Vonda Stanley's collection of early Australian bush poems

 

The Little Worn Out Pony 

 

There's a little worn-out pony this side of Hogan's shack
With a snip upon his nuzzle and a mark upon his back;
Just a common little pony is what most people say,
But then of course they've never heard what happened in his day:
I was droving on the Leichhardt with a mob of pikers wild,
When this tibby little pony belonged to Hogan's child.

One night it started raining we were camping on a rise,
When the wind blew cold and bleakly and thunder shook the skies;
The lightning cut the figure eight around the startled cattle,
Then down there fell torrential rains and then began a battle.
In a fraction of an instant the wild mob became insane,
Careering through the timber helter-skelter for the plain.

The timber fell before them like grass before a scythe,
And heavy rain in torrents poured from the grimly blackened sky;
The mob rushed ever onward through the slippery sodden ground,
While the men and I worked frantically to veer their heads around;
And then arose an awful cry it came from Jimmy Rild,
For there between two saplings straight ahead was Hogan's child.

I owned not man or devil, I had not prayed since when,
But I called upon the blessed Lord to show His mercy then;
I shut my eyes and ground my teeth, the end I dared not see
Great God! The cattle a thousand head were crashing through the trees.
"God pity us bush children in our darkest hour of need,"
Were the words I prayed although I followed neither church or creed.

Then my right-hand 'man was shouting, the faithful Jimmy Rild,
"Did you see it, Harry, see the way he saved that child?"
"Saved! Saved, did you say?" and I shot upright with a bound,
"Yes, saved," he said, "indeed old man, the child is safe and sound.
I was feeling pretty shaky and was gazing up the track,
Just then a pony galloped, the kid hopped on its back.

"A blinding Bash of lightning then the thunder's rolling crack;
With two hands clasped upon his mane he raced towards the shack."
"Good heavens, man," I shouted then, "if that is truly so,
To blazes with the cattle, to the shanty we must go."
We reached Bill Hogan's shanty in fifteen minutes' ride,
Then left our horses standing and wildly rushed inside.

The little child was there unhurt but shivering with fear,
And Hogan told us, "Yes, thank God, there's the pony brought her here."
There's a little worn-out pony just this side of Hogan's shack
With a snip upon his nuzzle and a mark upon his back;
Just a common little pony is what most people say,
But I doubt if there's his equal in the pony world today.

 

anon

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