Wisha, What is the Matter with Jim? [poem by John O’Brien]

[Editor: This poem by John O’Brien was published in Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, 1921.]

Wisha, What is the Matter with Jim?

“Wisha, what is the matter with Jim, I dunno?
Is he right in the mind for this last week or so?
Or has he come in for a station?
He is trapesin’ around, and he’s treadin’ on air,
He is brushin’ the clothes, and he’s doin’ the hair;
He is like a play-actor at times, I declare,
And his antics they beggar creation.

“Like a sheep-killing dog he’ll be vanishing quite,
If you leave him one moment get out of your sight,
With the fire and the fever prevailin’;
While his horse is worn down to the skin and the bone
From the hours that he keeps. If you let him alone,
To the Caseys’ he’d canter across on his own,
And tie himself up to the palin’.”

There’s a track, through the timber that rambles along,
And a cantering horse vamps the time to a song
That the heart of a dreamer is singing.
There are bells for a wedding that ring in the breeze,
That sound in the grass that is brushing his knees;
And down in the crowfoot, and up in the trees
They’re ringing, and ringing, and ringing.



Published in:
John O’Brien. Around the Boree Log and Other Verses, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1921

Editor’s notes:
trapesin’ = [trapesing] traipsing, to gad about without care or concern (similar to “gallivanting”)
wisha = an Irish exclamation; like the English exclamation “well, indeed”

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