Peter Wilson's Ride

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Gary Harding
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Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Gary Harding » Mon Apr 08, 2024 7:14 am

This is a romantic and interesting story told in verse and written ages ago. Then I will go away ....

It may be too long and if so I apologise for that. A little polishing is still needed but Time, that greatest of enemies, dictates other priorities at the moment. I prefer brief poems but a story tends to preclude that, I think?


Peter Wilson's Ride

Of brave bush heroes, few remain; their feats of daring fade.
The legends that the bushman tell are of such exploits made.
But whether they be knights of war or born of fire or tide,
The tale that I like best I think is Peter Wilson's ride.

— Now outback runs extend for miles and stretch from plain to peak,
And Peter Wilson held his run along by Cooper's Creek.
He toiled and slaved and fed his stock on grasses green and strong,
And in the summer fell in love with neighbour Mary Long.

A hopeless case he used to gallop far his girl to court,
Though flooded river crossings made his journey danger fraught.
For flowing water clear and fast can snatch a man and beast.
With nothing left to mark their grave but water surface creased.

One evening out at Peter's hut when work had turned to rest,
A redder glow than any sun lit up the distant west.
— True love is hard on any man for in its fullest bloom,
It spurs him on to noble deeds then sends him to his doom.

But Mary's home lay where the lurid orange stained the sky,
And desperate courage kindled rage in fighting Peter's eye.
The wildest son of country wild he felt the devil's breath,
And knew that he would ride that night a race - a race with Death.

A pause to note the set of wind then with a murmured prayer,
He grabbed his stock-whip from the fence and saddled up his mare.
— At Cooper's Crossing only then did horse and rider shy,
For evil clouds obscured the moon and stygian was the sky.

But hotter than the fires ran the blood in Peter's veins.
A rousing cheer, a pat, a shout — he bravely seized the reins.
Then plunging down into the stream they fought it hand to hand
Till swirling currents took a hold and dragged them from the land.

A fatal eddy like a vise arranged them in its grip.
The end would follow swiftly if the horse began to slip.
Then just as life was balanced on that terrifying brink,
A shoreward current swept them clear before the pair could sink.

Around a branch he tied his whip and made the saddle fast,
Then hauled them up the farthest bank to solid ground at last!
'Twas just as if bush soldiers ranked in ghostly legions bold
Were mustering their charges out of danger to the fold.

No time to stop or shudder, there was still a job to do.
The mare went bounding onward; Peter stuck to her like glue.
A halt before a gully then a groan of dark despair.
The fire leapt o'er the gully as it singed his face and hair.

But now the flames were higher and were charging up the rise,
To find the place where Mary slept and claim their awful prize.
Alas, too late — a wall of flame — his love the other side.
Poor Peter let the bridle down and hung his head and cried.

Then as his hand fell to his breast he touched the stock-whip strand.
Instinctively he grasped the stock and loosed it in his hand.
A fearsome crack the like of which was never heard before,
Re-echoed up the hillside loud above the fire's roar.

The cracking whiplash in the night woke Mary with a fright.
Just as the fire rushed the house and set the roof alight.
A leap, a step, safe through the door she climbed the water tank.
Her burning home, the heat, the smoke — ah! mercifully she sank.

By light of early morning with his horse beside his arm
A grieving man regarded what was left of Mary's farm.
But had his senses left him or did someone call his name.
Sure nothing that was human could survive that smoke and flame.

And yet against all reason from the tank beside his head,
Emerged a soaking figure that was more alive than dead.
"You really mustn't wake me up like that Peter, you know!"
Then tearful eyes found loving arms above the ashes glow.

Old tales of love and courage sound as echoes from the past,
And progress has displaced the world wherein those tales were cast.
But Peter's deed will linger for it's touched with family pride.
— My mother Mary told me of my father Peter's ride.

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alongtimegone
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by alongtimegone » Fri Apr 12, 2024 4:52 pm

Great poem Garry. You had me hanging on to Peter's horse right to the last stanza. Not too long at all. Loved it.
Wazza

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Gary Harding
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Gary Harding » Sat Apr 13, 2024 7:53 am

Many Thanks Wazza,

It was just a bit of fun...

People do crosswords, puzzling to figure out the right words.

One might with (ballad) poetry also similarly get enjoyment in the challenge of working to find the right words, and even phrases. Except then I like to think that at least at the end we have something (good or bad) to show for our efforts? likely not a great comparison ?? Ha :)

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alongtimegone
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by alongtimegone » Sat Apr 13, 2024 1:31 pm

I think finding the right words and phrases to come together in a well written poem like yours Garry is way more difficult.
Wazza

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Sun Apr 14, 2024 1:30 pm

Well I love it :D May I share it over onto the ARP page as well - I reckon it will get a good hearing there.
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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Gary Harding
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Gary Harding » Sun Apr 14, 2024 5:02 pm

Yes, that would be really good Maureen... if you would do that, thank you!!!! I could not guess how it might be received... hopefully positively.

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Mon Apr 15, 2024 11:43 pm

It's going great guns Gary - already been shared 65 times and received 32 positive comments. :D
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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Gary Harding
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Gary Harding » Tue Apr 16, 2024 9:27 am

Thank you Maureen.

Yes, all the kind FB comments suggest that Peter Wilson's Ride has given readers some enjoyment, even if it is a very long poem. :)

Just being able to give pleasure to others through a few written words I find is the thing.. (as does your ARP page with its huge following).

Anyway... trying to get a major $120mill+ project such as The Australian Cultural Centre going is my main focus. That requires me to be Perfect... no slips anywhere. Broad subject knowledge to start. Excellent and numerous displays. Salesmanship. Promote and push... hammer it into the right circles without letup. And be free of human faults like impatience or worse.. be tempted to give up.

The more I go on, the more I realise how very far from that ideal of Perfection I am. Mistakes.. always mistakes. We all make them ...but success demands that there be NONE. Getting it right all the time... with displays. And especially with people too.. human relations. People, not displays or patriotism, in the end determine your fate.

My old school maths teacher, a tough ex-army man, would have offered no sympathy and said "Just get on with it!!".. so one does! Ha :)

Ron
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Ron » Wed Apr 24, 2024 8:51 am

Good one Gary,
I'm a bit like you in the preference for brief poems.
I think longer poems have to be really good and have a good story line to keep the readers attention, and this one did!
Well done,
Ron.

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Catherine Lee
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Re: Peter Wilson's Ride

Post by Catherine Lee » Fri Apr 26, 2024 7:45 pm

Omigosh, I love it, Gary! "Just a bit of fun" you say - talk about Master of the Understatement!... You held me right through to the wonderful, surprising end, with goose bumps coming and going throughout, What a fabulous story, and with some wonderful, well thought out lines - really well put together! I'm so glad you listened to us and are posting some more of your remarkable work!

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