The Cocky’s Handy Man [poem by Ben Sun]

[Editor: This poem by Ben Sun was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]

The Cocky’s Handy Man.

The soldier has his glory, and the sailor has his joy,
And we’ve heard in song and story of the little cabin-boy ;
The shearer’s mostly beering when he is n’t on the strike ;
The city clerk’s careering on the “time-extended” bike ;
Their web of life they spin it on a fast and fevered plan,
But for fun they aren’t in it with the cocky’s handy man !

Then it’s feed the squealing “Dinnis,” and it’s yard the milkers up ;
The sun’s behind Maginnis; an’ — “Hi! Patsy, chain that pup !
Put up thim rails behind you, there, you good-for-nothing lout ;
’T is often I remind you — Holy Smoke ! the pig is out !

Here, Tiger — heel him — heel him! head him, Patsy, at the fince ;
Hurr — hiss, Tiger! wheel him, there, you gaping want-o’-sinse.”
And “Dinnis” listens gravely to the wild halloo they raise,
Then runs the gauntlet bravely into Dan Malowny’s “pays.”

The carrier is jolly, and the drover does n’t care;
The navvy’s full of folly, and a demon on the “tear” ;
The miner has his “moments,” and the syndicate the mine ;
The “push” a ruction foments when it ’s out upon the wine ;
But for rorty joy and rapid under Heaven’s spacious span
The chance you cannot cap it of the cocky’s handy man !

Then it’s git up, Captain — Punch, there — that’s a coo-ee from the stack ;
They’re eating all the lunch there — but Kitty ’ll save my whack ;
Her eyes are black and blazing, but for me they ’re ever kind.
And in their depths a-gazing I can read a willing mind.
Gee-off ! — this blessed lurching knocks the neatest load awry,
And clouds of flies are searching in recess of nose and eye.
Way — woh — look-out! it’s over. Oh, condemn the crimson hole !
I ’m booked an early “rover” — hear Maginnis bless my soul !

There are places and positions worth the while of man to hold,
And phases and conditions with the shining sheen of gold ;
But, O! the situation when I Kitty’s waist enfold —
I’d change not for creation fair the billet that I hold ;
Through Labour’s ranks a-ranging find a fellow if you can
Who ’d lose by places changing with the cocky’s handy man !

Ben Sun.

A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 164-166

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