Andrew Barton Paterson poems

Andrew Barton Paterson[Banjo] (17 February 1864 - 5 February 1941 / New South Wales)
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A Change of Menu

- by Andrew Barton Paterson 339

Now the new chum loaded his three-nought-three,
It's a small-bore gun, but his hopes were big.
"I am fed to the teeth with old ewe," said he,
"And I might be able to shoot a pig."
And he trusted more to his nose than ear
To give him warning when pigs were near.

Out of his lair in the lignum dark.
Where the wild duck nests and the bilbie digs,
With a whoof and a snort and a kind of bark
There rose the father of all the pigs:
And a tiger would have walked wide of him
As he stropped his tusks on a leaning limb.

Then the new chum's three-nought-three gave tongue
Like a popgun fired in an opera bouffe:
But a pig that was old when the world was young
Is near as possible bullet-proof.
(The more you shoot him the less he dies,
Unless you catch him between the eyes.)

So the new chum saw it was up to him
To become extinct if he stopped to shoot;
So he made a leap for a gidgee limb
While the tusker narrowly missed his boot.
Then he found a fork, where he swayed in air
As he gripped the boughs like a native bear.

The pig sat silent and gaunt and grim
To wait and wait till his foe should fall:
For night and day were the same to him,
And home was any old place at all.
"I must wait," said he, "till this sportsman drops;
I could use his boots for a pair of strops."

The crows that watch from the distant blue
Came down to see what it all might mean;
An eaglehawk and a cockatoo
Bestowed their patronage on the scene.
Till a far-off boundary rider said
"I must have a look -- there is something dead."

Now the new chum sits at his Christmas fare
Of a dried-up chop from a tough old ewe.
Says he, "It's better than native bear
And nearly as tender as kangaroo.
An emu's egg I can masticate,
But pork," says he, "is the thing I hate."

A Walgett Episode

- by Andrew Barton Paterson 214

The sun strikes down with a blinding glare;
The skies are blue and the plains are wide,
The saltbush plains that are burnt and bare
By Walgett out on the Barwon side --
The Barwon River that wanders down
In a leisurely manner by Walgett Town.
There came a stranger -- a "Cockatoo" --
The word means farmer, as all men know,
Who dwell in the land where the kangaroo
Barks loud at dawn, and the white-eyed crow
Uplifts his song on the stock-yard fence
As he watches the lambkins passing hence.

The sunburnt stranger was gaunt and brown,
But it soon appeared that he meant to flout
The iron law of the country town,
Which is -- that the stranger has got to shout:
"If he will not shout we must take him down,"
Remarked the yokels of Walgett Town.

They baited a trap with a crafty bait,
With a crafty bait, for they held discourse
Concerning a new chum who there of late
Had bought such a thoroughly lazy horse;
They would wager that no one could ride him down
The length of the city of Walgett Town.

The stranger was born on a horse's hide;
So he took the wagers, and made them good
With his hard-earned cash -- but his hopes they died,
For the horse was a clothes-horse, made of wood! --
'Twas a well-known horse that had taken down
Full many a stranger in Walgett Town.

The stranger smiled with a sickly smile --
'Tis a sickly smile that the loser grins --
And he said he had travelled for quite a while
A-trying to sell some marsupial skins.
"And I thought that perhaps, as you've took me down,
You would buy them from me, in Walgett Town!"

He said that his home was at Wingalee,
At Wingalee, where he had for sale
Some fifty skins and would guarantee
They were full-sized skins, with the ears and tail
Complete; and he sold them for money down
To a venturesome buyer in Walgett Town.

Then he smiled a smile as he pouched the pelf,
"I'm glad that I'm quit of them, win or lose:
You can fetch them in when it suits yourself,
And you'll find the skins -- on the kangaroos!"
Then he left -- and the silence settled down
Like a tangible thing upon Walgett Town.

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