Saltbush Bill and other Verses

The Pannikin Poet

Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

THERE’S nothing here sublime,
But just a roving rhyme,
Run off to pass the time,
        With nought titanic in.
The theme that it supports,
And, though it treats of quarts,
It’s bare of golden thoughts—
        It’s just a pannikin.

I think it’s rather hard
That each Australian bard—
Each wan, poetic card—
        With thoughts galvanic in
His fiery soul alight,
In wild aerial flight,
Will sit him down and write
        About a pannikin.

He makes some new-chum fare
From out his English lair
To hunt the native bear,
        That curious mannikin;
And then when times get bad
That wandering English lad
Writes out a message sad
        Upon his pannikin:

“O mother, think of me
Beneath the wattle tree”
(For you may bet that he
        Will drag the wattle in)
“O mother, here I think
That I shall have to sink,
There ain’t a single drink
        The water-bottle in.’

The dingo homeward hies,
The sooty crows uprise
And caw their fierce surprise
        A tone Satanic in;
And bearded bushmen tread
Around the sleeper’s head—
”See here—the bloke is dead!
        Now where’s his pannikin?”

They read his words and weep,
And lay him down to sleep
Where wattle-branches sweep,
        A style mechanic in;
And, reader, that’s the way
The poets of today
Spin out their little lay
        About a pannikin.

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