More Poetry featuring Ray Bean

With thanks, yet again to the Sydney Bush Walkers. This from 1935

“The Club”

There is a Club that’s known to me
Of peripatetic people who
The open air and freedom woo
By mountain top and tumbling sea.

Each girds his loins in shorts and shirt
– Though others chuckle and deride –
And bursts upon the country side
Away from city’s dust and dirt.

A motlier crew I’ve never seen
When they’re all gathered in a mass;
‘Tis hard to say who’s man or lass –
They’re long and short and fat and lean.

There’s Bean, a youth of reedy girth,
A lad of misdirected humour,
Who – now list to local rumour –
Sneers at every scrounger’s worth

By writing verses long and awful
‘Bout that hairy Whiddon bird,
The lout with appetite absurd,
Who snares his neighbour’s food till full,

A being as you will surely find
The scroungers’ king – a walking void –
Most hungry, large, and un-annoyed,
And eating things of every kind.

And then there’s the Berts, so large and well known,
The “Der” of that ilk for his laughter’s renowned,
For the rafters do ring and the echoes rebound,
While struggles the “Her” with the President’s Bone.

Now in come the youngsters with Wiff to the fore.
“You are old Father William” the youngsters assert,
“You must have hiked first with Burke, Oxley, or Sturt,
But how is it still you’re young as of yore”?

And Wiff just smiles and answers them then:
“Its Era that does it with fresh air and sun,
With football and surf and plenty of fun,
And I’m wiry and strong as the youngest of men”.

There’s a red headed blonde – a hard headed Scot,
A youth with never a minute to spare,
Who never is known to curse or to swear,
But swore just once – taboos forgot.

The Aunt a mighty girl is she
Who dresses all in gray, alack!
From head to toe and front to back.
Oh Lord! why doesn’t she wear khaki?

Now Aunt was away with the crowd on “O’Hares”
And at night time the talk to language had turned.
Both rudeness and swearing were generally spurned
And the Aunt held the floor ‘gainst Jack Bolton’s ‘jeers.

When up spake the Scot with voice mild and meek
And recited at length – Aunt’s face quite a study! –
Regarding that Stockman all sunburnt and bloody
Who swam with his steed through a ruddy big creek.

There are deeds that are sung ’bout Kowmung and Cox
That stand out as epics and are told in great awe,
Of trails that were trod which one never saw
And many were lost by bush, creek, or rocks.

There’s a story of some who yelled themselves hoarse
When Tarro was lost with the girls off Clear Hill,
And they yodelled and called and searched with a will
While Harold perfected the strangest of “Morse”.

There are tales of the coast and Kanangra Walls,
Of sunlit waves and of tumbling seas,
Of the whistling wind and forests of trees,
And rock-strewn paths where the lyre bird calls.

Now fame on its scroll has the ‘Rangutangs writ,
And Hippos and Jaguars and others who’ve reigned,
With Bargers and Foxpaws all closely arraigned,
Being well known for talking, their scrounging, or wit.

They all have their day and pass like the mist
‘Neath sun’s rising beams – for new members live
And they on the wane have but memories to give,
But their tales of the past will always persist.

Be this as it may, our Club’s just as fine
As back in the days of its youth, for just
When the elders are stooped and starting to rust
The youngsters are eagerly toeing the line.

They’re long, they’re short, they’re fat and they’re lean
And their clothing would oft make a mendicant weep,
But they’re Bushwalkers all with traditions to keep
And their spirit is young as it always has been.


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