My friend Kirril has challenged me to write: “A bush ballad on Henry Lawson, Banjo Patterson and Henry Parkes rising from the grave and wreaking havoc in Blue Mountains”. This is it:
The Lurchers of the Bush
There was movement in the grave-yard, for the dust had got around
which the nuclear explosion sent our way.
It had joined the westward breezes, it was causing scratching sounds
on the inside sides of coffin lids that day.
And the dust blew up to Lawson and went round the Blaxland side,
up to Faulconbridge where Parkes was laid to rest.
And it blew into ole’ Leura where old oldies wait and ride
on the bus to take their tea, and pray, and jest.
(And for the sake of fiction, don’t you dare say that I lied,
we’ll imagine that old Banjo’s up there too,
that he was buried in a graveyard with ‘ole Lawson by his side;
that’s the sort of thing that poets often do.
Now this dust, I have to tell you, was a mighty potent thing
and it woke the minds of slumbering deceased
and one family was frightened and fair literally took wing
when old Nan got up and ate the local priest.)
So, the dust had barely settled when a mighty roar went ‘round
and Patterson exploded from his grave—
his beard was full of fury and his lungs were full of ground
and his worms were also wanting for a shave.
And then Lawson fair erupted with a crash of broken wood
and his voice called out with sound of clogging drains.
And the two dead poets blinked and slowly rotted where they stood
in unison, together, groaning “BRAAAINS!!”
And their cry received an echo from just slightly further west,
another voice yelled “BRAINS!” at Faulconbridge,
the voice (quite truly) seemed to have grown maggots in its chest
and then Henry Parkes lurched over from the ridge.
Then the three of them together lurched into the nearest town
and immediately were hit by passing cars
but they’re zombies now and valiantly refused to stay struck down
ate the drivers, ate the wipers, ate the tires.
But, they passed a pub while lurching and then something in them changed,
these three Aussies felt a stirring deep within.
They felt a thirst for kith and kinship that was equally deranged
and iambic in its rhyming ramblin’.
“Brains” parks cried out softly, but brave Banjo yelled out “BOOZE!”
and Lawson, with a twinkle, added ‘GRAINS!’
And as Lawson lol’d a little in his shuffling zombie shoes
a new and unquenched hunger took the reins.
They lurched into the hotel and the people turned their heads
and the barman laid out schooners for the three,
and then with the drinking fervour of the dusty zombie dead
the three corpses downed their drinks with dusty glee.
Then as the sun was setting and the taps were running dry
the zombies slumped a little by the hearth.
They raised a final schooner, and they winked a final eye
as they slept again and merged back to the earth.