Ringy Ringy Rosy [poem by E. J. Brady]

[Editor: This poem by E. J. Brady was published in Bells and Hobbles (1911).]

Ringy Ringy Rosy.

Ringy ringy rosy,” the morning skies are blue,
And yonder by the slip-rails your sweetheart waits for you.
The lizards on the fences are basking in the sun,
The Wintertime is over, the Summertime’s begun.
Ringy ringy rosy,” round and round they go,
The glad and happy children of thirty years ago.

Those cool and frosty mornings, oh, I remember well
The wattles by the wayside, the warnings of the bell,
The manna ’neath the gumtrees that showered overnight
From Nature’s secret sources, to make a child’s delight;
The yams for which we rooted, the quinces hard and tart
We swapped for tops and marbles, a fallen log our mart!

Ringy ringy rosy” — across the years I hear
The voices from the schoolyard uprising strong and clear;
And all the proud achievement, the failure and the strife,
That make the sordid total of this our mortal life;
The pomp and human splendor, the Future and the Past,
When weighed within the balance seem little things at last.

To be a World’s Immortal, to be a world’s unknown,
Win monument of marble, or simple slab of stone —
How little matters either, when every foe and friend
Must come to lie together in quiet at the end!
When pays each generation, of high or humble birth,
Its tribute unto Caesar, its dust unto the Earth!

Ringy ringy rosy”—beyond the lands and seas
We carry our delusions, we bear our memories.
The world is full of pleasure, the world is full of pain —
Alas, the golden morning that never comes again!
Ringy ringy rosy,” round and round they go,
The blithe and merry children of thirty years ago.

Ringy ringy rosy,” a requiem it seems,
In saddened notes recalling my boyhood hopes and dreams.
The silver song of Childhood! Who would not give to be
A child again, the harvest of all the land and sea?
Ringy ringy rosy!” I hear the sweet refrain
Re-echoed in the morning across the years again.

Ringy ringy rosy,” the fields are wet with dew,
And yonder by the slip-rails your sweetheart waits for you;
The briar by the wayside is turning to the sun,
The Wintertime is over, the Summertime’s begun.
Ringy ringy rosy,” round and round we’ll sing,
Our simple songs of Childhood, the children of the Spring.



Source:
E. J. Brady, Bells and Hobbles, Melbourne: George Robertson & Co., 1911, pp. 115-116

Editor’s notes:
manna = something gained freely and unexpectedly; in the Bible it refers to the food bestowed upon the Israelites in their journey from Egypt, hence the expression “manna from heaven” (also refers to spiritual nourishment; also refers to the substance exuded or excreted by certain insects and plants)

mart = market

’neath = (vernacular) beneath

Ringy Ringy Rosy = a popular children’s nursery rhyme (more commonly known as “Ring a Ring o’ Roses” or “Ring a Ring o’ Rosie”)

sliprail = one of a set of several horizontal fence rails that can be moved (slipped in or out of place) so as to easily create an opening in a fence, and then close it up again (sliprails are distinct from the common sets of fence rails, which are nailed or bolted to keep them in place) (spelt as “slip-rail” or “sliprail”)

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