Fab's Poetry

BOY CHARLTON

NEIL HARVEY

CATHY FREEMAN’S GOLD
THE SPIRIT OF THE WALLABIES
JOHN EALES' FAREWELL
WAYNE HARRIS AND THE CUP

 

 

BOY CHARLTON

With barrel chest and fine physique
Raw talent that was quite unique
A quiet, handsome, suntanned youth
Who uttered not one phrase uncouth
Whose shyness showed in every word
Made former records look absurd.

In tidal pools with no lanes marked
On megaphone the starter barked,
He swam such times the doubters cried
“ He must be swimming with the tide
Torpedos move with lesser speed!”
But suddenly the world paid heed.

For in those famous Paris Games
He matched it with the greatest names
As cruising through that distance swim
He made the others look so grim
Then pulled away with mighty stroke
Three records in that race he broke.

Defeat in metric’s quarter mile
Could not reduce the Charlton smile
Weissmuller beat him by a yard
And Tarzan never swam so hard,
They never ever met again
Weissmuller kept to sprinting men.

By now a hero oh so young
Across the world his praises rung
But as his reputation came
He turned his back on fickle fame
Then headed bush to rope and ride
And swim at night on river’s tide.

He saw the big names come and go
But inner talents always glow
Each time he came to Sydney town
He beat them to that swimming crown,
For ten long years he held them all
Three times he heard the nations call.

Come swim with me the water’s clear
And later on we’ll share a beer
For not defeat, fear not disgrace
The fun is there for all who race,
To win or lose is both a joy
The name is Andrew call me Boy.

NEIL HARVEY

We have had some great lefthanders

Wear the green and baggy cap,

Men like Bardsley, Morris, Border

And a young and sprightly chap

Who would make his name in England

On the tour of forty-eight,

With a sparkling fisrt test hundred

He was destined to be great.

How Neil Harvey held us spellbound

For a decade then some more,

In the era after Bradman

That came just behind the war,

But it wasn't just his hundreds

Though he surely notched a few,

He got six against the English

With the last in sixty-two.

It was how he went about them

With his bright and flashing blade,

In a style that made you wonder

If his star would ever fade.

Down the pitch he'd come a'dancing

How the crowd would come alive,

Off his toes beyond mid-wicket

Through the covers with a drive.

And his cutting of the pacemnen

Left the man at point bereft,

Hitting bowlers off the backfoot

To the right and to the left.

He was wondrous entertainment

Bringing bowlers down to earth,

If he stayed for just one session

Then you'd got your money's worth.

He was lightning in the covers

He was brilliant in the slips,

Now we only ever see him

On those ageing newsreel clips,

But to those who had the pleasure

Seeing Harvey at his best

You may leave this earth contented

And your soul must always rest .

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CATHY FREEMAN’S GOLD

Did you see her there at Homebush on that cool September night
Did you see our Cathy Freeman with the showground bathed in light?
Were you seated there at trackside, were you watching on a screen
In Broome or Bourke or Brisbane or a thousand towns between?

Did your heart jump in your bosom as she strode onto the track
Did you hold your breath in silence with the gun about to crack?
Did you hope and pray for Cathy as you’ve never done before
Did you join those countless millions who were with her to the core?

Did you cheer and yell and whistle as she ran that quarter mile
Did you see the effort telling just for once no winsome smile?
Did you panic for a second, did you think she’d not come through,
Just as McAvaney told us ‘ Cathy’s got some work to do!’

Did you jump and throw your arms up, did you yell with all your might
As she grandly overtook them and you knew she’d be all right?
When she sank onto the cinders ’midst the cheering and the din
Did your heart go out to Cathy and her great desire to win?

She had overcome such pressure with her talent and her skill
She had unified a nation with her courage and her will.
We had all seen something special, when we’re grey and growing old
We can say we saw our Cathy when she won Olympic Gold.

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THE SPIRIT OF THE WALLABIES

There’s a spirit in the Wallabies
Mere words cannot describe,
It’s as if they had descended
From some legendary tribe.

There’s a kinship, a tradition
As in days so long since past,
Of crusades, of knights in armour
And of men before the mast.

There’s a thrill you can’t appreciate
A pride you cannot tell,
Lest you wear your nation’s jumper
And you wear it really well.

When you mark before the forward rush
So doing turn the tide,
When you make that vital tackle
And your line is open wide.

When you go down on the rolling ball
And dare the tramping feet,
When you lift your aching body
And the opposition meet.

When you burst away from tacklers
And you make the winning run,
When you come back heart a-thumping
And your team mates say, ‘well done’.

But it isn’t just the winning
Nor the scoring nor the cheers,
It’s the friendships and the memories
That last you through the years.

It’s the camaraderie
That’s born of valour not of fame,
It’s the sheer exhilaration
When you play the running game.

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John Eales’ Farewell

With ninety thousand football fans at Stadium Australia
The night was special; everyone could tell,
We wore our scarves and beanies and our brightest gold regalia
We’d come to bid the great John Eales farewell.

His giant frame emerged to cause the crowd a mighty roar
His long stride brought him loping to the field,
The vast crowd stood as one; they held this man in special awe
They never once had seen their hero yield.

A win against our grandest foe the All Blacks, ever strong,
Would be a fitting way to say goodbye,
For Eales had given pleasure to the fans a decade long
The toughest man would wipe a teary eye.

The contest ebbed and flowed as first Australia took the lead
Then lost it as the All Blacks turned the tide,
With just one play remaining fans were ready to concede
But John Eales’ men had valour on their side.

It’s written now in folklore how Australia crossed the line
The Wallabies had gained that vital score,
And each and every witness felt the tingles up his spine
A moment to recall for evermore.

This great and modest sportsman who epitomised the game
As fair a man as one would ever find,
Would hold the cup aloft as ninety thousand called his name
The scene remains imprinted in the mind.

We have seen some mighty players from a host of famous teams
But have we seen a man pass every test?
The game has been enriched, as dare I say have all our dreams,
John Eales must stand among the very best.

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WAYNE HARRIS AND THE CUP

When the horses found the finish in the Cup of ninety-four
Though the punters did their money as they’d often done before,
There were cries of exultation and they echoed ’round the course
As the man who rode the winner leant to kiss his noble horse.

For the rider was a battler though possessed of wondrous skill
And his story makes you wonder at his courage and his will,
In a sport where small men suffer in a way few others can
He had overcome such problems that would stop the bravest man.

As a talented young rider with smile and ready wit
He had everything before him 'til bad luck began to hit,
Though he battled with his poundage and his chances fell away
He could always ride a winner; he could always save the day.

He had broken bones a-plenty from a spate of racing spills
But he always overcame them making light of all his ills,
When he won the Golden Slipper he had matched it with the best
But the troubles that befell him were to set the cruellest test.

For a wretched ogre claimed him and the small man writhed in pain
And the doctors fought to save him from a tumour on the brain,
But he showed the badge of courage like a boxer on the ropes
And he got back in the saddle to exceed their wildest hopes.

Though his weight was still a problem he could never pull the pin
He was born to be a jockey; it was etched beneath his skin,
So when Dye rejected Jeune because he’d let him down before
Wayne was pleased to get a leg up in the Cup of ninety-four.

There were few among the experts who believed he'd stay the course

Ten furlongs seemed the limit for this handsome chestnut horse,

He was headstrong, he was edgy; he was difficult to hold

But he had a trouch of brilliance as his rider had been told.

Wayne Harris was a master; he was strong with silken hands

As he'd shown in countless races both at home and other lands,

Though he'd never sat astride him 'til they walked onto the track

You could sense that they were special, there was little they would lack.

As they battled for positions in the straight the first time round

There was quite a deal of crowding and they fought to hold their ground,

For an instant Wayne was worried when the stallion almost fell

But he reefed him out of danger and the big horse settled well.

Now he found his mount some cover for the horse was known to pull
He was cruising down the back straight and the tank was nearly full,

He was running oh so smoothly he had energy to burn

They were just behind the leaders as they came towards the turn.


When he set sail for the wire and the crowd set up a din
And his horse responded boldly then he knew that he could win,

Now this erstwhile suspect stayer was about to be a winner

And his brilliant battling jockey, well he'd " done them like a dinner'.

When he galloped past the leaders in that epic Melbourne Cup
He would punch the air in triumph for his blood was really up,
And the racing folk who knew the tortured path on which he trod
Cheered Wayne Harris to the echo while he gave his thanks to God.

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