[Editor: This poem by J.C.H. was published in Truth (Sydney, NSW), 8 June 1930.]
“Billo and Johnno”
Spare me days! I dips me lid,
To this ’ere bonser English kid:
She’s on ’er pat.
By cripes, she must be flamin’ game.
It makes a bloke feel pretty tame,
Aw strike me fat!
The missus fair ’as done ’er block,
A sneerin’ look upon ’er clock,
She makes me sick!
She treats a man like blasted dirt,
Since this ’ere airyplanin’ skirt,
’As done the trick!
“Men,” she sneers, an’ gives er sniff,
That makes a joker feel as if
’E was a goose.
“There ain’t a thing wot men can do,
As can’t be done by wimmen too,”
Aw — wot’s ther use!
Wimmen are er useless lot,
But stone the crows this Johnno’s ’ot,
You’ll do me kid!
A bloke ’as got ter give ’er best,
She’s put it over all ther rest.
So — I dips me lid! — J.C.H.
Truth (Sydney, NSW), 8 June 1930, p. 12
Also published in:
N.Z. Truth (Wellington, NZ), 26 June 1930, p. 6
This poem was written in the Australian vernacular, and is reminiscent of the style of C. J. Dennis, especially with regards to The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (1915); for example, see “The Intro”, wherein the phrase “I dips me lid” is used.
ain’t = (vernacular) a contraction of: am not; are not, aren’t; has not, hasn’t; have not, haven’t; is not, isn’t
airyplanin’ = (vernacular) aeroplaning (flying or travelling in an aeroplane)
an’ = (vernacular) and
’as = (vernacular) has
Billo = an alternative form of “Bill” (a diminutive form of “William”), used to refer to an everyday or ordinary Australian man (similar to the name “Billjim”)
blasted = an exclamatory oath
bloke = man, chap, fellow
bonser = (slang) excellent (can also be spelt as “bonzer” or “bonza”)
clock = (slang) face (derived from the face of a clock)
dips me lid = doffs my hat; to raise or take off one’s hat as a mark of respect; to tip one’s hat (can also refer to raising or removing one’s hat as a greeting, or as a congratulation or a compliment)
done ’er block = done her block; become very angry, lose one’s temper (also: did her block) (similar to: flipped her lid)
done the trick = achieved a task, achieved the desired effect or result
’e = (vernacular) he
’er = (vernacular) her
er = (vernacular) a
’ere = (vernacular) here
flamin’ = flaming (an exclamatory oath)
give ’er best = give her best; give someone praise
goose = fool, idiot, simpleton
hot = very good, impressive
Johnno = Amy Johnson (1903-1941) an English pilot, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia (flying 11,000 miles, or 18,000 km, 5-24 May 1930); she died on 5 January 1941 (during the Second World War), when her plane went down in the Thames Estuary (England)
joker = man, chap, fellow (depending on the context, used in a slightly disparaging but friendly manner, or in a strongly negative manner)
kid = a younger adult, usually used in an affectionate or friendly manner (can also refer to a young child)
me = (vernacular) my
’ot = (vernacular) hot
pat = “Pat Malone”, rhyming slang for “alone”
skirt = (slang) woman
sneerin’ = (vernacular) sneering
stone the crows = an exclamatory phrase, used to express astonishment, shock, or surprise (similar to: “strike me lucky”, “strike me pink”, “well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle”)
strike me fat = an exclamatory phrase, used to express astonishment, shock, or surprise (similar to: “strike a light”, “strike me lucky”, “strike me pink”, “stone the crows”)
ter = (vernacular) to
ther = (vernacular) the
wimmen = (vernacular) women
wot = (vernacular) what