The Poetry Corner

My Mate Bill

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

Thats his saddle on the tie-beam, And thems his spurs up there On the wall-plate over yonder You ken see they aint a pair. For the daddy of all the stockmen As ever come mustering here Was killed in the flaming mulga, A-yarding a bald-faced steer. They say as hes gone to heaven, And shook off all worldly cares But I cant sight Bill in a halo Set up on three blinded hairs. In heaven! what next I wonder, For strike me pink and blue, If I see whatever in thunder Theyll find for Bill to do. Hed never make one of them angels, With faces as white as chalk, All wool to the toes like hoggets, And wings like an eagle-hawk. He couldnt arp for apples, His voice had tones as jarred, And hed no more ear than a bald-faced steer, Or calves in a branding yard. He could sit on a bucking brumbie Like a nob in an easy chair, And chop his name with a greenhide fall On the flank of a flying steer. He could show them saints in glory The way that a fall should drop, But sit on a thronenot William, Unless they could make it prop. He mightnt freeze to the seraphs, Or chum with the cherubim, But if ever them seraph johnnies Get a-poking it like at him Well! if theres hide in heaven, And silk for to make a lash, Hell yard em all in the Jasper Lake In a blinded lightning flash. If the heavenly hosts get boxed now, As mobs most always will, Wholl cut em out like William, Or draft on a camp like Bill? An orseman would find it awkward At first with a push that flew, But blame my cats if I know what else Theyll find for Bill to do. Its hard if there aint no cattle, And perhaps theyll let him sleep, And wake him up at the judgment To draft those goats and sheep. Its playing it low on William, But perhaps hell buckle to, To show them high-toned seraphs What a Mulga man can do. If they saddles a big-boned angel, With a turn of speed, of course, As can spiel like a four-year brumbie, And prop like an old camp horse, And puts Bill up with a snaffle, A four or five inch spur, And eighteen foot of greenhide To chop the blinded fur Hell yard them blamed Angoras In a way that its safe to swear Will make them tony seraphs Sit back on their thrones and stare.