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Al McCartan

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The Strolling Player Of Kikacro
by Al McCartan
Sunday, April 17, 2011
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Recent poems by Al McCartan
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Things and people are not always what they seem





A wagon rolled into Kikakro

 a sickly sort of yellow.

Pulled up at Rory Ryan's pub,

Out stepped this actor fellow.


He said to Ryan, "I need, my man,

Board, for two nights I’ll be staying.

A room to dress, a hall with stage

Will Shakespeare I’ll be playing.


I shall bring to these simple folk

words from the famous Bard.”

Ryan cocked his head an’ said:

“ Yez can set up in the yard.”


“The yard, my man, I, in the yard ?

You’d have me there prepare?

sonnets, speeches, soliloquy’s.

Good sir, this is not fair.


I am an actor, well renown

Right throughout this state.

I've acted down in Sydney Town

Such tales I could relate.


Sir, I've had many good reviews

My houses were well filled.

I've dined with Bishops, Premiers

and always was top billed.”


Said Ryan: “This is sheep country

an' we've got lots  to shear.

We've got no time for actin' shows.

Now I'll make this quite clear.


You've got one night to do yer show,

Then, sport yer out o' here.

Yez'll get five quid an' breakfast.

Yez'll pay for all your beer.”



The actor fellow thought awhile

and then nodded his head.

“Which run is short of shearers

And how far to the shed?


I will not stand on charity

I'll surely earn my keep.

Before I play for you tonight

I'll shear four dozen sheep."


They took him out to Malley’s run

A vast and busy station

Where shearing went all day and night

Good worker boss relations.


It was the biggest of its kind

In Western New South Wales

It left the other runs behind

When sending out the bales.


"I've got my union card," he said,

"I'm no blackleg or scab."

He showed his card to Union Rep

Marmaduke McNab.


The actor cove with borrowed shears

Started on the ram,

Whizzed through the wethers one b' one,

Forty three and then one lamb.


The boss and gun just shook their heads

"Mate, ‘ave yez done this before?"

"Of course my man," the cove replied,

"Back in eighteen ninety four."


I was a young gun shearer then

When a show troupe came one day.

I was smitten and I joined them all.

In Sydney far away.


Since then I’ve trodden all the boards,

Acting has brought me joy.

But I’ve not forgotten my shearing skills

I learned as a tar boy.



I think my man, that I’ve slowed down.

I’ve shorn just forty four.

Were you to give me one more day,

I’d do three dozen more."


Ryan’s pub was filled that night.

The actor cove did well.

The townsfolk took in every word,

He had them in a spell.


The show went on and finished.

The beer flowed all around.

The actor cove - gun shearer,

Was happy when he left town.


© al mccartan 2003














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