Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MCCARTHY'S BREW: A GULF COUNTRY YARN, by GEORGE ESSEX EVANS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MCCARTHY'S BREW: A GULF COUNTRY YARN, by                    
First Line: The teams of black mccarthy crawled adown the norman road
Last Line: Gulf whisky kills at twenty yards, but this stuff kills at sight!
Subject(s): Alcoholism & Alcoholics; Death; Trucks & Trucking; Drunkards; Alcohol Abuse; Dead, The; Teamsters; Truckers; Freight

THE teams of Black McCarthy crawled adown the Norman road,
The ground was bare, the bullocks spare, and grievous was the load,
And the brown hawks wheeled above them and the heat-waves throbbed and glowed.

With lolling tongues and blood-shot eyes and sinews all a-strain
McCarthy's bullocks staggered on across the sun-cracked plain,
The wagons lumbering after and the drivers raising Cain....

Three mournful figures sat around the camp-fire's fitful glare—
McKinlay Jim and "Spotty" and McCarthy's self they were—
But their spirits were so dismal that they couldn't raise a swear!

'Twas not the long, dry stage ahead that made those bold hearts shrink,
The drought-cursed ground, the dying stock, the water thick as ink,
But—the drinking curse was on them, and they had no grog to drink!

Then with a bound up from the ground, McCarthy jumped and cried:
" 'Tis vain! 'Tis vain! I go insane. These pangs in my inside!
Some sort of grog, for love of God, invent, concoct, provide!"

McKinlay Jim straight answered him: "Those lotions, sauce, and things
Should surely make a brew to slake these thirstful sufferings—
A brew that slakes, a brew that wakes and burns and bucks and stings."

Down came the cases from the load—they wrenched them wide with force.
They poured and mixed and stirred a brew that would have killed a horse—
Cayenne, pain-killer, pickles, embrocation, Worcester sauce!

O, wild and high and fierce and free the orgy rose that night;
The songs they sang, the deeds they did, no poet could indite;
To see them pass that billy round—it was a fearsome sight.

The dingo heard them and with tail between his legs he fled!
The curlew saw them and he ceased his wailing for the dead!
Each frightened bullock on the plain went straightway off his head!

Alas! and there are those who say that at the dawn of day
Three perforated carriers round a smouldering camp-fire lay:
They did not think McCarthy's brew would take them in that way!

McCarthy's teams at Normanton no more the Gulf men see.
McCarthy's bullocks roam the wilds exuberant and free;
McCarthy lies—an instance of preserved anatomee!

Go. Take the moral of this song, which in deep grief I write:
Don't ever drink McCarthy's brew. Be warned in case you might—
Gulf whisky kills at twenty yards, but this stuff kills at sight!

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