by Ray Liversidge
Greensborough, Vic: Flat Chat Press.
The following is an extract from Chapter 6 of Ray Liversidge's verse novel, The Barrier Range.
Chapter 18 - The Aussie Oregon Trail
B is for Burke
'Have any of you blokes seen my cup?
It's white with a black B on it.'
Not waiting for the billy to boil
Before the billy boils
Burke shoots through
like a Bondi tram
taking most of the men
camels and horses
up the Darling
leaving Beckler et al
to follow with the wagons
Another cup o' tea, Gov'nor?
'What's keeping the others?' Burke asks,
pouring himself another cup of tea.
Meanwhile, back in the mallee
to loved ones
from blue sky
After the hail they move
camp, leaving behind
the many eggs which
had fallen the day before
and burrowed in the soil.
Now pairs of black hands
are busy beneath the sun
digging for baby rainbow serpents.
With speed to match the Pony Express
Neumayer is galloping south
with news for the Society
that our very own Burke
(Australia's answer to Buffalo Bill)
is blazing the Aussie Oregon Trail.