Bullocky Bill

A poem by Edward Dyson

From a river siding, the railway town,
Or the dull new port there three days down,
Forward and back on the up-hill track,
With a creak of the jinker, a ringing crack,
Slow as a funeral, sure as steam,
Bullocky Bill and his old red team.

Ploughing around by the ti-tree scrub,
Four wheels down to the creeping hub,
Swaying they go, with their heads all low,
Bally, and Splodger, and Spot, and Jo.
Men in the ranges much esteem
Bullocky Bill and his old red team.

Worming about where the tall trees spring,
Surging ahead when the clay bogs cling;
A rattle of lash and of language rash
On the narrow edge of immortal smash.
He’d thread a bead or walk a beam,
Bullocky Bill with his old red team.

Climbing a ridge where the red stars ride;
Straddling down on the other side,
With a whistle and grind, and a scramble blind,
And a thundering gum-tree slung behind.
But they always get there, hill or stream,
Bullocky Bill and his old red team.

Engines or stamps for the mines about,
Tools for the men who are leading out;
Tucker, and boose, and the latest news
Back where the bunyip stirs the ooze.
Pioneers with the best we deem
Bullocky Bill and his old red team.

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