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THE BALLAD OF JACK DAILEY : poetry compt. entry 2016

October 1, 2016



They found him out-back, on an off-the-road track,

A man from the city it seemed.

A man so near death that they all held their breath,

Until the winged Doctor had been.

When the stranger came to he signed onto the crew,

Jack Dailey, he said, was his name.

Well the boss was short-handed, and set a high standard,

The station’s stud stock was it’s fame.


He’s a man of myst’ry, a man with no hist’ry,

A stranger from out of the blue.

Where he’s from, no one knows, and as you’d suppose,

To his real name they haven’t a clue.


Jack worked like one driven at each task he was given,

For loafing he had only scorn.

Then the work was all done, and the crew had some fun.

In the morning Jack Dailey was gone.

Then they heard word of Jack, on a place further back

But he’d moved on, and word spread about.

Where the work’s hard and tough, when the going gets rough

Jack’s sure to be there helping out.


Jack Dailey, Jack Dailey, never long in one place,jackaroo

They all know your name, but so few know your face.

Jack Dailey, Jack Dailey, oh how will you end?

You court death and danger, a man with few friends.


A cow and new calf, held away from the mob

In a stockyard while branding was done

And the boss’s child laughed, reaching out for the calf.

The cow charged to save her young one.

A bright splash of colour caught Jack Dailey’s eye,

He saw the child’s peril and ran.

He vaulted the rails and he snatched up the boy,

And flung him safe to reaching hands.


He was a man of myst’ry, a man with no hist’ry,

A stranger from out of the blue,

But he made his name a bush by-word for game

Jack Dailey, we’ll not forget you.


© Gayle Cresswell


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