A Parson's in the Camp

Central Queensland Herald, 14 November 1935

There may be crimed men hiding, like tamed hawks perched in a church,
Where camp mates don't inquire about the past,
And pimps, too, sweet with demons, who left crime mates in the lurch,
And rolled a knot and travelled far and fast ;
Though some tents harbor gunmen, who are lucky to be there,
Who sought their better selves while out on tramp,
All rise to urges greater for a space short, grand, and rare,
When news floats round a parson's in the camp !

Where navvies lay new railroads, or lift one's spreading bed,
Where straight and willing lefts can frame a law ;
And nasty, sack-mad gangers find them selves on tramp instead ;
Where oozing sweat keeps men's skins thin and raw ;
Though the only education is the " hazard school " and " kip " ;
Where greed set, lamp lit faces, shining damp
Reflect a fascination all defiant in its grip.
There's a let up when a parson's in the camp !

Then razor strops are busy, broken combs come into play,
Mean men will lend and give with eagerness ;
Low crooks will borrow shillings that they'll actually repay ;
They'll hum through hymns and improvise and guess,
And men who'll stop at nothing when the coppers front them bold,
Who know their mates are of a different stamp,
Will help hold up that halo—as if they had been told —
That's shared when there's a parson in the camp !

Where white tents dot the scrub fringe, like freak mushrooms in the shade,
Where the menu's boiled corned beef and corned beef stew,
And motor hawkers camouflage a sly grog (pay week) trade,
And horrors victims toil and " sweat it through " ;
Where life-starved men are eager to cross swords in cold debate
In words, the boldest parson's style to cramp,
And wave a good intention, with warm welcome as its mate
Floats round with news—a parson in the camp.


From The Central Queensland Herald Thursday 14 November 1935.
The author L.A.S was L. A. Sigsworth  

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