To a Billy



OLD BILLY—battered, brown and black
   With many days of camping,
Companion of the bulging sack,
   And friend in all our tramping:
How often on the Friday night—
   Your cubic measure testing—
With jam and tea we stuffed you tight
   Before we started nesting!
How often, in the moonlight pale,
   Through gums and gullies toiling,
We’ve been the first the hill to scale,
   The first to watch you boiling;
When at the lane the tent was spread
   The silver wattle under,
And early shafts of rosy red
   Cleft sea-born mists asunder!

And so, old Billy, you recall
   A host of sun-burnt faces,
And bring us back again to all
   The best of camping places.
True flavour of the bush you bear,
   Of camp and its surrounding,
Of freedom and of open air,
   Of healthy life abounding.

You bring us more—with those we love
   We watched you boil and bubble,
And in the sunny skies above
   Forgot each schoolboy trouble
So not without a kindly glance
   We eye you in the study,
Although you’ve met with some mischance,
   Although you’re black and muddy!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

54 sec read
57

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABABCBCBDBDBEFEF GHGHIBIB JKJKXLHL
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,045
Words 183
Stanzas 3
Stanza Lengths 16, 8, 8

James Lister Cuthbertson

James Lister Cuthbertson 8 May 1851 - 18 January 1910 was a Scottish-Australian poet and schoolteacher more…

All James Lister Cuthbertson poems | James Lister Cuthbertson Books

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