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Friday, October 13, 2006

Another Selection of Denis Kevans's Poems (1939-2005)

The Bastard Who Squashed The Grapes In Me Bag

I’ve known some lousy bastards, and I bet you have too,

But there is no better bastard than a bastard dressed in blue,

With all their bluff and bluster, there is no-one they can lag,

The dirty, rotten bastards squash the grapes inside your bag!

I was over there in Adelaide, my banner in the sky,

Saying, “Ta tag ga-ga Cha-Cha, and bye-bye Lady Di.”

And I said to waxworks escapees: ”My thoughts you’ll never gag,”

When this lousy, rotten bastard squashed the grapes inside my bag.

Most bastards aren’t real bastards, their only trying out,

They are only apprentice bastards for the bastard talent scout,

Baby bastards, bantams only, who will barrack, brawl and brag,

But not rotten bastard squashed the grapes inside me bag.

He wouldn’t be part bastard, he’s a bastard under par,

He’d have a proper pedigree from the bastard registrar,

Almost the perfect bastard, and for him the day would drag,

If he couldn’t lift his boot and squash the grapes inside your bag.

He’d have to be all bastard from his bootstraps to his head,

Bred by balls of bastard fathers, who were bastards born and bred,

And the bastard got his guernsey, when he gave his toes a wag,

And made a bloody puree of the grapes inside me bag,

There was Jenny, a strange bastard, no stranger bastard born,

When you asked about the phone bill, she would at you with scorn,

And she call it “paranoia”, said your “vibes” were really “agg”

But she couldn’t touch the bastard squashed the grapes inside me bag.

Then there was “Strawb”, an A-grade bastard, who was brillant in a test,

When bastardry was blooming, he out bastarded the best,

He would bot your soap, and jock-strap, he would your final fag,

But he couldn’t beat the bastard squashed the grapes inside me bag,

Poor bastards are a species, patronizing little squirts,

Who will winkle out your weakness, and the nag until it hurts,

And they talk to other bastards, and the bastards start to mag,

But an elocution teacher squashed the grapes inside me bag.

They were luscious, they were lovely, with the sun kiss on the skin,

Pouting with a Summer’s beauty, and the juice within,

But beauty baffles bastards, and the bastards kinda sag,

Like that lousy, rotten bastard squashed the grapes inside me bag.

I have no yen for vengeance, vendettas, or a feud,

Grape-crushing brainless bastards are the greatest bastards brewed,

I’d sentence them to treading grapes in some remote Goulag,

With that lousy rotten bastard squashed the grapes inside me bag.

I mean that rotten bastard squashed the grapes inside me bag.

Cockatoo Island

This land is your land,

This land is my land,

From Cape York Peninsula

To the Cockatoo Island

Now Kerry Packer wants Cockatoo Island

To build a billion dollar Resort,

For his billionaire mates,

To have a casino,

To have boats going back and forth,

Like they have in Hong Kong

Using the water

And the coloured lights on the boats;

There won’t be ferries for the people,

And their children,

For cheap excursions like there used to be

On Sydney Harbour,

When my grandfather was a kid,

No, billionaires only thank you very much,

Clean out their shitpots and dust the cue,

And Kerry says to Bob Hawker

I’m runnen’ the media of half this country,

You want to get reelected Bobby Baby?

Sack these workers, destroy their families,

And their hopes, destroy Australia’s

Ship-repair industry,

And repairing Defense vessels;

We’ll erect a plaque to sailors,

Who, in the Second World War,

Attempted to conquer Australia,

We’ll erect a plaque for them,

But for those who repair Defense ships,

For Australia, sack’em,

‘S Kerry me mate, and he’s gunna

Back me up up in the Elections.

This land is your land,

This land is my land,

From Cape York Peninsula

To the Cockatoo Island

Painter and Dockers

We did Time for the Union Movement,

We did Time for the workers, too,

We did Time for the Nation’s leaders,

And now they say we are through.

Guilford Four

The Guilford Four, framed by the law,

Go out, the iron door banged,

Up comes a journo, half full of Pernot

-“How would you feel now, if you’d ‘a hanged.

The Roar of the Crowd

I’ve heard the roar of the wind, boys in mighty green-shirt pines,

As if the trees were blazing like a gas-fire in the mines,

And the wind’s voice kept on mounting against the midnight’s face

I felt the roar well up in me, that roar has left its trace.

I’ve heard the roar at the school gates when the holidays began,

When the boys raced out like brumbies grown men turned and ran,

And they raced down through the playground

and they roared out: ”We are free!”

Ah, the hungry roar of the schoolboys still lives in me.

I’ve heard the roar at the football match as it rose in the crowded stands,

When a winger leapt and took a pass with magic, outstretched hands,

And the double roar as he came inside and flashed across the line

That was a roar that stirred my soul a roar that was a sign.

I’ve heard the roar on the racecourse when the favorite lunged ahead

He took the lead of the ledger and the rest of the field seem dead,

And the roar for horse and jockey with numbers in the frame,

That was a roar that spurred my blood and victory was its name.

I’ve heard the roar of soldiers when they first went to the front,

When war was only a sporting- match they begged to go on a stunt,

And they roared: “Come on Australia”. “Wagga!” and “Henty!” and “Hay”!,

Ah, that was the roar of the slaughterhouse, there’s nothing more to say.

And I’ve heard the roar at the Town Hall when the delegate rose to speak,

A roar to shake the merciless, a roar to raise the weak,

To raise the weak and wondering, to give eyes to the blind,

That was the roar of a tidal wave that was making up its mind.

Parramatta River

The Councillor spoke with conviction,

Like a preacher from a Hollywood missionate,

“The Parramatta River isn’t dirty,

The problem is all these dead fish in it.


For rich individuals,

The dividends are creamier,

For thousands of our children,

The dividend is leukemia.

Like the Roman Caesars

Like the Roman Caesars

They tore of his legs

In front of us,

A Vietnam Veteran,

An American GI

Brian Wilson,

The barbarians,

They tore his legs off, why?

He said-

Stop the Ammunition train,

That’s all he said-

Stop the Ammunition train,

For the Contras in Honduras,

For the Contras in Nicaragua,

That was all-

Brian Wilson.

Pigs Arse is Pork

“Pigs Arse is Pork,” Ada would say,

But, no pig’s arse is orchids! Which way?

Well, these feral pigs travel miles each day,

Through the Megalong, Garangatcha’s way.

To snip the native orchids, those exquisite blooms,

The pigs’ bio-vibe latches onto protein,

In the pretty flowers, so, hour by hour,

They’re snaffling the tender, native orchids,

Of Australia. The pigs! The feral pigs!

Pigs Arse is Pork. No,

Jesus Saves

Religion has its benefits,

Arousing wits and sages,

“Jesus saves,” and, underneath,

“He couldn’t on my wages.”

Safety Precaution

The labourer fell from the scaffold,

Way down where the concrete is small,

The boss ran out with a used Kleenex,

To cushion the poor bastards fall.

Bob Hawke the Scab

“I’m naked and someone has stolen my clothes,

And I cannot get on with the job,

And thousands of eyes are staring at me,”

It’s because you’re a scab, Bob.

Shiva the Worker

Shiva, can work with gaiety,

And Shiva is an eight-armed diety,

And if the boss makes a killing,

With his multi-skilling,

We’ll need eight arms to catch up with him, matey.

Break Even

I came into this world with nothen,

And one day I’ll be leaven’,

And, if I finish with nothen’,

Well, mate, I’ve broken even.

What is This Union Jack?

What is This Union Jack?

With stripes of red and white,

Was it the convict’s back,

Cut by day, and night?

Proud flag of the Blitz!

You waved above the law

In outposts of Empire,

Your slaves were red and raw.

But now, Australian say-

“Enough, O Royal Boss!

We want our nation’s flag,

The star-bright Southern Cross.

Captain Lalor

Captain Lalor,

Haven’t you lost your way?

What are you doing here,

Four hundred yards from the peak of Chunuk Bair?

Peter Lalor’s sword by your side,

Your grandfather’s sword by your side,

The 26th April, 1915, far from your farm in Victoria, so green?

Captain Lalor,

Haven’t you lost your way?

What are you doing here?

Your eyes filming,

Your fingers unlacing from the handle of Peter Lalor’s sword,

So carefully balanced and restored,

Your spent cartridges all around,

Your four mates lying without a sound,

Captain Lalor,

What are you doing here?

Four hundred yards from the peak of Chunuk Bair?

The Ghost of Sydney Opera House

There’s a ghost in Sydney Opera House,

Who sings in all the shows,

The glittering tiaras sometimes

Tumble on their toes,

The ghost he was a rigger,

And he’d sing up in the shell,

And we sank a fleet of schooners

In the First and Last Hotel


And we’ll sing Paddy, sing,

A song to rouse ‘em all,

You’re the Ghost of Sydney Opera House,

Now take a curtain call,

When in Madame Butterfly,

Joan reaches for High C

We’ll whisper-“Rest your tonsils, love

And leave this one to me.”

When we built the Opera House,

The ‘gingerbeers’d moan,

How can we make this jigsaw fit,

Gigantic blocks of stone?

Says Paddy-“Dig, we’ll jury-rig,

I learnt it when a tar”,

He turned and drew the harness

In the circles in the bar.

We hoisted up those pieces,

And the jigsaw fitted well,

But Paddy took a header

High up in the Opera Shell,

We tried to drown our sorrows

In a wagon load of beer,

The more we drank, the more we knew,

That Paddy was still here.

Paddy was a rigger,

Now he’s in the Opera game,

He got the nod in Tosca,

And the lead in La Boheme,

You should of seen his pantaloons

When he pranced straight through the door,

Playen the local hero

In Luccia di Lammamoor.

Now his voice it carries sweetly

Through the grandeur of the dome-

“Since I helped build the place

I’ll take it for my home”,

His voice it carries sweetly

Through the beauty of the shell-

“Mine’ll be a schooner

In the First and Last Hotel.”

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