“Dunno!” [poem by Bernard Espinasse]

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


’Member Jim? Long, lanky slab,
Seemed he had no tongue to gab.
Shed all clucking, he’d lie low ;
Ask him; he’d say, “Oh! dunno!”

Mighty hard to interest Jim,
Most things wuz the same to him;
Sport or politics had no show;
Jim would say, “Oh, I dunno !”

Jim got struck on Quigly’s girl,
She on him — she was a pearl !
But he couldn’t talk, an’ he wouldn’t go,
An’ what to do Jim did n’t know.

So, seein’ ’s how Jim made no play,
“D’yerlove me?” she asks him one day.
Jim he thinks, looks at her slow,
An’ — s’elp me! — says he, “I dunno !”

Broke it off ? You bet a quid !
Took it easy too, Jim did.
Not a chap much on for show,
But he felt it — yes ! — I know !

Night the fire burnt Quigly’s place,
Jim — yer should ’ave seen ’is face !—
Rushed in — bli’ me, he would go !—
What for ? Quigly’s girl, you know.

Got her safe — but he, my word !
Parson came ’s soon ’s he heard.
“You a Christian?” he says low,
Jim just gasps out, “I — dun — no !”

Died then, Jim did. Parson, well,
He guessed Jim would go to Hell.
’Cos he wasn’t “saved,” I s’pose —
Mebbe there ’s a God who knows.

Bernard Espinasse.

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 160-161

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