Oats and Sugar Cane

Down by the river

I watched the reeds sway

The fishes kept to the shade

Tropical sun beat down and drove me insane

 

As I hid from my killer

 

I could hear his frustrated cursing

And the swish of his machete

Cutting through the glade

Breath ragged; can I escape his blade

 

My blood for this here sugarcane

Worked till I can’t no more

Came here from Donegal

Seeking a better life, found none at all

 

It certainly is

The Queens-Land

Hopes and dreams of riches

Immigration and infected stitches

 

My muscles carved to the heat

Ready to jump into the nearest creek

This old Irish dog

Is still a beast

 

The rest of my work posse grateful for the break

As they sat awaiting my capture

 

Makes me miss Ma’s gruel

Tasteless, but gave you the strength of a mule

The machete waver still nearby

Looking for me as I silently cry

 

He was once my employer

Now I am just a fugitive

Ready to become a bushman

In this strange, sun burnt land

 

Escape into the unknown

Learn to live in the wilderness

With a swaggy on my back

To be chased down by troopers and hung with the blacks

 

I slip into the fast flowing water

As the machete can still be heard

Swinging through the canes

Freedom just at hand

 

Tonight I’ll dream of green fields and Christmas time

As I drift in the current, away from my crime

Redcoats will march down the same path

Looking for my body awash with the stars

 

© Jack Nugent

 

 

 

 

 

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Day’s Gone By

I’ve been a child;

I’ve been a boy,

I’ve lied;

Cried.

 

The years never stopped going by

And I never stopped learning,

Never stopped;

Making mistakes.

 

How many times,

Have I changed;

Have I changed?

Ripples on the surface.

 

Philosophise, contemplate

Am I too late?

To understand my fate;

To finally lose myself.

 

To the beating of my heart,

My chest echoes:

The beats of my past

Of the thousands of my ancestors, that brought me here.

 

Stretching back into history;

All of humanity is in my veins

In a veiled environment,

My skin is pale, but my blood is ours.

 

However,

I am still that boy,

I thought I left behind;

Many years ago.

 

© Jack Nugent

 

 

 

You Left

I once knew a girl whose eyes were as bright as the world

I know her still, in my dreams and remnants of memories

I told her I loved her on the banks of the Thames

She told me with fervour that “I love you so sir”

 

Then we waltzed through the arches of London Bridge

To the shouts of the street pedlars

And the wind blowing the falling brown leaves of autumn

All the way to the palace, where we kissed under the gaze of the Queen 

 

Our bellies were full of wine

But we didn’t mind

The night was full of beguile

And I’d wished known what was about to transpire

 

Kilburn was foggy the night that you left

The lampposts were lonely

And my heart breaking in its chest

I drowned my sorrows in a barrel of whiskey till the dawn rose 

 

You said I was handsome you said I was yours

But my heads in tatters and you caught the coffin ship from Liverpool

To dance with chance in the land of the lady of liberty 

And me in cold blighty alone with my dreams of you 

 

I once knew a girl whose eyes were as bright as the world

I know her still, in my dreams and remnants of memories

I told her I loved her on the banks of the Thames

She told me with fervour that “I love you so sir”

 

 © Jack Nugent

The Hound of Moulsecoomb (A Short Story)

All he could see out of the window was the reflection of himself and the empty carriage he sat in. Unflattering lights above made his reflection look drawn out and old. His eyes strained to see things in the gloom. Faint silhouettes of leafless trees and house lights. Thinking of warm homes and central heating made him feel far away.

Tiredness spread over his body. Eyes heavy, he scanned the document he was reading making sure it was worded perfectly. He was going to hand the Divorce papers to his wife, that very night. Fifteen years of marriage. He sighed as the brakes screeched, a great scrapping of metal on metal. He wrapped his tartan scarf about his neck and departed the train at Moulsecoomb.

Crisp night air greeted his face at the deserted station. The chill reached his bones. He walked down the dark platform and up the stairs to the bridge over the track. His heels clacked on the concrete. It echoed all around him on the walled bridge but the sound that bounced back made him stop in his tracks. A growling emanated from somewhere in front of him followed by unnatural snarling.

His wits lost, he stood stock still for a second and lifted his briefcase in front of him, as if using it as a shield and shuffled forwards. Barks sounded around him making him cower, terrified, but he could see nothing. He edged towards the stairs and as he turned onto the next set of steps, waiting for him at the top was a black blood hound the size of a horse who lunged at him, ghostly passing through him. And so he tumbled down three flights, landing dead on the platform, the divorce papers falling quaintly about him in the still cold air.

© Jack Nugent