WHAT A NIGHT

© Glenny Palmer, 2009.


Winner 2010, ‘Wool Wagon Award’, Crookwell Upper Lachlan, NSW.


Into the back of our rusty Dodge ute

off we go to the Saturday dance,

with our Dad at the wheel and Mum fixing her hair

and she’s laddered her stocking and cries in despair

while us kids are both yelling, ‘Are we nearly there?’

(with our dog stowed away under Granny’s cane chair)

and the ‘roo on the road takes his chance.


Over the jump-up, she’s bowling along

as the dust and the gibber stones fly,

when the cattle grid launches the ute through the gate

all the scones that Mum baked topple out of the crate

and Dad screws up his face as he cops the berate

(then she fusses and frets that ‘Your tie isn’t straight.’)

and the moon laughs aloud in the sky.


Into the hall and straight out to the back

where the other kids chase off a snake,

and my brother says ‘Damn!’ ‘cause he missed all that fun

(if Mum heard him he’d have to learn quick how to run)

so he heads for the hall and a freshly cooked bun

where the Belle Of The Ball competition is won

yet again, by "...that awful Miss Drake...".


Floorboards and hall are a century old

but still spring to the wild Gypsy Tap,

then a waltz gives relief as the dancers with pride

and their chins held aloft almost silently glide

over talcum topped floor (what a glorious slide

on his backside - my brother upends a new bride)

and lands square in the President’s lap!


Momentum is stalled but not stopped, forward ho!

on he rolls heading straight for the band,

and his head like a missile shoots straight through the drum

and the overturned drummer in Rugby like scrum

knocks the old spinster pianist striking her dumb

when her dentures go flying, exposing her gum

and the President’s struggling to stand.


The shame and the horror on poor Mother’s face

and the new words that Daddy sings out,

are quite quickly surpassed by the mayhem that rose

when our dog heard the din and apparently chose

to get into the act with a few of his foes

while the dancers disperse in defence of their toes

from this unscheduled welterweight bout.


Dog fights at best are confined to the street

but tradition’s surrendered with glee,

on the slippery boards there’s a dozen or more

as a riot of legs that won’t grip to the floor

slip and slide in a tangle of skin fur and gore

and the supper cakes splatter the dancers and door

while a Poodle has pikelets for tea.


Fate can be kind for old Myrtle McGraw

has contrived to attend with her cat,

to her lace covered bosom she thrusts it in fear

when a bloody great Doberman leaps for its ear

and it shoots up her skirt like a truck in top gear

where its safety’s assured, penetrating her rear

with its needle like claws in the fat.


Myrtle’s assailed by the vapours and faints

and the cat wriggles out from its trap,

an assortment of hounds turn attention therefore

to a far better option for raising the score

(an electrified cat shooting straight for the door…)

with allegiance decreed and a unified roar

all the canines depart for the scrap.


The hall’s like a wreck from an air bombing raid

Miss McGraw’s still out cold on the floor,

the poor President’s walking with difficulty

and the upended bride says she wants to be free

while my brother is hiding way up in a tree

so my Dad’s taking out his frustration on me

and our dog’s got no tail anymore.


I’m sat in the ute and we’re heading for home

though my brother is standing upright,

he’s hoping tomorrow his backside will heal

and he’s grounded for life because that is the deal

that our Daddy laid down when he said ‘It’s for real!’

but between you and me I quite honestly feel

it’s the best dance we’ve had…what a night!

 

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