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