This week I bring you another piece of poetry from my latest book Ballad of Ernie Slow.
I am now offering copies of these direct to readers, I'll tell you about this later.
Ernie lived in the Mackenzie Country of New Zealand and had a mate by the name of Jack Skinner.
Both had a penchant for whisky. Ernie's first major poem, with input from Jack, The Devil's Daughter loosely based on whisky and its after effects, came early in the 1900's.
Ernie lived most of his life in the high country of the Mackenzie working at trapping rabbits for their skins, as a boundary keeper, a blade shearer, you name it, Ernie worked at it. One thing he was not, and that was a shirker. He became a legend.
This weeks poem, Tin Lizzie portrays a young Fairlie man who had bought a flash new car, a Model A Ford. Ernie wrote this little piece, some say he wrote it at the bar of the Fairlie Hotel. Whether he did or not I am not sure, Yet he was known to make up poems in the pub, particularly when he was half cut, that they say, was when he was at his best.
Anyway, here's Tin Lizzie.
There was a young man called Tom Hane
Who hated to ride on the train
So he bought a new Ford and said to the Lord
I shall soon be with you again.
Now the day was bright and the air was keen
And Mr. Tom Hane, in his Ford were seen
When all of a sudden he came to a stop
At the front door of John L Jopp.
Now the cook had prepared a sumptuous meal
Of goose and turkey and lamb and veal
And all things that would make Tom feel
King of the road and the steering wheel.
Now, when Tom had eaten his share
He could not rest in his easy chair
So he walked outside and began to prepare
His motor, for a ride in the open air.
Tom got into his car, all filled with pride
He even offered the boys a free ride
They looked at each other and heaved a big sigh
They all thought it too soon, for either to die.
Tom sat by himself, just for a while
The boys were all passing between them a smile
Then all of a sudden, up by Tom Hane
Old Bob Young planted his frame
Tom pressed the starter, to a roar and a din
It came from under that hunk of tin
And when the noise and the smoke had all gone
You could see Tom and old Bob hanging on.
The car went gliding along the Main Road
Tom remarked how the grass it had growed
Bob said yes and isn't it green
They were seeing it where it had never been seen.
Then all of a sudden, as if from the skies
A bull appeared, in front of their eyes
Tom grabbed the wheel tightly and gave it a turn
And fairly attacked the bull by the stern.
The bull was disgusted, as it jumped out of the way
He felt very sore for the rest of the day
At receiving a crack on the back of the shin
By Tom and old Bob and that hunk of tin.
Now they got off home, perhaps feeling queer
Or else they would have stopped for a long cool beer
The door of old Lizzie, that poor hunk of tin
Had three or four dents and it's right eye bashed in.
Now the dents they were seen by old Bill Chisholm
Who viewed them with scorn, at such an exhibition
He said, go to the tinsmith and get them to patch her
And tell them to fit a whopping cowcatcher.
Things seemed bad, but they could have been worse
They may have been carted home in a hearse
And now the boys are pleased to relate
The lock is still on the Cemetery gate.
Well now, Lizzy's deemed to be fit and well
Although there was nearly a strange face in Hell
The poor old bull with his rump all bruised and in pain
Is still very nervous, at the mention of Tom Hane.