English poetry

Poems in English

Hay and Hell and Booligal

Hay and Hell and Booligal

“You come and see me, boys,” he said;
“You’ll find a welcome and a bed
And whisky any time you call;
Although our township hasn’t got
The name of quite a lively spot
You see, I live in Booligal.
“And people have an awful down
Upon the district and the town
Which worse than hell itself the call;
In fact, the saying far and wide
Along the Riverina side
Is ‘Hay and Hell and Booligal’.

“No doubt it suits ’em very well
To say its worse than Hay or Hell,
But don’t you heed their talk at all;
Of course, there’s heat no one denies
And sand and dust and stacks of flies,
And rabbits, too, at Booligal.

“But such a pleasant, quiet place
You never see a stranger’s face;
They hardly ever care to call;
The drovers mostly pass it by
They reckon that they’d rather die
Than spend the night in Booligal.

“The big mosquitoes frighten some
You’ll lie awake to hear ’em hum
And snakes about the township crawl;
But shearers, when they get their cheque,
They never come along and wreck
The blessed town of Booligal.

“But down to Hay the shearers come
And fill themselves with fighting-rum,
And chase blue devils up the wall,
And fight the snaggers every day,
Until there is the deuce to pay
There’s none of that in Booligal.

“Of course, there isn’t much to see
The billiard-table used to be
The great attraction for us all,
Until some careless, drunken curs
Got sleeping on it in their spurs,
And ruined it, in Booligal.

“Just now there is a howling drought
That pretty near has starved us out
It never seems to rain at all;
But, if there should come any rain,
You couldn’t cross the black-soil plain
You’d have to stop in Booligal.”

“We’d have to stop!” With bated breath
We prayed that both in life and death
Our fate in other lines might fall;
“Oh, send us to our just reward
In Hay or Hell, but, gracious Lord,
Deliver us from Booligal!”



Poem Hay and Hell and Booligal - Andrew Barton Paterson