How Babs Malone cut Down the Field

Now the squatters and the “cockies,”
                 Shearers, trainers and their jockeys
Had gathered them together for a meeting on
                                   the flat;
                 They had mustered all their forces,
                 Owners brought their fastest horses,
Monaro-bred - I couldn't give them greater praise
                                   than that.

                 "Twas a lovely day in Summer -
                 What the blacksmith called “a hummer,”
The swelling ears of wheat and oats had lost
                                   their tender green,
                 And breezes made them shiver,
                 Trending westward to the river -
The river of the golden sands, the moaning

                 If you cared to take the trouble
                 You could watch the misty double,
The shadow of the flying clouds that skimmed the
                                   Boogong's brow,
                 Throwing light and shade incessant
                 On the Bull Peak's ragged crescent,
Upon whose gloomy forehead lay a patch of
                                   winter's snow.

                 Idly watching for the starting
                 Of the race that he had part in,
Old Gaylad stood and champed his bit, his
                                   weight about nine stone;
                 His owner stood beside him,
                 Who was also going to ride him,
A shearer from Gegederick, whose name was
                                   Ned Malone.

                 But Gaylad felt disgusted,
                 For his joints were fairly rusted,
He longed to feel the pressure of the jockey on his
                 And he felt that for a pin he'd
                 Join his mates, who loudly whinnied
For him to go and meet them at the post upon
                                   the track.

                 From among the waiting cattle
                 Came the sound of childish prattle,
And the wife brought up their babe to kiss his
                                   father for good luck;
                 Said Malone: "When I am seated
                 On old Gaylad, and am treated
With fairish play, I'll bet we never finish in the

                 But the babe was not contented,
                 Though his pinafore was scented
With oranges, and sticky from his lollies, for he
                 This gallant little laddie,
                 As he toddled to his daddy,
And raised his arms imploringly - "Please, dad,
                                   div Babs a wide."

                 The father, how he chuckled
                 For the pride of it, and buckled
The surcingle, and placed the babe astride the
                                   racing pad;
                 He did it, though he oughtn't,
                 And by pure good luck he shortened
The stirrups, and adjusted them to suit the
                                   tiny lad,

                 Who was seemingly delighted,
                 Not a little bit affrighted,
He sat and twined a chubby hand among the
                                   horse's mane:
                 His whip was in the other;
                 But all suddenly the mother
Shrieked, "Take him off!" and then “the field” came
                                   thund'ring down the plain.

                 'Twas the Handicap was coming,
                 And the music of their drumming
Beat dull upon the turf that in its summer coat was
                 The racehorse reared and started,
                 Then the flimsy bridle parted,
And Gaylad, bearing featherweight, was striding
                                   with the rest.

                 That scene cannot be painted
                 How the poor young mother fainted,
How the father drove his spurs into the nearest
                 What to do?  he had no notion,
                 For you'd easier turn the ocean
Than stop the Handicap that then was half-way
                                   round the course.

                 On the “bookies” at their yelling,
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:33 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 4,249
Words 505
Stanzas 12
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 1

Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake

Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake was an Australian poet. more…

All Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake poems | Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake Books

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    Who wrote the poem "The Road Not Taken"?
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