A Few Words

Jokes and yarns are undeniably very much a part of our Australian culture and have been told and retold for decades. Poets through the years have always enjoyed the challenge of presenting them in verse.

Depression years were hard on folks,
a quid was hard to find.
Some men they took Matilda up
and left their kin behind.

On dusty old dirt roads they tramped
in search of work and grub.
A log fire signalled where they camped
and creeks were where they’d tub.

They mostly travelled ‘round in twos,
but seldom did they speak.
You’d swear words were a quid a piece
or used just once a week.

Old Doughy Dave and Sundown Sam
were typical I ‘spose.
They’d tramp for days, though sure enough
no conversation rose.

Then late one arve they passed a beast
which lay there in a field.
The meat was blown, so they missed out,
no steaks would that beast yield.

While sitting ‘round the campfire’s glow
old Sundown fin’lly spoke,
“Darn shame that steer was blown eh Dough
and rolled another smoke.”

“A steer,” Dough said, “you’re joking mate
the darn thing was a cow.”
Then silence over took the camp,
it’s all they’d say for now.

Next morning as old Doughy rose
to meet another day,
seems Sundown Sam had broken camp
and set off on his way.

He’d left a few words on a note,
I guess not compliments,
but simply said, Moved on old mate
too many arguments.

From the Book Laughter and Tears from the Bush.


8 replies on “A Few Words”

Hi Merv,

This is a wonderful story told with local dialogue and a rhythmic pace that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish. Enjoyed the tale and especially the vivid characters you create or relay. Thanks for sharing this one, as always, it’s alive with spirit and a masterful storytelling voice!

My best,


Hello Merv,

thank you for being here and for always sharing both ‘laughter and tears’.
I don’t get on to reply as I used to, but I read every word and glory in the
talent and bourgeoning camaraderie. It is a joy to see. Many thanks.

My best,


G’day Craig. I haven’t been well for a while so please excuse the delayed reply. Some times it’s just great to read a simple story that brings a smile at the end. We still have a few bagmen who get around the country. Hope life is being kind.

Regards Merv.


G’day Wendy. It was tough times for the old bagmen during the depression and they had some funny ways. Good thing we can go to the local supermarket and get a bit of beef these days instead of having to take offerings such as road kill. Hope life is being kind.


G’day Sarah. Finally got back in. Old Henry Lawson wrote some great old stories about the depression years and the old blokes swagging it. They provided us with many a laugh ad tear. Hope you are keeping on top of things.


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