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Joe McWilliams

John O'Grady

I got quite a tickle out of this bit from Melvyn Bragg's 'The Adventure of English', in the chapter on Australia.

'Bloody' became widely used in Australia. One traveler noted that he heard an Australian use 'the disgusting word' 27 times in a quarter of an hour, and this enterprising observer went on to calculate that it would add up to about eighteen million, two hundred thousand uses in fifty years. He added that he thought said Australian was quite capable of reaching that target. The first verse of John O'Grady's poem, 'The Integrated Adjective', illustrates this:

I was down on Riverina, knockin' round the towns a bit,
An' occasionally restin', with a schooner in me mitt;
An' on one o' these occasions, when the bar was pretty full
an' the local blokes were arguin' assorted kinds o' bull,
I heard a conversation, most peculiar in its way,
Because only in Australia would you hear a joker say:
"Where yer bloody been, yer drongo? 'Aven't seen yer fer a week;
"An' yer mate was lookin' for yer when 'e come in from the Creek;
"'E was lookin' up at Ryan's, an' around at bloody Joe's,
"An' even at the Royal where 'e bloody never goes."
An' the other bloke said "Seen 'im. Owed 'im 'alf a bloody quid,
"Forgot ter give it back to 'im; but now I bloody did.
"Coulda used the thing me-bloody-self; been orf the bloody booze,
"Up at Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin' kanga-bloody-roos."

       Big Readers Forum Index -> All things poetic
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