The Gentle Hint
The old man sat upon his swag his eyes were red and bleared.
I doubt he’d had a wash for days or even combed his beard.
He cadged my pouch and filled his pipe and calmly blew a cloud
‘Some blokes ain’t got no pride’ he said, ‘but I was always proud.
Some time ago I humped me swag along the Lachlan side
A blazing drought had hit the land and all the stock had died.
One night a good bit after dark I reached a country town;
Pulls up outside the local hall and flings me bluey down.
A dance was going on inside, a crowd was on the floor,
So I ’itches up me pants a bit and mooches in the door.
Some tarts was taken round the grub; I thinks I’m just in time;
A cup of tea will do me good; them sandwiches look prime.
But all at once the head serang, a great big hulking brute,
Strides across the floor at me and landed me a beaut.
He never said what made him narked or what he’d done it for
Just simply hits me good and hard, and knocks me out the door.
I landed fair upon me back. I got a nasty jar
And I thought just how he weren’t polite, I wondered who ’e are.
I thought per’aps he meant no harm, so I ’itches up me pants
And makes me mind up come what would, I’d take another chance.
I mooches in the door again. They’re cartin’ round the sweets.
Cream puff and buns ’n rainbow cakes and other fancy eats.
I’m just reaching out me dook when, strike me blue and blind,
One feller grabs me in the front, another from behind.
They swings me like a bag o’ chaff and shouted one, two, three
And then they laughs and holler ‘Go’, and it was go for me.
I hurtled out into the night and lands upon a stump
(Just put yer ’and behind me ear, you still can feel the lump)
That settled me; my oath it did; they’d hurt me in me pride;
And I decided there and then I wouldn’t go inside.
I knew I wasn’t welcome there, I saw it clear as print;
Some blokes ain’t got no pride at all – but I can take a hint!
Edward Harrington's Other Poems
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