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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ME AN' BILL, by                    
First Line: We were sawin' a log was bill an' me
Last Line: "have you got a match in your pocket, jim?"
Subject(s): Accidents; Lumber & Lumbering; Trees; Woodsmen

WE were sawin' a log was Bill an' me,
They called him Bill, but his name was Jim;
The timber it wasn't workin' free,
"To hell with the thing!" says I to him.

'Twas a blackbutt log, with a two-foot pipe;
The cross-cut jammed, an' it jammed and jammed;
An' I says to Bill, as I stopped to wipe
The sweat off my brow, "Well, I'll be damned!"

We were sleeper-cutters, was Bill an' me,
Of the hogback sort, at eight pun ten;
With ten bob off for the royalty—
An' at last the saw stuck tight, and then

Says Bill, "The splinters inside is stuck
In the blarsted teeth of the rotten thing!"
So we pulled and tugged, but it wouldn't buck,
An' the more we pulled, the more they'd cling.

Now, Bill was the brains of the partnership,
An' there wasn't much that he didn't know.
So he did a think, an' I let him rip,
As I always did, for his thoughts to flow.

"The thing for to do is to crawl inside,
An' pick the splinters an' set her free!"
So, into the pipe, which was two feet wide,
He squeezed himself, did ole Bill, did he.

A terrible willin', all right sort
Was good ole Bill, but he had no luck,
For after a bit I heard him snort,
"I've freed the swine, but I'm damned well stuck!

"I can't git back, be cripes!" says Bill;
"You must roll her over an' saw me out!"
The log it lay on the side of a hill,
Five hundred feet of a slope about.

So I cuts a sapling, to roll her round,
While Bill inside in the pipe he lay;
An' so help me Bob, on the sloping ground
The log she makes a breakaway.

With a terrible boom, an' an awful crash,
That ten-ton log through the timber flied;
You never seen such a horrible smash,
An' good ole Bill in the pipe inside.

She was round as a ball, with never a lump,
An' a slippery greasy log she were,
An' whenever she hit a stump she'd jump
For fifty feet in the bloomin' air.

The splinters flied from the bloomin' rocks;
The trees they smashed, 'twas a nawful sight;
I stood an' shook in me flamin' socks,
An' all of a sudden me breath grew tight.

"Ole Bill's a gonner for good!" I said,
"The poor ole beggar is smashed to pie,
An' that is the end of him, Bill is dead!"
An' I felt as if I would like to cry.

I says, "That log, when the crick she hits,
She'll burst and shrivel ole Bill to a rag,"
So down I goes to gather the bits
An' fetch them home in a sugar bag.

An' wot do you think—amongst the rocks
I sees the log a-smashed to bits,
An' there on a lump of it, smokin' his pipe,
My good ole partner, Bill, he sits.

"It's jist me luck!" he says to me,
As I stood an' looked surprised at him,
"There was fifty sleepers in that there tree;
Have you got a match in your pocket, Jim?"

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