Henry Kendall

(18 April 1839 – 1 August 1882 / Ulladulla, New South Wales)

Black Kate - Poem by Henry Kendall

KATE, they say, is seventeen—
Do not count her sweet, you know.
Arms of her are rather lean—
Ditto, calves and feet, you know.
Features of Hellenic type
Are not patent here, you see.
Katie loves a black clay pipe—
Doesn’t hate her beer, you see.
Spartan Helen used to wear
Tresses in a plait, perhaps:
Kate has ochre in her hair—
Nose is rather flat, perhaps.
Rose Lorraine’s surpassing dress
Glitters at the ball, you see:
Daughter of the wilderness
Has no dress at all, you see.

Laura’s lovers every day
In sweet verse embody her:
Katie’s have a different way,
Being frank, they “waddy” her.
Amy by her suitor kissed,
Every nightfall looks for him:
Kitty’s sweetheart isn’t missed—
Kitty “humps” and cooks for him.

Smith, and Brown, and Jenkins, bring
Roses to the fair, you know.
Darkies at their Katie fling
Hunks of native bear, you know.
English girls examine well
All the food they take, you twig:
Kate is hardly keen of smell—
Kate will eat a snake, you twig.

Yonder lady’s sitting room—
Clean and cool and dark it is:
Kitty’s chamber needs no broom—
Just a sheet of bark it is.
You may find a pipe or two
If you poke and grope about:
Not a bit of starch or blue—
Not a sign of soap about.

Girl I know reads Lalla Rookh—
Poem of the “heady” sort:
Kate is better as a cook
Of the rough and ready sort.
Byron’s verse on Waterloo,
Makes my darling glad, you see:
Kate prefers a kangaroo—
Which is very sad, you see.

Other ladies wear a hat
Fit to write a sonnet on:
Kitty has—the naughty cat—
Neither hat nor bonnet on!
Fifty silks has Madame Tate—
She who loves to spank it on:
All her clothes are worn by Kate
When she has her blanket on.

Let her rip! the Phrygian boy
Bolted with a brighter one;
And the girl who ruined Troy
Was a rather whiter one.
Katie’s mouth is hardly Greek—
Hardly like a rose it is:
Katie’s nose is not antique—
Not the classic nose it is.

Dryad in the grand old day,
Though she walked the woods about,
Didn’t smoke a penny clay—
Didn’t “hump” her goods about.
Daphne by the fairy lake,
Far away from din and all,
Never ate a yard of snake,
Head and tail and skin and all.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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