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Stewie Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia (966* d) RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia 01 Nov 20


WHILE THE BILLY BOILS
(D.M.Wright/P.Garland

The speargrass crackles under the billy and overhead is the winter sun
There’s snow on the hills, there’s frost in the gully, that reminds me of things that I’ve seen and done
Of blokes that I knew, and mates that I’ve worked with, and the sprees that we had in the days gone by
And a mist comes up from my heart to my eyelids, I feel fair sick and I wonder why

There is coves and coves! Some I liked partic’lar, and some I would sooner I never knowed
But a bloke can’t choose the chaps that he’s thrown with in the harvest paddock or here in the road
There was chaps from the other side that I shore with that I’d like to have taken along for mates
But we said, ‘So long!’ and we laughed and parted for good and all at the station gates

I mind the time when the snow was drifting and Billy and me was out for the night
We lay in the lee of a rock, and waited, hungry and cold, for the morning light
Then he went one way and I the other – we’d been like brothers for half a year
He said: ‘I’ll see you again in town, mate, and we’ll blow the froth off a pint of beer’

He went to a job on the plain he knowed of and I went poisoning out at the back
And I missed him somehow – for all my looking I never could knock across his track
The same with Harry, the bloke I worked with, the time I was over upon the coast
He went for a fly-round over to Sydney, to stay for a fortnight – a month at most

He never came back, and he never wrote me – I wonder how blokes like him forget
We had been where no one had been before us, we had starved for days in the cold and wet
We had sunk a hundred holes that was duffers, till at last we came on a fairish patch
An’ we worked in rags in the dead of winter while the ice-bars hung from the frozen thatch

Yes, them was two, and I can’t help mind them – good mates as ever a joker had
But there’s plenty more as I’d like to be with, for half of the blokes on the road is bad
It sets me a-thinking, the world seems wider, for all we fancy it’s middling small
When a chap like me makes friends in plenty and they slip away and he loses them all

The speargrass crackles under the billy and overhead is the winter sun
There’s snow on the hills, there’s frost in the gully and, oh, the things that I’ve seen and done
The blokes that I’ve knowed and the mates that I’ve worked with, and the sprees that we had in the days gone by
But I somehow fancy we’ll all be pen-mates on the day when they call the roll of the sky

Another poem by NZ's 'outback laureate', David McKee Wright. Above is the complete poem. In this YT clip, Phil Garland amends and shortens the poem:

Youtube clip

Wright moved to Australia in 1910 and wrote for 'The Bulletin' and other publications.

David McKee Wright

--Stewie.


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