Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HOW HARRY KILLED THE SNAKE, by CECIL JAMES KELLY



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HOW HARRY KILLED THE SNAKE, by            
First Line: You've heard the tales of droving
Last Line: When harry killed the snake.
Subject(s): Animals; Death; Snakes; Dead, The; Serpents; Vipers


YOU'VE heard the tales of droving
From the Gulf and Willeroo,
The feats of mountain horsemen,
And the Balooners of Paroo;
But if you care to listen
A story I'll relate,
Of the doings on that station
When Harry killed a snake.

The morning broke fine and clear
Out on a Kimberley run,
And the blacks around the homestead
Had their morning work begun;
Harry—he was toiling
Down in the smithy's shed
When a boy we shall call Nugget
Just chanced to raise his head.

He quickly dropped his spanner,
And with a yell of "Snake!"
Gave one bound and cleared the anvil
With old Harry in his wake;
Nugget led him past the grindstone,
For he was travelling at a rate,
But Harry quickly passed him,
And Nugget yelled out "Wait!"

Then, when he chanced to slacken,
And have a glance around,
He was just a hundred yards
Then the smithy's shop he found;
Slowly back he made his way,
And glancing at the ceiling
He spied a six-foot snake
Along the rafter stealing.

Then quickly dashing out again
He called for some hot water;
All the blacks from near and far
Were gathered for the slaughter;
The water very quickly came,
And Harry prepared to chuck it,
When all the nigs let out a yell,
Then Harry dropped the bucket.

And out the shop they quickly dashed,
With squeals, and yells, and laughter,
While all the time the blessed snake
Went slithering round the rafter;
Then dashing up again he cried,
"Fetch me the bloomin' rifle,
And the killing of this wretched snake
Will only be a trifle."

Then up spoke old Nugget
With a grin from ear to ear,
"No more shoot 'im, 'Arry,
More better you usem spear.
Poke it longa 'im bingie,
Stick 'im alla same pin,
But suppose you shootum
You make big hole longa tin."

Then Harry called for the ladder,
And placing it against the wall
Quickly did more dashing
For fear the snake would fall.
Now, who was to climb that ladder,
Who was to spear that snake?
But all around was silence,
And no one a move did make.

The boss's wife had just arrived,
And glancing quickly round
Said, "Why not climb that ladder, Harry,
You can't spear him from the ground."
"No, thank you, Missus," Harry cried,
"I am no dashing hero;
When there's blanky snakes around,
My shares they fall to zero."

"Then let me at him," the Missus cried,
"I'll climb that blessed ladder,
Here, Mabel, hold my baby,
While I kill this flamin' adder."
Then quickly dashing up again,
Poor Harry yelled out "Stop!
For if anything should happen,
Just think of the wrath of Pop."

Then back again the Missus took
Young Danny from her daughter,
While Harry let out another yell
To bring some more hot water;
Then he grabbed the bucket,
And threw it—oh so nice,
But almost hipped himself
When getting round the vice.

Now, the snake had got its issue
From Harry's water spout,
And came tumbling down from the rafters
With its innards hanging out;
Then, as he hit the flooring,
The Missus banged him on the head
With a double-ended spanner;
But the blessed snake was dead.

Now, when you hear them spouting
In camps and hotel bars,
Or when they start romancing
Beneath the western stars,
Just spring this little story,
And it is sure to take
If you tell them of the time
When Harry killed the snake.





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