The Haystack in the Floods

Had she come all the way for this,
To part at last without a kiss?
Yea, had she borne the dirt and rain
That her own eyes might see him slain
Beside the haystack in the floods?

Along the dripping leafless woods,
The stirrup touching either shoe,
She rode astride as troopers do;
With kirtle kilted to her knee,
To which the mud splash'd wretchedly;
And the wet dripp'd from every tree
Upon her head and heavy hair,
And on her eyelids broad and fair;
The tears and rain ran down her face.


The Great Australian Adjective

The sunburnt ---- stockman stood
And, in a dismal ---- mood,
Apostrophized his ---- cuddy;
"The ---- nag's no ---- good,
He couldn't earn his ---- food -
A regular ---- brumby,
----!"

He jumped across the ---- horse
And cantered off, of ---- course!
The roads were bad and ---- muddy;
Said he, "Well, spare me ---- days
The ---- Government's ---- ways
Are screamin' ---- funny,
----!"

He rode up hill, down ---- dale,


The Galley-Slave

Oh gallant was our galley from her caren steering-wheel
To her figurehead of silver and her beak of hammered steel;
The leg-bar chafed the ankle and we gasped for cooler air,
But no galley on the waters with our galley could compare!

Our bulkheads bulged with cotton and our masts were stepped in gold --
We ran a mighty merchandise of niggers in the hold;
The white foam spun behind us, and the black shark swam below,
As we gripped the kicking sweep-head and we made the galley go.


The Further Bank

I long to go over there to the further bank of the river.
Where those boats are tied to the bamboo poles in a line;
Where men cross over in their boats in the morning with
ploughs on their shoulders to till their far-away fields;
Where the cowherds make their lowing cattle swim across to the
riverside pasture;
Whence they all come back home in the evening, leaving the
jackals to howl in the island overgrown with weeds.
Mother, if you don't mind, I should like to become the boatman


The Frog and the Golden Ball

She let her golden ball fall down the well
And begged a cold frog to retrieve it;
For which she kissed his ugly, gaping mouth -
Indeed, he could scarce believe it.

And seeing him transformed to his princely shape,
Who had been by hags enchanted,
She knew she could never love another man
Nor by any fate be daunted.

But what would her royal father and mother say?
They had promised her in marriage
To a cousin whose wide kingdom marched with theirs,
Who rode in a jeweled carriage.


The Fish

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested


The Egg-Shell

The wind took off with the sunset--
The fog came up with the tide,
When the Witch of the North took an Egg-shell
With a little Blue Devil inside.
"Sink," she said, "or swim," she said,
"It's all you will get from me.
And that is the finish of him!" she said
And the Egg-shell went to sea.

The wind fell dead with the midnight--
The fog shut down like a sheet,
When the Witch of the North heard the Egg-shell
Feeling by hand for a fleet.
"Get!" she said, "or you're gone," she said.,


The Dreamer

WHO seeks the shore where dreams outpour
Their floods in Slumber Seas
Lives all night long within a song
Of murmuring mysteries.

Where stars are lit above the pit
That holds the hollow dark,
Into their dawn he shall sail on
In an enchanted barque.

He shall not fear tho’ in his ear
The thrusting cranks of Time,
Thro’ blaze and gloom, with crash and boom,
Ring in tremendous rhyme,

Beyond the cloud that doth enshroud


The Difference Between Pepsi And Coke

Can't swim; uses credit cards and pills to combat
intolerable feelings of inadequacy;
Won't admit his dread of boredom, chief impulse behind
numerous marital infidelities;
Looks fat in jeans, mouths clichés with confidence,
breaks mother's plates in fights;
Buys when the market is too high, and panics during
the inevitable descent;
Still, Pop can always tell the subtle difference
between Pepsi and Coke,
Has defined the darkness of red at dawn, memorized
the splash of poppies along


The Dead

Their reward is
they become innocent again,

and when they reappear in memory
death has completely erased
the blurs, given them boundaries. They rise

and move through their new world with clean,
clear edges. My grandmother, in particular
has become buoyant, unattached finally

from her histories, from the trappings
of family. By no means was she

a good woman. But the dead don't care anymore for that.
Weightless, they no longer assume
responsibility, they no longer


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