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Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Bush poem 5 from Long John Best

Day 5 bush poem 5:

As a teenager and young man, Johnny served 15 years in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Here is one of his poems about a World War II veteran.

Long John Best:
Someone told me this was illusory, whatever that means it sounds pretty flash. It’s called:

Verandah Dreaming

Good to see you, old mate, I've missed you of late, have you been just a little bit off?
Pull up a chair, oh you've got your own there, twenty-eight inch wheels. Bloody cough.
Hey remember as kids, we used to do skids on our pushies with big wheels like that?
No pneumatics of course, solids; bucked like a horse, but Jesus they never went flat.

These kids of to-day, they dunno how to play, they say Gramps put TV on, we’re bored,
Then they up and they prance, like they've ants in their pants, that music’s a crime to record.
So what's with this chair, you've still got your legs there, aren't you bunging it on a bit, Fred?
Them legs saved your life, when you got into strife, with that farmer, I thought you were dead!

He must have seen me, though I hid up a tree when he lined up that 12-gauge on you.
Well struth, I knew you could run, but outrun a gun. Christ mate, you bloody near flew!
Proved a decent old bloke, liked a bit of a joke, and showed that he wasn't no dobber,
Left Mum a box with a note, still remember he wrote, "melons for felons", your cobber.

Oh but we never knew, when he lined up on you, and let one fly in the air out of fun,
That in only three years, with me hiding me fears, we'd be lined up again, by the Hun.
Oh, we'd joined up real fast, just in case the chance passed, who wouldn't want to be in it?
We drilled and we trained, but excitement soon waned, with bad news from the Front; can we win it?

Fred, I wasn't so sure, but you'd just ignore the doom and the gloom, get stuck in.
Me, I went with the tide, hoped, with you by my side, at the end of the day, mate, we'd win.
Cobbers eh, Freddy, weren’t all staunch and steady, a coupla right mongrels we knew,
"Reckitts" you dubbed 'em, and when Jerry near scrubbed 'em, they turned out quite white in the blue.

"Weak pair of bastards", you said, "they'll both wind up dead", a prediction, which wound up spot on,
Both blown to the khazi outside of Benghazi, and there weren’t a lot left, when they’d gone,
We crept in, out of Crete, near dead on our feet, couldn't picture us getting much older,
But you Freddy mate, oh Jeez you were great, I got scareder, and you just grew bolder.

The terrible two-some they called us, but mate you knew some, if not all of my fears,
Like, late at night when I cried, having dreamt I had died, a secret you kept down the years.
The next few dragged by, it's just in hindsight they fly, and I come back home, pretty right.
Oh, it's nothing you'd notice, but Jesus don't quote us, see I still wake up bawling at night.

I’m burnt out now of course, what you’d call a spent force, bastard banks took the deeds to the station.
Have we come such a ways, since our Middle East days, when you gave up your life, for this Nation?
I get feelings of guilt that this country we’ve built,might of done better with you here than me,
And quite often I wonder if this younger mob understands what it costs to be free.

Am I losing it, Fred? Am I better off dead? Seems the world of our youth's come behind.
Though your body's not near, your spirit is here, it's why I talks to you see, in me mind.
I suppose there's been others who had better brothers, but no one I've met ever did.
This long life I have led, is down to you, Fred, still sleeping in Libya, still a kid.

I’m fading fast, Freddy. I think I am ready, to take up where last we left off.
Put the billy on, mate, I've not long to wait, got this pain in me chest---bloody cough.

"Come in now please Dad, it makes me so mad, when you're jibbering to old Uncle Fred,
You know he's long gone, gee, you do carry on . . .  Oh, Sweet Jesus, my Father is dead."

YOU CAN ORDER TALL TALES from your physical bookstore (author Long John Best, publisher Bent Banana Books) or in paperback or eBook from online-retailers including     (paperback and Kindle) (Barnes&Noble paperback)

Proceeds to animal welfare, RSPCA QLD

Here is a 1969 hit about a young man going to the Vietnam war. At the end of the song, stick around to see a very skinny, very young Bee Gees covering Bob Dylan.

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