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On the Road (1915)

[By W. Monro Anderson.]

Travelling down the Pine Vale road,
Logging about a half a knot,
Crawling over the Black Soil Plains,
Droving a scraggy, crossbred lot.
Think, of the leagues before us yet,
Think of the oaths that I suppress;
Give it a name, my ducky, do,
"Worse than Hades"--a damn'd good guess !

Never a pub to quench my thirst,
Both of my eyes are bunged and sore;
Playing a game, my son that is
Something bloodier still than war;
Never a waierhole in sight,
Never a drink the whole day long,
Only an empty waterbag,
Dry as a western billabong.

Working through the Pillaga scrub,
Coornabarabran leagues ahead,
Clouds of dirt, and the wind astern,
Both of my horses nearly dead;
Both of my kelpies going lame,
Crippled at last by Bogan fleas.
Think of my sheep half blind with dust--
Lord have mercy, on such as these.

Think of the surf that creams and swirls,
Over the girls on Manly Beach,
Think of them basking in the sun,
Muzzling into a juicy peach;
Soda fountains that froth and foam,
Over the bars in Sydney town--
Sydney town where the loafers lounge
Licking the iced long sleevers down.

But when the flaming twilight fires
Over the range their flags unfold.
Sudden the phantom Black Soil Plains
Glow like a lake of liquid gold;
Penn'd in the break, the drowsy sheep
Sniff at the breezes as they blow
Incense, out of the scented scrub
All aflame in the afterglow.


From the Adelaide Newspaper the Register 20 Nov 1915 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory