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Life Arts    H4'ed 6/28/21

Sonnet: Waltzing Matilda (Apocryphal Version)

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Gordon Coutts Landscape with Swagman.
Gordon Coutts Landscape with Swagman.
(Image by Wikipedia (, Author: Gordon Coutts (1865-1937))
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Sonnet: Waltzing Matilda (Apocryphal Version)

by John Kendall Hawkins



It's a bleak song of loneliness that moves

On the Beach to tears, soundtrack of sorrow

at world's end, Dream Time without tomorrow,

dead silence comes like apocalyptic hooves.

Jack, the little ripper from Whitechapel,

stowaway on a luxury liner,

found kitchen work in the ship's warm diner,

where he met his dimpled dappled apple.

Adam and Eve in an outback Eden

waltzing to a Banjo Patterson song;

Jack's love gone wrong around the billabong

he conks her on the noggin; she's bleeding.

Sad one-man diaspora, out of stock,

heads for pretty faces at Hanging Rock.


Matilda's Last Waltz
Matilda's Last Waltz
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In an alternate animadversion,

our country bumpkin's so overwrought,

he sits and weeps by his now-private Lethe,

so angry, pent-up, he can hardly breathe,

and feeling sorry for himself -- the lot --

faucets on, picks and strums her submersion,

recalls her burbling words for help -- No, Jack! --

he waltzes her, like Leonard Cohen's tune,

until his mind is exorcised and free

(though still slaved to psychopathology);

he's got new swagger, buys a dog called Goon,

and long-suffers in a billabong shack.

Meanwhile, Matilda's in a better place

without Jack; sans, of course, her pretty face.

(Article changed on Jun 30, 2021 at 2:58 PM EDT)

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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