The Automatic Umpire

Now, Plugger Palook was a man in a thousand
(Said Horace the Howler) not one of yer fools.
But his barrackers vowed that he wasn't allowed
Full scope for his talents account o' the rools.
For Plugger Palook was a footballer. Get me?
An' one of the old-school. A wonder! A wow!
He was no lily-handed gazook to be branded
No sort of weaklin'. Not Plugger; no how.

Not much of a kicker - not so you would notice
His handball an' passin' left much to desire;
A dub at high-markin', his business was narkin'
An' knocking out umpires wot rose up his ire.
He'd done in a dozen first half of the season,
But the depth of officials you never can tell.
Now, a shortage they're fearin'; so, Plugger, not hearin',
They goes an puts in a serlenium cell!

The dawgs! Plugger starts in the very first quarter
An' gets a bit rough'ouse in makin' things hot
When the cells says, 'Now, Plugger! You ain't playin' rugger
Let up on them larrups.' An' Plugger says, WOT!!'
'Twas the first time in years than an umpire had cheeked him;
So Plugger lets out a sockdollager crack.
There's a flash an' a sizzle; then he does a mizzle
And lands out-o'-bounds on the broad of his back.

Well I'll say he was game, tho' a good bit bewildered,
For he comes back again when he finds he is whole.
Then he tries for to tackle, but soars with a crackle,
Up, clean thro' the posts; an' the crowd it roars, 'Goal!'...
An' the heads calls that football! (said Horace the Howler)
Deep pity for him in me proud heart it wells.
A champion world-beater! A reel umpire eater!
Done in an' disgraced by serlenium cells!

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

My Old Football

YOU can keep your antique silver and your statuettes of bronze,
Your curios and tapestries so fine,
But of all your treasures rare there is nothing to compare
With this patched up, wornout football pal o’ mine.
Just a patchedup wornout football, yet how it clings!
I live again my happier days in thoughts that football brings.
It’s got a mouth, it’s got a tongue,
And oft when we’re alone I fancy that it speaks
To me of golden youth that’s flown.
It calls to mind our meeting,
’Twas a present from the Dad.
I kicked it yet I worshipped it,
How strange a priest it had!
And yet it jumped with pleasure
When I punched it might and main:
And when it had the dumps
It got blown up and punched again.
It’s lived its life;
It’s played the game;
Its had its rise and fall,
There’s history in the wrinkles of that wornout football.
Caresses rarely came its way in babyhood ’twas tanned.
It’s been well oiled, and yet it’s quite teetotal, understand.
It’s gone the pace, and sometimes it’s been absolutely bust,
And yet ’twas always full of bounce,
No matter how ’twas cussed.
He’s broken many rules and oft has wandered out of bounds,
He’s joined in shooting parties
Over other people’s grounds.
Misunderstood by women,
He was never thought a catch,
Yet he was never happier
Than when bringing off a match.
He’s often been in danger
Caught in nets that foes have spread,
He’s even come to life again
When all have called him dead.
Started on the centre,
And he’s acted on the square,
To all parts of the compass
He’s been bullied everywhere.
His aims and his ambitious
Were opposed by one and all,
And yet he somehow reached his goal
That plucky old football.
When schooling days were ended
I forgot him altogether,
And ’midst the dusty years
He lay a crumpled lump of leather.
Then came the threat’ning voice of War,
And games had little chance,
My brother went to do his bit
Out there somewhere in France.
And when my brother wrote he said,
‘Of all a Tommy’s joys,
There’s none compares with football.
Will you send one for the boys? ’
I sent not one but many,
And my old one with the rest,
I thought that football’s finished now,
But no he stood the test.
Behind the lines they kicked him
As he’d never been kicked before.
Till they busted him and sent him back
A keepsake of the war.
My brother lies out there in France,
Beneath a simple cross,
And I seem to feel my football knows my grief,
And shares my loss.
He tells me of that splendid charge,
And then my brother’s fall.
In life he loved our mutual chum
That worn-out football.
Oh you can keep your antique silver
And your statuettes of bronze
Your curios and tapestries so fine
But of all your treasures rare
There is nothing to compare
With that patched-up worn-out football—
Pal o’ mine.

by John Milton Hayes.

A Friendly Game Of Football

We were challenged by The Dingoes - they're the pride of Squatter's Gap-
To a friendly game of football on the flat by Devil's Trap.
And we went along on horses, sworn to triumph in the game,
For the honour of Gyp's Diggings, and the glory of the same.

And we took the challenge with us. It was beautiful to see,
With its lovely curly letters, at its pretty filigree.
It was very gently worded, and it made us all feel good,
For it breathed the sweetest sentiments of peace and brotherhood.

We had Chang, and Trucker Hogan, and the man who licked The Plug,
Also Heggarty, and Hoolahan, and Peter Scott, the pug;
And we wore our knuckle-dusters, and we took a keg on tap
To our friendly game of football with The Dingoes at The Gap.

All the fellows came to meet us, and we spoke like brothers dear.
They'd a tip-dray full of tucker, and a waggon load of beer,
And some lint done up in bundles; so we reckoned there'd be fun
Ere our friendly game of football with the Dingo Club was done.

Their umpire was a homely man, a stranger to the push,
With a sweet, deceitful calmness, and a flavour of the bush.
He declared he didn't know the game, but promised on his oath
To see fair and square between the teams, or paralyse them both.

Then we bounced the ball and started, and for twenty minutes quite
We observed a proper courtesy and a heavenly sense of right,
But Fitzpatrick tipped McDougal in a handy patch of mud,
And the hero rose up, chewing dirt, and famishing for blood.

Simple Simonsen, the umpire, sorted out the happy pair,
And he found a pitch to suit them, and we left them fighting there;
But The Conqueror and Cop-Out met with cries of rage and pain,
And wild horses couldn't part those ancient enemies again.

So the umpire dragged them from the ruck, and pegged them off a patch,
And then gave his best attention to the slugging and the match.
You could hardly wish to come across a fairer-minded chap
For a friendly game of football than that umpire at The Gap.

In a while young Smith, and Henty, and Blue Ben, and Dick, and Blake,
Chose their partners from The Dingoes, and went pounding for the cake.
Timmy Hogan hit the umpire, and was promptly put to bed
'Neath the ammunition waggon, with a bolus on his head.

Feeling lonely-like, Magee took on a local star named Bent,
And four others started fighting to avoid an argument:
So Simonsen postponed the game, for fear some slight mishap
Might disturb the pleasant feeling then prevailing at The Gap.

Sixty seconds later twenty lively couples held the floor,
And the air was full of whiskers, and the grass was tinged with gore,
And the umpire kept good order in the interests of peace,
Whilst the people, to oblige him, sat severely on the p'lice.

Well, we fought the friendly game out, but I couldn't say who won;
We were all stretched out on shutters when the glorious day was done;
Both the constables had vanished; one was carried off to bunk,
And the umpire was exhausted, and the populace was drunk.

But we've written out a paper, with good Father Feeley's aid,
Breathing brotherly affection; and the challenge is conveyed
To the Dingo Club at Squatter's, and another friendly game
Will eventuate at this end, on the flat below the claim.

We have pressed The Gap to bring their central umpire if they can-
Here we honestly admire him as a fair and decent man-
And we're building on a pleasant time beside the Phoenix slums,
For The Giant feels he's got a call to plug him if he comes.

by Edward George Dyson.

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