Buenos Ayres [poem by Grant Hervey]

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

Buenos Ayres

I want to talk of Bunniz —
Its girls with jewelled arms,
Fairer than star or sun is ; —
Ah, dusky Creole charms !
The girls ’longside the Plata
Are girls of shinin’ gold :
I’ve kept one scented garter
These ten years, so’s the mould
O’ their fair limbs shan’t ever
Fade out of my old eyes.
O, Bunniz girls, I’d never
Swap you for Paradise !

With stoker-men a-graftin’
I went yon southward way ;
Our cross-heads an’ the shaftin’
Forever seemed to say :
“O Bunniz ! wait for Bunniz,
Its bosoms and its wine —
There is no land where fun is
To lick the Argentine !”
I waited for you, city,
Beneath the spear-marked stars —
O Bunniz girls, the pity
I left your sweet guitars !

’Twas wool we went a-seekin’,
From Boston-town that year ;
Our souls hung dry and creakin’
For woman’s lips and beer !
The inner “roads” lapped quiet
Against our plates o’ brown —
O loves of Hell ! — the riot
We made in Bunniz-town !
1 hear the soft mandolines
Still twangin’ in my brain,
Across the sea’s red bowlines
I see them girls again !

Wool — wool we struck in plenty,
In Constitucion mart —
With rich aguardiente
To warm each seaman’s heart.
And Bunniz opera dancers,
I seem to see you still ;
Like squads of joyous lancers
You charge my breast at will !
O Colon maids a-toein’ —
Somehow, I see you yet,
Your bosoms round and glowin’
Like fields of violet !

O Bunniz breasts, I’m dreamin’
Of you this blessed day ;
O lips of fire, I’m schemin’
To wing me back your way.
1 see your bright eyes flashin’ —
The old cabildo where
They fined me stiff for mashin’
Some Dagoes with a chair !
O, broadly-flowin’ Plata,
Perhaps I’ll come ere long
To steal one more round garter,
And hear one more sweet song !

O, Bunniz girls, I’m dreamin’
Of you right here and now ;
Oh, Dark Eyes, watch the seamen,
I’ll join them yet, I vow !
And swingin’ by ’Donado
Some day or night I’ll go —
I’ll drive the screws of Trade-O
Past Montevideo !
With triple screws a-batter,
Around the headlands brown,
With engines all a-clatter,
I’ll hew the tall leagues down 1

Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 203-205

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