The Gates Of 23

Recited by John Dengate

Have you ever stood for hours on a cold, wet concrete floor,
Clipping tickets as they pass you 'til your hands are stiff and sore,
And when you roar out show 'em, all the flappers murmur glee,
That's the way we put our time in, underneath on 23.

The stools are jist to look at, never dare to take a seat,
Even when your legs are weary and you feel all in and beat,
For orders are you must not sit, it seems all wrong to me,
So we stand and clip the tickets underneath on 23.

The lights seemed placed to trick you and your weary downcast eyes
Glance at the rushing tickets as they swiftly pass you by.
And a sleek-haired sheik from Carlton roars out "Let's go home to tea"
As he shoulders past a flapper in the rush to 23.

Of cranks there's always plenty, abuse we get a lot,
The ladies call you nuisance, and the drunks are pretty hot,
For they always seem to wonder, when they're full of beer and glee,
Down where we punch the tickets, underneath to 23

But the trains will still be roaring, and the crowds will still push past,
When I'm old and aged and pensioned, and a seat I have at last.
When I sit in my old armchair by the fire I'll always see,
The portals that are always rushed, the gates of 23.


Anon 1928, The Ticket Collector's Soliloquy. "Railroad" - Journal of the Australian Railways Union.

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