The Picture Show Drovers – Cowboy Up Poem

The Picture Show Drovers

Along the Canning Stock Route to the old Wiluna Town
From Hall’s Creek in the Kimberley, they drove the cattle down
Down through where grow desert oaks and sand dunes run so wide
Where the wells and troughs were the watering stops, on that thousand mile ride

Then, when they reached Wiluna, they had no time to spare
They hurriedly yarded the cattle and each man was paid his share
The locals, they were most impressed by the drovers’ working speed
But were a tad or more bewildered, when each stayed upon his steed!
(The drovers had an anxiousness, to be making tracks away
and kept to the saddle, so as not to invite delay)
And… Oh, what a pace those riders set, as they took the road that goes
Onward to Kalgoorlie… “To see them picture shows!”

McDonald, Mulligan and Coster, appeared enamoured with the screen
Whilst Farnsworth and the reader Pearse, to say the least were keen
The westerns they most favoured such as those with Broncho Bill
Where the hero usually won the girl and triumphed over ill

To say the drovers were enthused is an understatement grand
When the theatre seats were all sold out, the drovers said they’d stand
And when at first encountering an intermission time
They offered to free the projector, of sand or clogging grime

Perhaps they felt a common bond with the cowboys on the land
A western theme could be observed among their little band

Motorcycle Dream 1

McDonald bought a Stetson and liked to smooth the brim
He’d seen the cowboys do it: their style appealed to him
Mulligan wore Texan boots that went mid-way up each shin
And when he put the polish on, he used up half a tin
Coster was more conservative; he simply wore a ring
And self engraved the theatre times, of when they’d let him in!

Farnsworth sometimes rode ahead; he was tall and lean
He was the first to tell them of the people on the screen
He’d been to the city and seen “them”; To the capital he’d been
And now Kalgoorlie had “them”; “The flickers,” are what I mean


The picture shows were silent, so captions were a need
But of these five outback drovers, only one of them could read
So Pearse, being the reader, sat with two on either side
His companions intently listened and their eyes were open wide

Pearse read out all the captions, but one night stopped mid-line
Whilst the film, it kept rolling on as though everything was fine
The problem was a strange big word, that no doubt had Pearse stumped
And while he was stalled pronouncing it, the others sat there slumped
The four then in desperation, took to reading from the lips
Of the hero and the damsel as the villain cracked his whips

Here, a misinterpretation strayed the drovers from the plot
As they agreed some of the words to be, what they were really not
Remember, their forte was The Canning, droving down the wells and troughs
Now they thought the hero “Honest Bob” scoffed, “Pictures are for toffs!”
They were up from their seats and making haste for the streets, before the
scene was through
Pearse was told what “Bob” had “said,” and he sought an exit, too!

Some time later...

Silent films were not old, before a star had a role
of a tramp in a bowler hat
Farnsworth was down in Kalgoorlie town
at the shop of the farrier, Matt

Motorcycle Dream 1

And as the farrier tacked the nails to shoe the drover’s horse
He motioned with his blacksmith’s hammer and gave this short discourse
“See yonder there across the street, pasted on the baker’s wall
There’s a theatre poster of a tramp in a film for one and all
It seems to me,” Matt, chuckled with glee; He liked to clown about
“That’s the only bloke to earn a quid by being down and out!”

Farnsworth laughed and grinned a bit but he didn’t understand
He’d seen tramps and they carried swags, but they weren’t in picture land
‘Twas then a compulsion seized the bushman, to ride back up The Canning,
for this droving man little understood the concepts of picture acting

Farnsworth had the knack of riding a track
by day or under the moon
So he rode with little rest and he hoped for the best
That he’d find the others soon

It was late on the sixth day when Farnsworth’s pack belly neighed
And the droving team’s camp came in sight
They were at Well Four, hobbling the horses to be sure
that they wouldn’t roam too far in the night
Although tired by the ride, as were his two horses in their stride
Farnsworth galloped them into camp

And above the mob’s mooing drone (It carried a distinct, snorting tone)
he hollered the news he’d construed of the tramp

“They’re signin’ up tramps for pictures, when they could sign up fancy

McDonald with a dash left his horse in a flash
to join the others more out in the open
Although his words were often few, the group much respected his view
And he realised his chance to enlighten

McDonald’s words were concise; he didn’t have to think twice
As he explained the news to the men
“Boys, the days of the toff, it’s for sure they’re off!
It’s back to the pictures, again!

Poem E. C. O’Hara©1999

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A Motorcycle Dream – The Poem

A Motorcycle Dream – The Poem

Some time ago I had a dream
I was in a big city on a street named Gleam
Everything sparkled like you’ve never seen
In that city, in that dream

Well, dreaming away as I snoozed in bed
A razzle dazzle sign said, “walk ahead”
So I walked up the street and found at the top
All ablaze in lights, a motorbike shop

Peering on in through the window pane
I saw rows of motorbikes and not one the same
The whole shop was polished to a brilliant sheen
Everything glistened like a sunlit stream

And the chrome-work shimmered on wide handlebars
While saddlebags studs flickered like the stars
I was dreaming a motorcycle dream!

Now, in that dream there was a salesgirl
She was filling motorbike tanks with fuel
She saw me and she gave her biggest smile
I, of course, smiled straight back
then we both weaved a track
between some bikes and met in the middle isle

Motorcycle Dream 1

The salesgirl’s name was Eliza Lee,
Somehow she seemed familiar to me
She was leather clad and oozed personality

And the chrome-work shimmered on wide handlebars
While saddlebag studs flickered like the stars
I was dreaming a motorcycle dream

Eliza Lee, I soon realized, liked to ride them motorbikes
She said “Let’s take a bike for a whirl!”
Don’t ask me how we got to St Moritz
But that’s where we were in a second split
going down a slope on a 1450cc.

And as we sped down the mountain through snow and sleet
Eliza was laughing on the pillion seat
because skiers were startled to see a motorbike ski!
At the bottom of the slope was the Hotel Ritz
We rode straight through the lobby and hit the glitz
Of a nightclub, where the bar was open and all the drinks were free

Eliza and I swung with that scene
While a new season dawned and the alps turned green
We danced to the terrace as a sun-shower came
And we sipped champagne in the falling rain
Then a cork from a champagne bottle went pop
And we were back again in the motorbike shop

Motorcycle Dream 2

And the chrome-work shimmered on wide handlebars
While saddlebag studs flickered like the stars
I was dreaming a motorcycle dream!

Well, I can tell you it came as a big surprise
When I suddenly awoke and realised
That the girl of my dream named Eliza Lee
Was lying asleep there next to me!

Hey, dreams are hard to fathom even if you’re wise,
And in that dream I didn’t recognise
My own sweet wife looking twenty three
And going by the name of Eliza Lee!

At breakfast I told her of what I’d dreamed
Of her and me and the bikes that gleamed.”
I said “We fell in love in St Moritz
And you preferred love to a sales pitch
And the chrome-work shimmered on wide handlebars
While saddlebag studs flickered like the stars
Darlin’ you were in my motorcycle dream
You were in my motorcycle dream
Yes, you were in my motorcycle dream!


Poem written by Eddie O’Hara, click here for other O’Hara poetry.

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