David Lewis Paget
The Boneyard - Poem by David Lewis Paget
On the thirteenth day of the seventh month
Big Max came into town,
He came with a clutch of plans, he said,
We'd be ‘mad to turn him down! '
He walked right into the council
And he huddled up with the mayor,
The mayor could only see dollar signs
As he sat him down in his chair!
We're just a common old country town,
There's not much happens here,
The town grew up around farmers,
Pioneers of yesteryear!
There's shops and government offices,
A bank and a couple of pubs,
And the highlight of the weekend whirl
Is a night at the social clubs!
We also have two cemeteries,
The ‘Old' one and the ‘New',
There's not been a burial in the Old
It sits right there, at the edge of town,
All weeds and overgrown,
A bit of an eyesore, tell the truth,
While the New is nicely mown!
The news went round like a forest fire,
Big Max had bought the Old,
He wanted to build a Burger joint
And a Pizza Bar all told,
And then the parking, fifty cars
Should take up all the ground,
Where the bones of our pioneers had lain,
The founders of the town!
The moans and mutterings grew apace,
The mayor was brought to book,
How dare he sell off the hallowed ground?
This Max might be a crook!
The council went in a huddle
And approved the mayor's plan,
They quoted some ancient ordinance
While the people shouted: ‘Scam! '
But then the heavy equipment came
The dozers, trucks and rigs,
With men they hired from the city
To compound his dirty tricks,
While Max looked on, a complacent smile
Was fixed on his ugly face,
‘Just wait ‘til you're tasting the burgers! '
He'd reply, when they'd shout: ‘Disgrace! '
As fast as the headstones tumbled, they
Were laid around the edge,
‘They'll come in handy for fencing,
We won't need to grow a hedge.'
But then the coffins began to rise
And they spilled their cache of bones,
The dozers piled them in heaps, as if
They were shunting piles of stones.
That night, a wind in the eucalypts
Swirled round that hallowed site,
It moaned with a grim and haunted sound
And it howled to the dawning light,
While Max, they threw him out of the pub
And told him he'd have to roam,
With the souls of the dead uncovered there
As his men took off, went home.
The lightning flashed as he walked the streets
And the thunder chilled his spine,
The rain came down in a stream not seen
Since the winter of '59,
He sought relief by a dozer, sheltered
Under a locked up truck,
Then heard a sigh, as a ghost went by
And a hundred more rose up!
He tried to run, but the ground, undone
Was a series of pits and holes,
He ended up to his waist in one,
And turned, and prayed for his soul.
The last of the standing headstones there
Then toppled, and pinned him down,
When the sun rose up in the morning
One of the council found him, drowned!
The ‘Old' has become a pretty park
In the shade of the eucalypts,
The headstones laid, flat to the ground
In a lawn that is kept well clipped,
The pioneers have been laid to rest
Once more in their holy ground,
And we're more than blessed, though I must confess,
There isn't a burger in town!
27 May 2012
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