STILL A JOLLY SWAGMAN

© Dudley C. Pye AM JP

Three young University blokes,
Huddled by a wattle wood fire,
Solving the riddle of the Jolly Swagman,
Was their one and only desire.

They heard the Waltzing Matilda song,
About a thousand times or more,
Many considered the story was true,
This tale of Aussie bush lore.

Where they camped, that was the place,
They knew from all the maps,
Plus they had read the Swagman tales,
 About his troubles with the "Traps"

Their natural scientific minds,
Questioned all things, more than most,
They are sure this is the "Billabong",
Of the Swagman and it's ghost.

They had a special camera,
That took pictures in the night,
It was set up on the Billabong bank,
All the settings plumb and right.

The stories told he might appear,
 From the murky depths ahead,
And they hoped to film an image,
Of the "Swaggie" long since dead!

Midnight came without a sign,
Of the ghost they came to see,
"C'mon! Boys, let's get some sleep",
Said the youngest of the three.

Into their fluffy sleeping bags,
Alone each with their dream,
It must have been about half past three,
When they heard the hissing steam.

They leapt out of their cosy nests,
Minds ready to enquire,
About the "Spectre" standing there,
Dripping water on the fire.

"Where in the hell did you come from?"
One petrified scholar asked,
"Out of the bloody Billabong",
The ghostly figure remarked.

"I'm the bloke you came to see",
"The Swagman of the song",
"And the Jumbuck's in me tucker bag",
"The little bugger's done no wrong".

From the depths of the tucker bag,
He pulled the woolly sight,
Still long tailed and wringing wet,
Looking pristine white.

The scholars three then speak as one,
"Are the stories true as told?"
"I'll tell you for a cup of tea",
"I'm awful bloody cold".

They produced a plastic Thermos flask,
A "Jiggler" bag to make the brew,
Then put it in a polystyrene cup,
Things the swagman never knew.

He then told the scholars his story,
Of his very bad run of luck,
Of the Troopers on their thoroughbreds,
And of the luckless young Jumbuck.

The scholars wrote very little down,
No frantic, flashing pens,
Confident all will be revealed,
With the special camera lens.

The swag man kept them talking,
Until the night had lost its nip,
Then says, "Cheerio, me mates!"
"It's time for another dip".

Back in the sodden tucker bag,
Went the Jumbuck with a smirk,
Then he walked into the Billabong,
Disappearing through the murk.

 The scholars clapped their hands with glee,
They've snapped something to bewilder,
Locked there in the cameras innards,
Is the secret of "Waltzing Matilda?

In the camera will be images.
Of something they can brag,
But! The only image on the film,
Was of a Lipton jiggler bag.

If you expect to see the Swagman,
While camping by the Billabong,
Under the shade of the Coolibah tree,
The Swaggie and the Jumpbuck,
Won't surface from the Billabong,
Unless you can make a decent cuppa tea!