The Ballad of Juno Sue [poem by C.J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C.J. Dennis was published in Backblock Ballads and Other Verses (1913). Most of the poetry of C.J. Dennis is written in the style of the Australian vernacular. See the Glossary for explanations of words and phrases.]

The Ballad of Juno Sue.

Sue Timmins lived in Sheaoak Town —
She lived in Sheaoak Town,
Where ’er figger uster sorter cause comment;
’Twas all one way. That is to say
’Twas all straight up an’ down
From foot to crown.
You understand what’s meant?
I’m sure you understand the sort wot’s meant.

Just wot you’d call a gawky lump —
A slim, slab-sided lump.
You’d scarcely ’ave the nerve to call ’er fat.
An awkward wench; you’d ’ave to wrench
The truth to mention plump —
Not at the jump,
There’s no denyin’ that.
I say, there ain’t no use denyin’ that.

You compre’end the sorter wench —
Ungainly sorter wench —
I mean when I let loose remarks on Sue?
A kinder stick, but not so thick.
You’d hardly name ’er French —
Not this ’ere wench.
She weren’t no Parleyvoo.
I say that Sue she weren’t no Parleyvoo.

She didn’t ’ave no width, this piece —
This elongated piece;
The figger that she ’ad was mostly length.
I tell you, she reminded me
Of one perpetual lease
That doesn’t cease.
Now, ’ave you got ’er strength?
I’ll now proceed if you ’ave got her strength.

She ’ad brains this bit o’ skirt —
This lengthy bit o’ skirt;
She wouldn’t ’ave no truck with any bloke,
Although she knew as well as you
She weren’t built for a flirt;
She’d treat like dirt
The chap that tried a joke.
To tell the truth, they weren’t inclined to joke.

O’ course this piece o’ muslin knew —
She muster durn well knew —
She weren’t the sorter girl that could attract.
She weren’t that kind, — an’ bear in mind
That wot I’m tellin’ you
Is all dead true.
You take it fer a fact;
I’d never tell you ’less it was a fact.

Well, this ‘ere Sue made up ’er mind —
She fair made up her mind —
She’d wander on ’er lonely down to town.
All on ’er own, that is, alone;
An’ she was just the kind
To ’ave a mind;
An’ so she travelled down.
I say, she packed her duds an’ travelled down.

She stayed away about a week —
I think about a week;
An’ then she wandered back to Sheaoak Town,
An’ when they knew that it was Sue
The people couldn’t speak,
They was that weak.
This was no up-an’-down!
I tell you she was fur from up-an’-down.

We simply ’ad to stand an’ gape —
Just simply stand an’ gape.
We was too dazed for any sane remark.
You’d be inclined to call to mind
When you beheld ’er shape
Beneath its drape,
A statoo in a park —
A Veenus or somethin’ in a park.

O’ course we thought ’twas mighty rum —
Unquestionably rum;
An’ yet we ’ad to take it fer a fact.
There stood out Sue, in straight fronts, too!
An’ then the truth it come
An’ struck us dumb.
The bloomin’ girl was packed!
’Er ’ips an’ all etceterers was PACKED!

But Sue she merely tossed ’er ’ead —
Just proudly tossed ’er ’ead —
An’ never give a thought to climbin’ down.
“I ain’t so bad if I do pad.”
Them was the words she said.
(I near dropped dead.)
“They all pad up, in town.
There ain’t a girl that don’t pad up, in town.”

We reckoned, up in Sheaoak Town —
Old folks in Sheaoak Town —
She’d fairly done ’er chance in with the boys.
O’ course, they knew the shape o’ Sue.
An’ yet they chased ’er roun’,
Yes, up and down,
Although they knew ’twas pads,
An’ just ’ow much was girl an’ ’ow much pads.

’Er prance an’ waddle made me mad;
’Er walk near drove me mad;
But ev’ry other girl was fairly sacked.
“She was a bloomin’ gawk, was Sue.
But now,” ses ev’ry lad,
“She ain’t too bad
Fer she is rorty, packed.
She’s just a bloomin’ Juno now she’s packed.

To see the way she ’eld ’er skirts —
The way she gripped ’er skirts —
See ’ere, I ain’t straight-laced, meself, perhaps,
But, spare me days! That woman’s way!
An’ talk about yer flirts!
It always ’urts
To think o’ them poor chaps;
The way she played a game with them poor chaps.

Their sighs an’ courtin’ weren’t no use —
Not any sorter use.
An’ then a squatter chap ’e seen our “pearl.”
Ses ’e, “Gee whizz! Whoever is
That stately creachah? Dooce!
Just introjuice
Me to that charmin’ girl —
That statuesquee Juno of a girl.”

I s’pose ’e knew wot paddin’ was —
Wot them etcetrers was.
You see ’e lived in town, or thereabout;
An’ Sue she told us ’ow the bold
Bad ’ussies there are draws,
’Cos ’ow? Becaws
They never go without.
“Them girls,” she ses, “they never go without.”

You bet she married ’im. ’E’d cash —
’Ad ’eaps o’ bloomin’ cash;
An’ give the go-by to the other lads.
Our gawky, prue, slab-sided Sue!
An’ don’t she cut a dash!
An’ dresses flash.
O’ course, she wears ’er pads.
You bet she don’t go out without ’er pads.

C.J. Dennis. Backblock Ballads and Other Verses, E. W. Cole, Melbourne, [1913], pages 59-63

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