Ballad of the Man Far Inland [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

Ballad of the Man Far Inland

“Ship me somewhere east of Suez,” where some old flat-floored canoe is ;
Scoop me out a giant pumpkin ; give me two dry sticks for oars ;
Where the blessed bullfrog bubbles — where the tortoise tells his troubles —
Let me wander by the moisture where the savage tomtit roars !
Where the welkin welks with gladness — where there isn’t any badness ;
Where the world is wet and cheerful, and the wagtail wags encore ;
For I’m sick of music-vampers, and I hate the stunning stampers —
Aye, I want to bite the ocean, and I want the sea once more !

I desire a month of leisure spent in clean aquatic pleasure —
I request a little dingy or a battleship or raft.
Let me sit astride a barrel, clad in Adam’s scant apparel,
With the dampness round my ankles and a buckram zephyr aft !
Let me swim, and let me swelter, where the seas come helter-skelter —
Hand me out a tiny creeklet or a river or lagoon ;
I desire to dip my body in a bath that isn’t shoddy —
I insist on the Pacific being carted to me soon.

In the desert I am wailing, where the brown dust-clouds are sailing,
And I warn the Lord instanter that it’s wrong to keep me here ;
If He fails to send me seaward if He falls away to leeward —
I will bust the apparatus of this blessed hemisphere !
For I’m angry and disdainful, and I find the desert painful,
And I’ll spoil this blooming planet if the Lord neglecteth me.
I am sulky with creation — my ideal occupation
Were to sit astride an iceberg in a gold-and-purple sea !

“Ship me somewhere east of Suez,” where some water-logged canoe is —
Scoop me out a giant pumpkin ; let me use my hands for oars ;
Where the porpoise porpeth gaily — where the turtle turteth daily —
Let me wander by the moisture where the savage tomtit roars !
Where the welkin welks likes blazes where the peaceful moo-cow grazes —
Where the world is wet and winsome, and the wagtail wags encore ;
For I’m sick of slaving here, Lord ! and it’s like to cost you dear, Lord !
If I fail to bite the ocean and observe the sea once more !



Source:
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 99-101

Speak Your Mind

*