big day arrived I was on a great high, 
Till they gave me pink silks and a purple bow tie. 
Still I swallowed my pride with a green and blue pill, 
Just to help me erase how I looked like a dill. 

Then I strode on outside to the mounting yard there 
And controlled my emotions by saying a prayer, 
But it's hard to control the adrenaline flow 
When your mongrel bred mount goes and stands on your toe. 

Still my focus returned at the barrier gates 
And despite the catcalls from me smart jockey mates. 
When the starter cried racing, what went through my mind, 
Was when Thong Classic jumped would he leave me behind? 

Midst the thunder of hooves and the riders wild screams 
I was jammed in the pack, but was wise to their schemes, 
So I dropped back a little and let the mob pass 
But I'd prove in the straight they were up against class. 

I moved up on the outside astride Bold Eclipse 
When this poncy young jockey bloke puckered his lips. 
Well I kicked well away and I picked up the pace 
And a divot of turf hit him smack in the face.

With the straight just ahead it was now time to move 
And Thong Classic sensed too he had something to prove. 
When I went for the whip the horse lengthened his stride 
And I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. 

From the stands the crowd screamed and were going berserk 
While McArthur cried, "Ride, Pinky ride you great berk." 
Then I stood in the stirrups, applying the whip, 
But a length from the finish ... I felt my foot slip. 

As I crashed to the ground I lay writhing in pain,
When a voice from the dark cried, "You're flaming insane!" 
To my horror I saw from my back on the floor 
My poor wife on the bed looking terribly sore.

She'd a cord in her mouth from my old dressing gown 
And was bowed in the back lying tummy side down. 
She had marks on her thigh from the strokes of my belt, 
While the screams I had heard were from pain she had felt. 

It took months to live down what took place on that night 
And to stave off divorce was a hell of a fight. 
I'm blacklisted from races and all TABs 
And I sleep with darn hobbles strapped round both me knees.

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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Available on above CD

                      GRAN'S LAST WISH

Our Gran, that's on my mother's side, was British born and raised,
Until the age of ten it seems, then Gran was quite amazed 
To find her mum and dad had planned to emigrate for good,
To Sydney in Australia and a brand new neighborhood. 

My mum was born in Sydney and she married there as well 
And that is where she raised me like and by the way I'm Nell.
Last year old Gran was eighty-five and sensed her time was near,
So planned on one last visit back to England late last year.

She stayed there for three months or more with her dear cousin Em.
And emailed every Friday without fail 'round 8 p.m.
Then suddenly the emails stopped, we heard from her no more.
Then late last week the mailman dropped a package at our door.

The stamps were clearly British, so it seemed that Gran was well,
But when we saw the contents it sure shook us for a spell.
Inside we found two packets that were labelled Heinz Leek Soup
And that was all, no, nothing else, which stunned our family group.

We figured … well it seems to us … Gran fancies this Leek brew
And she's sent us all a sample so that we could taste it too.
Mum added just a dash of milk to thicken it no doubt,
But after eating half of it we had to tip it out.

It tasted flaming terrible and failed to see how Gran
Could recommend that soup from hell to all our Aussie clan.
To our surprise the Postman dropped a letter by next day,
Again it was from England, so we read it straight away.

It was a note from cousin Em and this is what she said.
"Regret to have to tell you folk your dear old Gran is dead.
She passed away last Tuesday, but before she breathed her last
Gran told me her last wishes and so this is what has past.

"We didn't want to burden you with debt and all the fuss
Of getting Gran back home you see, so it seemed clear to us,
If we had Gran cremated we could send her home to you
And save the legal rigmarole most other folk go through.

"We placed Gran in the soup packets, but in the rush I'd say,
Forgot to put this letter in, though sent it off next day. 
My heart goes out to all of you; your Gran was such a gem. 
And please forgive the mix-up folks. Yours truly. Cousin Em."
 

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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Available on above CD

                                           ROBBY

I was feeling down, despondent, though I could not figure why.
Hell... perhaps it was the weather and the fact that things were dry.
It's a soul sapping experience when blue skies will not cease,
bringing melancholy moments when one's soul cannot find peace. 

Then my mood was interrupted by an email coming through
and I glanced down at my laptop; it was from a mate I knew.
Howard was a fellow poet whom I'd met last year in May,
who would often send me stories that someone had sent his way. 

As I read the text before me I soon came to realize
there were folk who faced much crueller tests and tears welled in my eyes.
"My full name is Mildred Hondorf and for thirty years or more
I have taught piano lessons to young children by the score.

"Though I've taught a lot of students who have shown ability,
there were sadly some among them who were challenged musically.
Of that number was young Robby and he had a single Mum 
and the lad was now eleven ... much too old I thought to come.

'"But it's always been my mother's dream to hear me play," he said,
and those haunting words still linger to this day within my head.
Robby had no tone or rhythm and this fact he could not hide.
He just lacked inborn ability, but still the lad he tried.

"He learnt elementary pieces and would dutifully review
all the scales I put before him, but deep down inside I knew
that the poor child showed no promise and would never learn to play
but each week his words would echo, 'Mum will hear me play some day.'

"Robby's mother always smiled and waved, though did so from her car
and I'd never met her personally in any way so far.
Then one day Rob never came again. I guessed he'd just moved on.
Though I must admit I felt at ease now that the lad was gone.

"He was not a good advertisement for what I was about
and then several weeks on down the track I sent some flyers out.
For I had in mind an evening, a recital on a night 
where the parents, friends and relatives could see them in full flight.

"It seems Robby too received one and he asked if he could try,
but I told him it's impossible, he did not qualify.
You have not attended lessons, so it really wasn't fair. 
'But my mum was sick!' Young Rob explained, 'she couldn't drive me there.'

'"I've been practising Miss Hondorf and Mum wants to hear me play.'
I don't know how he persuaded me, but Robby got his way. 
He'd perform before my closer, just in case his effort died 
and that way I'd salvage self-esteem or bluntly ... save my pride.

"Well the evening had gone splendidly and Rob was paged on next, 
but the sight of his appearance ... well, it truly left me vexed.
The lad's clothes were unironed, wrinkled and his hair was quite a mess
and it looked like an eggbeater had been through it I confess.

"But he sat at his piano and announced out very loud
he would play Mozart's Concerto in C Major for the crowd.
His small fingers danced so nimbly on the ivories that's for sure 
and I know that Mozart would have been amazed at what he saw.

"Robby ended his performance in a grand crescendo style
and the crowd just stood applauding while I had the biggest smile.
I just hugged the lad and asked him 'How'd you do it? Don't be shy.'
And he spoke into the microphone and gave his proud reply. 

"Well my Mum has been real sick of late, she'd cancer in her chest,
and she passed away this morning Miss. I had to play my best.
Mum was born quite deaf you see, but prayed with all her might,
that one day she'd hear me playing and I know she heard tonight."

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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Available on above C.D. 

PRODUCT PAGE

          R.M. WILLIAMS - A MAN WHO HAD TRIED

I stared at the brown leather boot in my hand 
And applied elbow grease for a shine
When there right before me an image appeared
And I can't say the face it was mine.
But yes that old hat, which you wore with great pride,
And the short grey moustache 'neath your nose;
Revealed straightaway you were Aussie and proud
And most bush folk admired you God knows.

We'll miss you old mate, as you were a proud son
For you taught us the value of pride.
Your Epitaph reads, as you wanted it to
R.M Williams ... A Man Who Had Tried.

In fact it was you who designed these old boots
That have lasted me all through these years
And news of your passing on November fifth,
Was a blow, which brought home a few tears.
From swagman to millionaire was your claim
And your trade mark the boots you designed.
You strode for perfection and here is the proof
As no better a boot could you find.

We'll miss you old mate, as you were a proud son
For you taught us the value of pride.
Your Epitaph reads, as you wanted it to
R.M Williams ... A Man Who Had Tried.

Yes that was your legacy to all of us
And we've taken your wise ways to heart.
You showed us how hard work it has its rewards
If one has the desire from the start.
You loved the bush ballads and rhyming bush verse,
You yourself played the role of bush bard.
And surely old friend you will visit again
If I polish these boots really hard. 

We'll miss you old mate, as you were a proud son
For you taught us the value of pride.
Your Epitaph reads, as you wanted it to
R.M Williams ... A Man Who Had Tried. 

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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PRODUCT PAGE

I NEVER CRIED FOR ELVIS BUT I SHED A TEAR FOR SLIM

Perhaps I'd heard it wrong somehow that quiet September day,
     But no, the words rang in my head. Slim Dusty's passed away.
I knew the old bloke had been crook and not that well of late.
     Still, legends live forever … though … it seems I'm wrong old mate.

Like Lawson you could tell a tale about the average bloke,
     Though sung them in the ballad style backed by a guitar stroke.
Your songs portrayed an image which aroused our Aussie pride
     And most of us we shed a tear when poor old Trumby died.

                    So rest in peace for now old friend until the trumpet calls;
                    The spirit of your ballads, mate, ring through life's memories halls.
                    A lifetimes dedication proves you where no passing whim;
                    I never cried for Elvis, but I shed a tear for Slim.

 You walked a mile or two we know, through muddy tracks and dry
      And entertained a lot of folk and made them laugh or cry.
 You pioneered an industry and did the real hard yards
      And kept alive the sentiments of yesterday's bush bards.

A myriad of campfires echoed tunes that bore your brand.
     The Pub With No Beer, Duncan; just two that come to hand.
You made us feel Australian with a sense of wrong and right.
     The city bloke, the bushy, whether brindle, black or white.

                    So rest in peace for now old friend until the trumpet calls;
                    The spirit of your ballads, mate, ring through life's memories halls.
                    A lifetimes dedication proves you where no passing whim;
                    I never cried for Elvis, but I shed a tear for Slim. 


They said goodbye in style that day and gathered in their throngs 
     And old St Andrews echoed to a melody of songs.
Your passing's left us empty mate, we've lost a true blue friend
     And no one lives forever, but the memories will not end.

I know we lost an icon, but his family lost much more,
     A father, grandad, soul mate, of that I am quite sure. 
We stand and we salute you Slim despite the fact we know
     The final curtain's fallen on the last Slim Dusty show. 

                    So rest in peace for now old friend until the trumpet calls;
                    The spirit of your ballads, mate, ring through life's memories halls.
                    A lifetimes dedication proves you where no passing whim;
                    I never cried for Elvis, but I shed a tear for Slim.

©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

LISTEN TO AUDIO CLICK ON ABOVE
 

AVAILABLE ON CD ABOVE
                          A sequel to Banjo Paterson's 'LOST'
                           AN OLD MAN'S VOWS
He stood by the pepper tree down by the stream 
And his eyes were cast down at the mound.
The hurt in his heart, which he carried for years, 
Now displaced by the peace he had found.
The promise he'd made to himself years ago
He'd fulfilled as he'd promised he would.
And the daughter and grandson he'd lost years ago
Lay together as he'd deemed they should.

He'd known that the filly was vicious, strong willed,
But the lad was so wilful and game.
He'd only gone down to the two mile that day.
Still he failed to return all the same.
His mother searched tirelessly all through the night
And for days rode the ranges in hope.
But sadly she pined and she faded and cried, 
Till her frail frame could no longer cope.

He lay her to rest 'neath the pepper trees shade
And he vowed to his God and to her.
He'd search for the bonnie, young, winsome lad's bones
Till the ranges declared where they were.
He too was determined to track down the mare, 
Which now ran with the ranks of the free,          
But pledged in his heart he would have recompense               
For the bones 'neath the ironbark tree. 

Year in and year out the old man rode the range
And he searched every gully and ridge.
Astride his old grey with his packhorse in tow,
He forged on with his bold pilgrimage.
At times he would sight the wild mob and the mare,
But they sensed the man's presence and fled.
Though filled with a will to win out in his quest,
The old man set his course straight ahead.

One morning he focused his sight on a range
Where a column of smoke filled the sky.
The scrub was alight and engulfing the trees
And the hot winds forced flames to soar high.
The old man sought shelter away from its wrath,
In the bowels of a cave and gave prayer.
Though thick, choking smoke and the blistering heat,
Had him gasping and choking for air.

The danger now gone he walked out from the cave
And the vision he met at its mouth
Was one of stark contrast, the landscape lay bare,
And the fire front raced still further south.
The old man now ragged and wilting in strength
Knew the fire had dealt him a blow,
Though urged his grey down the steep slope of the ridge,
To the gully of ironbarks below.

His pathway lay blocked by a large fallen limb
And beneath it there laid a charred frame.
Not human in structure, but that of a horse,
Though it caused him to stop all the same.    
The singed hide was chestnut and that of a mare.
Yes, the quarry he'd sought for so long.
Then anger gave way and tears welled in his eyes
And a magpie burst forth into song.

For lying beside her obscured by her frame
Lay the bones of his daughter's lost son.  
The old iron bark recompensed him that day,
But the old man sensed no one had won.
He laid the boy's bones in the packsaddle bags
And the horse showed approval and neighed.
And a calm inner peace now pervaded the man.
He'd fulfilled both the vows he had made.
©Australian Bush Poet and Balladeer
Merv Webster

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JUST A KINDLY REMINDER

Australian law recognises that individuals have the right to protect the moral and economic interests arising from their creative works. Copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects a variety of literary, artistic, musical and dramatic endeavours as well as other things such as sound recordings and films. It is not ideas but their expression that are protected by copyright law.

In Australia, copyright law is contained in the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act), and in court decisions that have interpreted the provisions of the Act. The Act is amended from time to time to keep the law up to date.

The law gives owners of copyright exclusive rights to do certain things with their material. Copyright is intended to protect creative works from being used without the agreement of the owner and to provide an incentive for creators to continue to create new material.

Copyright is a type of property that can be traded just like other types of property, such as real estate. However, it is different from tangible property in that it can be copied or otherwise used easily without the knowledge of the owner.

Beside all that, when you get down to tin tacks, it's just UnAustralian.  Don't you think?

The following material in my books is Copyrighted and approval must be sought before copying any parts herewith and permission must be obtained from me before performing any works for monetary gain.

Appreciate your support
Merv Webster

 

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