Breaking the News [poem by Joseph Furphy]

[Editor: This poem by Joseph Furphy was published in The Poems of Joseph Furphy (1916).]

Breaking the News.

Johnny’s drowned — here’s his clo’es
Where he’s got to, we dunno;
Sure enough, he never rose;
So we thought we’d let you know.
Gosh! the fright has knocked us flat —
Here’s his shirt, an’ here’s his hat.

Never seen him since he plopp’d,
Jist a’side the big red-gum;
So, thinks we, poor Johnny’s copp’d —
All so suddent! — ain’t it rum?
Must be snagg’d among the roots —
Here’s his pants, an’ socks, an’ boots.

Simplest thing you ever seen —
Only just a common swim —
Cripes! it might as ready been
Me or Bill in place o’ him!
Try to snake him out, I s’pose?
Anyway, we fetch’d his clo’es.


K. B. [Kate Baker] (editor), The Poems of Joseph Furphy, Melbourne: Lothian Book Publishing Co., 1916, page 42

Editor’s notes:
copp’d = (copped) “copped it”: to suffer (especially by a punishment); be told off, reprimanded; be hit, punched

rum = odd, peculiar, queer, strange (may also mean dangerous, difficult, problematic)

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
a’side (beside)
clo’es (clothes)
dunno (don’t know)
jist (just)
o’ (of)
s’pose (suppose)
suddent (sudden)

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