A Stranger from Somewhere [poem by Jack Moses]

[Editor: This is a poem from Beyond the City Gates: Australian Story & Verse (1923) by Jack Moses.]

A Stranger from Somewhere

Did you ever strike a one-horse town,
A Stranger from Somewhere,
And note them quiz you up and down
As it you’d no right there?
You can read their thoughts, just like a book,
All written ire their stare;
“Hullo,” they say, “here’s something crook,
A Stranger from Somewhere.”

I don’t object to be on view,
But I tell you when I jaw —
If I find a blind with noses through
Or “peep-oh” round the door;
They’re justified in what they do,
I suppose they think it fair
To use their eyes to riddle you,
A Stranger from Somewhere.

The other day, I struck a place
And found a barbers chair;
I told the man to shave my face
And slightly trim my hair.
“A stranger?” said the barber chap,
“I am,” I did declare.
Now this is how they start to tap
The Stranger from Somewhere.

“Are you going to make a lengthy stay?”
I said I thought I would
Stay there until I went away,
If I didn’t stop for good.
“Did you come for air or just for biz?
Excuse me asking, sir.”
It’s an awkward thing to be, it is,
A Stranger from Somewhere.

I did not care to here reveal
If I wanted “biz” or air;
But on he went to pare and peel,
Till identity was bare.
The barber’s shop’s a witness-box
(They ply the acid there),
They know the sort of sox are on
The Stranger from Somewhere.

Now, the women folk must feel it most;
The have more than eyes to meet.
There’s slander at the corner post,
And whispers on the street;
But the chump who brands you at a look,
I wonder would he care
If St. Peter said “You must be crook,
You’re a Stranger from Somewhere!”

Jack Moses, Beyond the City Gates: Australian Story & Verse, Sydney: Austral Publishing Co., 1923, pages 21-22

Editor’s notes:
acid = to pressure someone; to pressure or investigate someone or something; a common phrase is “put the acid on” (from the “acid test”, the practice of putting nitric acid on a metal as part of a testing process)

biz = an informal phonetic abbreviation of the word “business”

jaw = talk, especially of an idle nature; chatter

sox = an informal phonetic abbreviation of the word “socks”

stop = stay

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