Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE JUDGE'S DECISION, by J. W. KEVIN



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THE JUDGE'S DECISION, by            
First Line: Twas years ago on the barcoo when flashy jockey clubs
Last Line: "der vinner of dis (hic) handicap, he vos (hic) a tampd piebald!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Ferres, Arthur
Subject(s): Horse Racing; Judges


'TWAS years ago on the Barcoo when flashy jockey clubs
Were few and far and far between, likewise the flashy pubs;
The pioneers two race-days had—the stakes were fat and rich,
And the meeting all a roarer was, 'twent off without a hitch.

The rum was strong as kerosene—'twas a hundred in the shade;
The dust was thick as London fog, of grass there wasn't a blade,
But the grimy crowd they heeded not, they came to see the fun,
They never brought their prads for leagues, unless to see them run.

They had no stand for the judge to grace, his stand was on the ground,
And when the handicaps were run, the crowd came surging round
To hear his "verdick" straight and true, and who the winner was;
That crowd believed the upright judge, his word was Persian laws.

Their judge he was a Teuton bold, Herr Lyndorf was his name,
He was the local medico, a man of learnèd fame;
In absence of his lager dear, he drank Jamaica neat,
And never from his darkest foe would shun the welcome treat.

'Twas now the close of the second day, the last event was on,
The sun had set and thick the air with dust and language strong.
It was arranged among a few Snowflake should win the race,
But Ethiop, as black as jet, had strength and nimble pace.

Away they went, a dozen or more, 'twas flogging from the jump,
Away they tore by mulga scrub, o'er logs and many a stump;
The jockeys jostled, swore, and fought, 'twas each one on his own,
And on they come 'mid prayers and dust, past rock and tree and stone.

But now into the straight they turn, the white horse leads them all,
The thirsty crowd begins to yell, and whoop and madly call:
And some cry out, "The white horse wins" and some cry out, "The black!",
As on they flog in straining stride adown the dusty track.

And now the black has caught the white, he creeps up inch by inch,
But white is game and struggles on, from his place he'll never flinch;
Again the whalebone smites the air and smites the black horse sore,
And on they come just locked as one, amid a deafening roar.

The judge, with duplicated sight, stood on an old gin-case
Prepared to tell the yelling crowd the winner of the race;
He gripped the post and looked straight out where slept the blacks and gins,
"I swear," said he within himself, "I swear de first horse vins!"

And now again a mighty roar came wildly from the throng
And bets were made and threats were heard, and language weird and strong,
For none could tell which horse as yet should catch the judge's eye,
And "White" and "Black" and "Black" and "White" resounded through the sky.

The race is run, the stakes are won, and now the excited crowd
Comes reeling round the upright judge and calling madly loud
To know which horse the winner was, for some "Dead-heat!" declare,
And some yell "White", and some yell "Black", and some by nothing swear.

At length the honest judge did speak, in language grim and cold—
"You all vos (hic) right, and you all (hic) vos wrong, you all vos neadly sold;
Der vinning (hic) horse he vos not (hic) vite, nor (hic) yet vat odders called,
Der vinner of dis (hic) handicap, he vos (hic) a tampd piebald!"





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