George In Charge

Saturday’s contribution to poetry month is George in Charge by D.J. Donald, from New Zealand Farm & Station Verse, collected by A.E. Woodhouse and published by Whitcombe & Toombs.


George In Charge


The farmer swung to the saddle

“Mid the dogs’ unholy row,

‘Now Son you’ll attend to the buyer,

When he comes to see that cow.

Remember that price I’ve told you –

Do you hear? Or I’ll skin you alive!

It’s seven pounds ten you’ll ask for,

 But we’ll come as low as five!’


Now George was a simple fellow

But for once his course was clear,

And his permanent grin got wider

As the scheduled hour drew near.

His memory George was stirring

Just to see that it kept alive:

‘It’s seven pound ten we’re asking,

But we’ll come as low as five.’


The buyer looked her over,

While his mind resolved a sum;

Then at last he popped the question

And the fateful time was come,

Quoth George in a glow of triumph,

At the bargain he meant to drive,

‘It’s seven pound ten we’re asking,

But we’ll come as low as five!’


          – D.J. Donald –

One Response to George In Charge

  1. JC says:

    Reminds me of another John OBrian poem:


    The bishop sat in lordly state and purple cap sublime,
    And galvanized the old bush church at Confirmation time;
    And all the kids were mustered up from fifty miles around,
    With Sunday clothes, and staring eyes, and ignorance profound.
    Now was it fate, or was it grace, whereby they yarded too
    An overgrown two-storey lad from Tangmalangmaloo?

    A hefty son of virgin soil, where nature has had her fling,
    And grows the trefoil three feet high and mats it in the spring;
    Where mighty hills uplift their heads to pierce the welkin’s rim,
    And trees sprout up a hundred feet before they shoot a limb;
    There everything is big and grand, and men are giants too –
    But Christian Knowledge wilts, alas, at Tangmalangmaloo.

    The bishop summed the youngsters up, as bishops only can;
    He cast a searching glance around, then fixed upon his man.
    But glum and dumb and undismayed through every bout he sat;
    He seemed to think that he was there, but wasn’t sure of that.
    The bishop gave a scornful look, as bishops sometimes do,
    And glared right through the pagan in from Tangmalangmaloo.

    ‘Come, tell me, boy,’ his lordship said, in crushing tones severe,
    ‘Come, tell me why is Christmas Day the greatest of the year?
    ‘How is it that around the world we celebrate that day
    ‘And send a name upon a card to those who’re far away?
    ‘Why is it wandering ones return with smiles and greetings, too?
    A squall of knowledge hit the lad from Tangmalangmaloo.

    He gave a lurch which set a-shake the vases on the shelf,
    He knocked the benches all askew, up-ending of himself.
    And oh, how pleased his lordship was, and how he smiled to say,
    ‘That’s good, my boy. Come, tell me now; and what is Christmas Day?
    The ready answer bared a fact no bishop ever knew –
    ‘It’s the day before the races out at Tangmalangmaloo.


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