So Hugh mentions 'ablemuse' in another thread. I go there, click on a link marked 'Waltzing Matilda,' and eventually end up with this poem.
Mulga Bill's Bicycle
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"
"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk—I hate a man that blows.
"But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wild cat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then, as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek,
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore;
He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was sure the derndest ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve,
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek—we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."
Very nice - a ballad, but seven iambic beats in every line, caesura after the third foot. Tough to keep that up for so many stanzas!
Reads like Jack's and that pilot fella's stuff.
Having long lines sounds like a good idea for the aabbcc ... rhymes - they get old fast with tetrameter and even pentameter, but come as more of a surprise with with heptameter.
Aha, a coincidence Pam. I hadn't read this poem in ages, but chanced upon a 'bush poet' recently at a festival, who recited this poem while cycling round and round in circles on an old penny farthing bike. It made me dizzy just listening to him.
I can't speak for that pilot fella, but I am pleased just to be mentioned on the same page as a 'Real' poet.
I am even more pleased that the Master himself (that's you) even READS my stuff. I was under the impression most people just skip right over it, and head directly to the teenage angst.
a ballad, but seven iambic beats in every line, caesura after the third foot
Yeah, right, very masterful. Obviously I had forgotten what ballad meter is. The caesura is actually after the fourth foot, and it turns into a 'regular' ballad merely by making the lines four feet and three feet:
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk,
that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse
that served him many days;
There you go, now it rhymes xbxb. Sometimes I am struck blind unexpectedly!
Actually, I skip the teen angst, and head for the rest!