The Poolers

A Poem by T. Fitzgerald©T. Fitzgerald 1918

They met at the station in Spencer-street,
Four of a jovial crew,
With the travelling outfit all complete,
Not forgetting the whisky neat,
To an an tidote for 'flu.

Socialistic views were theirs--
They believed in the pooling plan
And preached the gospel of equal shares,
Even to sorrows and joys and cares,
And the Brotherhood of Man.

But converts were few and far between,
And funds were getting low,
So each set ont on business keen,
Thinking, perhaps, a change of scene
Would give them a better show.

Pool was the subject of their debate
As the train went speeding on.
'''Come, brothers, let us be up to date,
Each share alike and co-operate;
Don't hesitate too long."

Two shearers whose station had just cut out
Seemed to be much impressed;
Each sentence they hailed with approving shout--
"My oath! they knows what they're torkin' about;
Blime they're some o' the best."

They drank to the Shearers' Union toast
As they sat on their union swag,
And each of a bulky cheque made boast.
Thought the Poolers, "It's ours; in an hour at most
'Twill be safe in the pooling-bag."

But a shearer arose as their work seemed done,
And said, as he heaved a sigh:
'''Lor' blime vou blokes is orl rite fun,
And we thanks you each and every one,
But we gets out here-good-bye."

Though this was a most unexpected shock,
They didn't sit down and mope;
There was yet another--a judge of stock
From the Butchers' Union at Fletcher's dock,
So they still had a gleam of hope.

And when t.hey reached their journey's end,
'Way up in Brisbane Town,
They firmly clung to their Butcher Friend,
Offering a helping hand to lend,
Lest he be taken down.

He treated them first suspiciously,
For one had curly hair,
Like a man he had seen with a thimble and pea,
Who talked of rich uncles in Fiji,
So it caused him to beware.

But as constant dropping will wear a stone,
So will persistence win;
The Butcher's scruples were overthrown--
The Poolers had claimed him for their own,
And his cash was handed in.

In the Poolers' camp there was lots of joy
As they grasped the victim's hand;
They hailed him as "Brother" and "'Good old boy,"
True Socialist without alloy--
Just fit for the Poolers' band.

Then the man with the curly hair
Announced amidst the din,
"The pool has been counted fair and square,
And I find that each one's equal share
Amounts to five-pounds-ten."

The Butcher fainted clean away
As he thought of his twenty pounds,
And was heard to mutter, "A bloomin' jay
Am I; but I'll make these Poolers pay,
The blankey thieving hounds !"

But the air of injured innocence
Which each of the Pooler's wore
As they coolly asked, "Why this incense?
Where is your Socialistic sense?
Such conduct we deplore,"
Caused him to pause and think awhile
Ere he gave his feelings vent.
Then, shaking their hands with a mournful smile,
He said, "There are others as free from guile,
And I'm out upon the scent."

And now his views are the same as theirs--
He believes in the pooling plan,
And preaches the gospel of equal shares
Even to sorrows and joys and cares,
And the Brotherhood of Man.


From The Footplate July 29, 1918. with the note:  (Dedicated to Mr. F. Pearce by the writer, T. Fltzgerald, Adelaide.)

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