The Road to Roma Jail

…from the quills of the dead white poet

Vance Palmer (1885 – 1959)

It’s a long road, a cruel road, the road to Roma jail,

Birds in all the branches mocking as you pass,

The spiteful little soldier-bird, the stupid all jackass,

Crying, “One, two, three of the; riding head to tail,”

On the long road, the cruel road, the road to Roma jail.

Crookedly the track runs beneath the grassy skies

Silver shines the mulga, golden glows the plain,

Bullocks in the barley-grass start and stare again,

Stockmen at the station-yards watch the white dust rise,

But one man, jogging on, dare not to raise his eyes.

Pride of life and wild blood, all must pay the toll,

Stolen horses’ mouths are hard as misers’ hearts,

None know where the end is once journey starts,

And Steve rides a long ride to reach the bitter goal,

While black imps, grinning imps, hover round his soul.

It’s a long road, a cruel road, the road to Roma jail,

A trooper rides behind you, a tracker rides before,

Your hands are tied, your head bowed, your heart and body sore,

And high above you in the blue the homing wood-duck sail,

On the long road, the cruel road, the road to Roma jail.

About Avadoro Worden

Iconoclast
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