Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ROUND THE BEND, by WILL LAWSON

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ROUND THE BEND, by                    
First Line: Round the bend where the pungas grow
Last Line: And his was an easy mind.
Subject(s): Banjos; Idleness; Musical Instruments; Trucks & Trucking; Laziness; Sloth; Indolence; Teamsters; Truckers; Freight

ROUND the bend where the pungas grow
I heard an axle groan,
The clatter of linch-pins knocking slow
In a drowsy monotone.
A great voice bellowed, "Whoa back there, Bill!
You Lion-cow, come here!"
Then I heard the "plunk" of a banjo shrill,
Its music sounding clear.

Round the bend the leaders came
With lazy shouldering stride,
Toughened muscle and solid frame
Under the tawny hide.
Sturdy bullocks, and well they hauled,
Yet I saw no driver there.
And "plank! plunk! plank!" the banjo called,
Playing a reckless air.

Round the bend the wagon swayed
With a led horse tied behind
While the ghostly banjo twanged and played
And the axles squealed and whined.
"Git there, Sergeant! Dickie! Dan!
You megatheriums!"—
I looked in vain for sign of man,
Even up in the gums.

Round the bend the dust swept down
Till I saw the wagon-tail,
And a lazy teamster, tanned and brown,
Lying there on a bale.
He sparred and struck at the hovering flies,
His banjo on his chest,
He damned the heat and his horse's eyes,
But he cursed his bullocks best.

Round the bend he looked at me,
And nodded a curt "Good day",
Then let a passionate melody
Over the pungas stray,
With "clinka! clanka! clang! clang! clang!"
He soothed his sleeping dog—
So full of harmony and slang—
"You Major-cow! You hog!"

Round the bend I watched him go
Under the noonday glare,
With linch-pins knocking soft and low,
Playing a dainty air.
He yelled at the bullocks he could not see;
I heard the wagon groan,
And his banjo's twanking came to me
In a drowsy monotone.

Round the bend the dust dropped down
And covered the wagon-tail,
And I envied that teamster, tanned and brown,
Lying there on a bale;
Heavy and slow his bullocks swung,
His horse dreamed on behind;
His dog slept sound, and his banjo rung—
And his was an easy mind.

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