SUDDENLY to become John Benbow, walking down William Street
With a tin trunk and a five-pound note, looking for a place to eat,
And a peajacket the colour of a shark's behind
That a Jew might buy in the morning. . . .
To fry potatoes (God save us!) if you feel inclined,
Or to kiss the landlady's daughter, and no one mind,
In a peel-papered bedroom with a whistling jet
And a picture of the Holy Virgin. . . .
Wake in a shaggy bale of blankets with a fished-up cigarette,
Picking over the 'Turfbird's Tattle' for a Saturday morning bet,
With a bottle in the wardrobe easy to reach
And a blast of onions from the landing. . . .
Tattooed with foreign ladies' tokens, a heart and dagger each,
In places that make the delicate female inquirer screech,
And over a chest smoky with gunpowder-blue—
Behold!—a mermaid piping through a coach-horn!
Banjo-playing, firing off guns, and other momentous things to do,
Such as blowing through peashooters at hawkers to improve the view—
Suddenly paid-off and forgotten in Woolloomooloo. . . .
Suddenly to become John Benbow. . . .
Kenneth Slessor's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Metempsychosis by Kenneth Slessor )
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
William Ernest Henley
- Perhaps Of ofasianperhapsswayshymm, sEaN nOrTh
- Blamed too, hasmukh amathalal
- A Broken Mirror, Naveed Khalid
- BY Design, Terrance Tracy
- The Man of War and Flowers, Daniel Skentelbery
- Honest Love, Ronald Chapman
- Homage to Sarah Geronimo 'The Pop Star P.., Ronald Chapman
- False Prophets, Dexsta Ray
- scenic scene, lee fones
- Hold On, Ronald Chapman