Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Great Australian Poem

'twas in a pub on Oxford Street
one torrid summer night
a gathering of poets ended
in a fearful fight

as eloquent and timbered voices
lilted out their verse
a drunken long-haired patron stood
and threw curse after curse

our learned poets persevered
pretending not to hear
and all the while the drunken lout
did curse and swill his beer

"you call your rubbish poetry
you pissy pointless slime
your stupid wanky poems, well
they do not even rhyme"

then as the reading faltered
(and the poets "piqued their ire")
a member of the audience
stood up and did inquire:

"so if you think their verse is bad
why don't you just get out?
We really don't enjoy the way
you curse and sneer and shout"

"You're just a drunken so-and-so
and these are learned folk
so please oh please get up and go
you loud and boring soak"

"Inebriated? i'll be damned!"
the drunkard waved his glass
"i'll challenge all you brainless yobs
i'll teach you all some class"

the poets grinned behind their hands
and snickered to the crowd
they knew full well this no-name fool
would fail if just allowed

the dais was vacated then
the poets stood near-by
the boozer ordered "fill 'er up
'cause speakin' makes me dry"

he teetered as he passed the bar
to grab his cold VB
and then he stood before the group
and dusted off his knee

and so it was he started
with poems quite well known
by great Australian poets that
we love and call our own

but he had quite a talent
for speaking Aussie verse
his words were crisp his vowels thick
his humour quite perverse

and do you know those poets there
were taken by surprise?
they'd never guessed such eloquence
from one you might despise

and as he finished off each poem
they commented and cheered
they talked of who the author was
and why he was revered

they had some pride in history
and more in what they knew
until the final poem left them
all in quite a stew

they'd never heard it - not one word
they all of them were stumped
the boozer spoke the final line
and then his chest he thumped

"so all you cleva fellahs
never heard that one before?"
and then he finished off his beer
and headed for the door

he left them there all arguing
each claiming that they knew
and soon it came to fighting
as their agitation grew

the conflict soon became too much
- the bouncers pushed them out
then out there on the footpath
one erupted with a shout:

"i say it's Henry Lawson!
unpublished but his best!"
another poet yelled "not so!"
and punched him in the chest

"it's Paterson i tell you!"
he raised a hairy fist
a smaller poet intervened
and grabbed him by the wrist

and as he screamed "it's Ogilvie!"
and clawed his larger foe
a crowd had gathered in the street
who stood and watched the show

and standing there among them with
a smile from ear to ear
unpublished and unknown at all
a Poet without peer

he'd saved a great tradition
passed down from days of old
The Great Australian Poem now
has finally been told

if you liked this you might also like "silly little Julia"

(what IS the Greatest Australian Poem? - check here Yahoo Answers)

feel free to comment - i'll not take offence


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