Bully Hayes [poem by Rex Ingamells]

[Editor: This poem by Rex Ingamells was published in Gumtops (1935).]

Bully Hayes

Across the scintillating tropic sea,
A barquentine, with snow-white awning spread
And sparkling sails, before a breeze has sped
To anchor by an island, gracefully.
Superb canoes, launched at a chief’s decree
(While far below their keels their shadows, shed
Through crystal waters, skim the haven bed),
Shoot outward, manned with eager energy.
Blue tropic sea . . . . green isle . . . . brown islanders . . . .
A day of bartering in nuts and beads . . . .
And then humanity is shamed again.
When languidly the first night-zephyr stirs
Among the glooming palms, the ship recedes
With hatches battened down on dusky men.

Rex Ingamells. Gumtops, F. W. Preece & Sons, Adelaide, 1935, page 35

Editor’s notes:
barquentine = (also spelt “barkentine”) a sailing ship of three or more masts, with the foremast being square-rigged whilst the other masts are rigged fore-and-aft

languid = lacking energy, strength, or vitality; being slow or sluggish, lacking force or vigour

scintillating = shining, sparkling (it can also mean amusing, brilliant, clever, or interesting, as in “scintillating conversation”)

zephyr = a breeze from the west, especially a gentle breeze (from Zephyrus, or Zephyr, god of the west wind in Greek mythology)

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