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A Little Poetic Licence and Larceny

Updated on February 8, 2018

No apologies for Dreaming....

Most times we go to the Kitchen to cook. Sometimes the mind can drift away whilst the hands are busy with the mundane preparation of yet another soup, yet another curry - or cake, or tray of Anzac biscuits to make.

Some of us really DO love cooking - BUT - the imagination is a fickle thing with a mind of it's own!!

And so, in dreams, we can imagine, pretend, escape the tedium and repetition.....and fly.

Sometimes, late at night, or in the wee small hours, our imagination is fired up by the powerful prose of others, and we dream, also...that we, too, can compose stirring and heartrendingly beautiful words strung together to create unimaginable imagery.

I DID say dream, remember? ...and I like to fondly 'dream' that Henry Lawson's spirit looks on and chuckles about my 'feeble but funny twist' on his poem.......just maybe.

Words from a REAL poet


O I dreamt I shore in a shearing shed and it was a dream of joy

For every one of the rouseabouts was a girl dressed up as a boy

Dressed up like a page in a pantomime the prettiest ever seen

They had flaxen hair they had coal black hair and every shade between

There was short plump girls there was tall slim girls and the handsomest ever seen

They was four foot five they was six foot high and every shade between

The shed was cooled by electric fans that was over every shoot

The pens was of polished mahogany and everything else to suit

The huts had springs to the mattresses and the tucker was simply grand

And every night by the billabong we danced to a German band

Our pay was the wool on the jumbucks' backs so we shore till all was blue

The sheep was washed afore they was shore and the rams were scented too

And we all of us cried when the shed cut out in spite of the long hot days

For every hour them girls waltzed in with whisky and beer on trays

There was three of them girls to every chap and as jealous as they could be

There was three of them girls to every chap and six of them picked on me

We was drafting them out for the homeward track and sharing them round like steam

When I woke with my head in the blazing sun to find it a shearer's dream

Henry Lawson (1902)

...and then there is 'The Housewife's Dream'

- with humblest apologies to Henry Lawson

Oh, I dreamt I cooked in a Kitchen, with twenty in my employ,

And every hand was a handsome young man, there to give me joy -

Dressed up like guys from the Penthouse Club, and the sexiest ever seen -

In jock straps, in denim, in leather - and in suits with a silken sheen.

There were short muscly men, there were tall broad men, and some were sleek and lean -

They were five foot five, they were six foot ten, and every height between

The kitchen was lit with strobe lights, a wonderland to behold,

The utensils were jewel encrusted, and the sink was pure gold.

The ovens were all computerised - a robot was always at hand,

To grant every wish and wash every dish, to obey my every command.

My pay was a thousand an hour, just to tell all my guys what to do,

Ordering mixing and beating and kneading, and a kiss and a cuddle too.

I gave my orders most kindly, whilst resting on my water bed,

And they gave me champers and caviar, or ouzo and oysters, instead.

There were three of those guys to admire my eyes, and three more to laugh at my jokes,

And at least three for sure, fought to be my masseur, they were all of them such jealous blokes.

I kept trying to choose the sexiest one, as I ate some strawberries and cream,

When I woke to a kitchen filled up with smoke, to find 'twas a house-wife's dream!!!



...and from another REAL poet - 'Banjo' Paterson'

...verbal sparring partner of Henry Lawson


Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong

Under the shade of a coolabah tree,

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"

And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong,

Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,

And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"

And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,

Down came the troopers, one, two, three,

"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?"

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"

"Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?",

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,

"You'll never take me alive", said he,

And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me"

And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,

"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."

"Oh, You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."

Here's one of the best renditions I know - ... by one of Australia's greatest ballad singers

The incomparable Slim Dusty.

Here are translations from his works...

WALTZING MATILDA The act of carrying the 'swag' (an alternate colloquial term is 'humping the bluey').

Matilda is an old Teutonic female name meaning 'mighty battle maid'. This may have informed the use of 'Matilda' as a slang term to mean a de facto wife who accompanied a wanderer. In the Australian bush a man's swag was regarded as a sleeping partner, hence his 'Matilda'. (Letter to Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill, KG from Harry Hastings Pearce, 19 February 1958. Harry Pearce Papers, NLA Manuscript Collection, MS2765)

BILLABONG A small ox-bow waterhole on the outside channel of a river. Perhaps Aboriginal 'billa" - water; "bong" - dead.

COOLIBAH Sometimes spelled coolabah: a species of gum or eucalyptus tree.

SWAGMAN An Australian itinerant worker, so called on account of the 'swag', usually a chaff bag, containing his 'billy', provisions and blankets.

BILLY An open topped tin can, with a wire carrying handle, used for boiling water into which tea was thrown.

TUCKER BAG A bag for 'tucker' or food.

JUMBUCK A sheep. The term may be a corruption of 'jump up' (Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd rev. ed. Sydney: Macquarie, 2001)

SQUATTER A grazier, pastoralist or station (ranch) owner. Note that the meaning of the word changed later in the twentieth century to mean a person who occupied or resided at a property illegally.

- Courtesy of the National Library of Australia -

.....And then there was a 'wannabee' poet's version, renamed WALTZING O'LARSEN

...created as a tribute to her husband on his 50th birthday and sung to him by our guests.....

Once a jolly carpenter sat beside his tool kit,

Under the shade of a great jarrah tree,

And he sang as he sat, and whittled his what's-its-name?

"Waltzing O'Larsen, a farmer you should be!"

Waltzing O'Larsen, Waltzing O'Larsen,

From Denmark I sailed, far across the sea,

To a new land, a new life - three kids and a nagging wife!

Now it's Australia, Australia for me.

He rode to the West, mounted on an Ansett jet,

Soon he became an apprentice cocky.

Well, he shore sheep, he dipped sheep - had mutton in his tucker bag,

"Too hot and dusty - a dairy next for me!"

Waltzing O'Larsen, Waltzing O'Larsen,

Down at Parawa, a 'boob' man I'll be!

It's a titty job, a shitty job - cleaning up my harem,

"Next stop Strathalbyn - a cattle king I'll be!"

Well, he had a fancy farm - tennis court and swimming pool,

Reckoned he was King - what a load of bull!

But his heart sank, at the bank, as he wailed in misery,

"Bushranger Keating has nicked my dough from me!"

Waltzing O'Larsen, Waltzing O'Larsen,

I'd better save my bacon - a pig man I will be,

Hear them snort, drink a port, try to think what 'sex' can be??

And watch Boris Boar, as he bores on faithfully!!!

Waltzing O'Larsen, Waltzing O'Larsen,

Management material some thought you would be.

Well, you've taken 'BLEEP', you've shifted 'BLEEP', you've even been neck-deep in 'BLEEP'!!!!!



And MORE translations - *#!?#*@??

= all mine, this time!

ANSETT JET - Australian airline named after it's owner and creator Reginald Ansett.

COCKY - a farmer with large land-ownership - sheep, cattle or cropping.

SHORE- past tense of 'shear' (as in giving a sheep a haircut...)

DIPPED SHEEP - annual treatment of sheep for parasite protection, so-named because the sheep are completely immersed (or 'dipped) underwater in a long trough of chemically treated water (somewhat similar to humans taking a 'dip' in the sea).

MUTTON - old sheep, usually all that was left for the 'family', after the choice sheep were sold

TUCKER BAG - lunch bag/box/old flour bag/hessian bag/whatever came to hand, actually

BOOB - in this specific case, referring to cows' udders

TITTY- in this specific case, referring to cows' teats

SHITTY - well, guess??

A LOAD OF BULL - in polite terms - to talk knowledgeably about an unknown subject. Used often in the Aussie language - about almost anything you can imagine.

BUSHRANGER - thieving scoundrel

KEATING - one time Aussie Prime Minister - tough & austere monetary policies - often nicknamed 'the undertaker' - also as used in this poem, 'a bushranger'.

BORIS BOAR- hand-raised from a piglet, even attended the 50th birthday party sung about below, albeit as an uninvited guest (....and Boris's story is a total other story entirely)

BLEEP - well really - what do YOU think?

Just have to ask -

I have my favourite......which is yours?

See results

The Glorious 'Man from Snowy River'

... by the inimitable 'Banjo' Patterson

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around

That the colt from old Regret had got away,

And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,

So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far

Had mustered at the homestead overnight,

For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,

And the stockhorse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,

The old man with his hair as white as snow;

But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up -

He would go wherever horse and man could go.

And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,

No better horseman ever held the reins;

For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,

He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,

He was something like a racehorse undersized,

With a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at least -

And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.

He was hard and tough and wiry - just the sort that won't say die -

There was courage in his quick impatient tread;

And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,

And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,

And the old man said, "That horse will never do

For a long a tiring gallop - lad, you'd better stop away,

Those hills are far too rough for such as you."

So he waited sad and wistful - only Clancy stood his friend -

"I think we ought to let him come," he said;

"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,

For both his horse and he are mountain bred.

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,

Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,

Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,

The man that holds his own is good enough.

And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,

Where the river runs those giant hills between;

I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,

But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."

The Bush Christine L.

(with apologies to Banjo Patterson and his classic 'The Man from Snowy River')

There was excitement in the West, for the word had passed around

A gymkhana of importance would be held.

At a little known old gold mine, not much more than scratched up ground

- a near-forgotten spot in this wide world.

Many brave and skilled horsemen from the stations near and far,

Would gather for the challenge - and the fight.

For 'outsiders' rarely know how talented they are,

And how the stock horse shares in the delight.

There was Jamieson, who's claim to fame was winning last year's cup.

The young man with hair so blonde - you know?

Few could match his prowess, once his mind was fair made up,

To aim higher than horse and man should ever go.

And Simpson from the Alice came down to try his hand,

Few better stockmen ever held the reins.

For no horse had ever tossed him, on this red and dusty land,

He'd learnt his skills the hard way - on the plains.

And Darcy who was indigenous, on a most unlikely beast,

Some resemblance to a brumby, undersized.

With a touch of something else - some part thoroughbred, at least?

An unknown type that stockmen rarely prized.

But the way both stood so proudly, you knew they'd never say die,

So much passion in that brisk and fidgety tread.

And they both lay down the gauntlet with a game glint in the eye,

And a clearly challenging toss of the head.

But despite all this fire, they doubted his power to stay

And one old hand worded it the best -

"A competition like this lad? - you'd better stay away,

That little nag of yours won't stand the test."

Darcy wilted somewhat, but Jamieson was his friend.

"Come on fellers. Give him a go!" Jamieson said.

"I know we'll be battling right through to the end,

But don't forget - we're both bush born and bred."

Some went to get their horses, down by the reedy clump

and saddled up, ignoring nervous stamps

And the old hands gave the hopefuls much advice -

"Barrel race first up - need some fancy riding now"

And you must circle them, first to left and then to right,

Ride firmly lads, and never fear a spill,

For never has a rider won a worthwhile fight,

Without being relaxed and calm - and using skill.

The 'True Blue' sounds and words

Which only go to emphasise the mediocrity of my 'musings' and so-called 'poeticisms' (spell check doesn't like that one at all)

Can you imagine writing like these 'giants' of Australian literature? One can but dream!

So - did I lighten your day - maybe just a little? - ..hope so, my days were lifted high in the creation.

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Still smiling. Your versions of these classic versions are entertaining and clever (and relatable -- especially the kitchen filled with smoke. Yes, I'm a daydreamer and not much of a cook...). I enjoyed your introduction to some Australian literature and appreciated your translations of colloquial terms. Lovely. Blessed.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      10 years ago from Central Florida

      How fun! Enjoyed the side by side poems. Very creative.

    • cdcraftee profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine Larsen 

      11 years ago from South Australia

      Ohh.hh. Thank you kindly everyone. What lovely comments. I am so appreciative that this 'fun' lens is being enjoyed. That was my purpose - to share the 'chuckles' of my imitations of the words of these two 'greats',


    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      11 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      What superb ballads you write in that well-loved style! For excellent layout, perfectly balanced module mix and sparkling originality this has been blessed by an angel today

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I wonder how you would clean a gold sink? Bit then again, you wouldn't have to in your kitchen dreamtime

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      You are constantly surprising me with your hidden talents! I really enjoyed reading this Mum!! All my love, from your daughter xoxoxox

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      11 years ago

      Lensrolled to a couple of my Aussie ones. I trust you don't mind?

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      11 years ago

      Really enjoyed this as I never knew the Aussies had any poets.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      11 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You did and I feel happy. Really enjoyed this.


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