From the stations they sent out a call
To their jillaroo friends – one and all;
For an overnight camp, while the sky bore the stamp
Of a cloudless day darkened from view.

So they came in farm utes, with their dogs:
Kitted out in their boots, working togs;
And they lit a campfire, letting flickers inspire
Tales of station life – some of them true!

And the girls placed their boots in a pile
To relieve their tired toes for a while;
While each dog roamed about, and with curious snout
Found the mischief they thought was their due.

One young dog, name of “Blue,” loved a game,
And that night his play led him to fame;
For he took every boot, without girl in pursuit,
And he stowed them where nobody knew;

And the place that he chose was a log,
Straight and hollow – just right for a dog
To deposit within, boots well-heeled, some worn thin,
Where the gaggle of girls had no clue!

When the jillaroos saw their demise
They could scarcely believe their own eyes!
Though they searched, shod in socks, under bushes and rocks,
Not a trace of their footwear showed through.

And in cattle-dog style, cunning “Blue”
Rested paws over ears, saw it through;
Until, tender of feet, they admitted defeat –
For there wasn’t much else they could do!

And they say, when the wind blows just right,
Through that log on a Kimberley night;
Those elasticised sides, hidden safely inside,
Resonate like a didgeridoo.

 

Glossary of Terms:

Jillaroo – A young woman in training on a sheep or cattle station in Australia.
Ute – Utility vehicle with a pick-up tray at the rear.
Kimberley – the sparsely settled Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Didgeridoo – a wind instrument developed by indigenous Australians.

 

David Watt is a writer from Canberra, the “Bush Capital” of Australia. He has contributed regularly to Collections of Poetry and Prose by Robin Barratt. When not working for IP (Intellectual Property) Australia, he finds time to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of traditional rhyming poetry.


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14 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    David, thanks for the gift of my first smile of the day! No doubt “Banjo” would be tickled to see you working to keep the “bush” tradition alive. I particularly enjoyed the lines:

    And they lit a campfire, letting flickers inspire
    Tales of station life – some of them true!

    That captures the essence of Australian humor as I have experienced it. Keep ‘em comin’, mate and I’ll see yer later!

    Reply
    • David Watt

      Thanks very much James. I appreciate the reference to “Banjo”, as he is my favorite Australian poet. Works including “Mulga Bill’s Bicycle”, and “The Geebung Polo Club” are true examples of Australian humor.

      I’m glad that I could bring a smile to your morning.

      Reply
  2. Jeff Nicholson

    What a clever, humorous tale! Thank you for sharing. I especially enjoyed the stanzas in limmerick form. Well done.

    Reply
    • Jeff Nicholson

      Pardon the misspelling of “limerick.” Didn’t catch the extra “m” when I posted the comment. And I suppose true limerick form would have the third line of each stanza split into rhyming lines 3 & 4, for a total of 5 lines per stanza. Such petty observations aside, it is a delightful poem!

      Reply
      • David Watt

        Thank you Jeff for your kind words. You are correct in saying that there is certainly a similarity to the limerick form in “Blue’s Didgeridoo.” It is a variation on the traditional 5 line stanza.

  3. Amy Foreman

    Delightfully clever, David! This begs to be set to music, including a didgeridoo, of course!

    Reply
    • David Watt

      I’m glad you liked this poem Amy. A digeridoo would definitely have to be included in music to accompany this very Australian piece.

      Reply
    • David Watt

      I am greatly in favor of a laugh and a song on occasion, in poetry and in life generally. Thank you T.M.

      Reply
  4. Mark Stone

    David,

    My wife loves this poem! She said it sounds very Dr. Seuss-like, which she greatly enjoys. I also like it very much. I have three comments for you.
    1) “without girl in pursuit” sounds a bit awkward to me (although my wife likes it). My suggestion is: “with no girl in pursuit….”
    2) In the penultimate line, “elasticised sides” is difficult to say. Although my wife likes a tongue twister and didn’t have any issue pronouncing it. 🙂 Also, “sides” does not rhyme with “inside.” I would recommend a perfect rhyme instead.
    3) Five of the eight stanzas begin with “And” or “So,” which are filler words. I think it would sound better if the stanzas began with words having content.

    PS–typed by Gail on behalf of her beloved husband, Mark.

    Reply
    • David Watt

      Hello Gail and Mark.

      Thank you for your kind words and constructive comments.

      The similarity to Dr. Seuss, may be due to my use of anapestic meter, which was employed by Dr. Seuss in the majority of his writing. I’m also a great admirer of Dr. Seuss.

      I will think about the “with no girl in pursuit….” option. Although, at this stage I still tend to favor the “without girl in pursuit…” choice.

      In regard to the slant rhyme of “sides” paired with “inside”, I agree. Initially I had written “Each elasticised side hidden safely inside”, and on review, changed the wording in order to show a collective effect. The first choice was probably the most suitable.

      “Elasticised sides” is a bit of a tongue-twister. However, as a Dr. Seuss fan, I enjoy the complexity of the sound.

      I hadn’t considered the fact that I began five of the eight stanzas with “and” or “so.” Your thoughtful reviews always provide points which may not be obvious to the writer. I will take this point ‘on board.’

      Reply

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