Index of Poems


Jim's Whip

Yes, there it hangs upon the wall
  And never gives a sound,
The hand that trimmed its greenhide fall
  Is hidden underground,
There, in that patch of sallee shade,
  Beneath that grassy mound.

I never take it from the wall,
  That whip belonged to him
The man I singled from them all,
  He was my husband, Jim;
I see him now, so straight and tall,
  So long and lithe of limb.

That whip was with him night and day
  When he was on the track;
I've often heard him laugh, and say
  That when they heard its crack,
After the breaking of the drought,
  The cattle all came back.

And all the time that Jim was here,
  A-working on the run,
I'd hear that whip ring sharp and clear
  Just about the set of sun,
To let me know that he was near
  And that his work was done.

I was away that afternoon,
  Penning the calves, when, a bang!
I heard his whip, 'twas rather soon -
  A thousand echoes rang
And died away among the hills,
  As towards the hut I sprang.

I made the tea and waited, but,
  Seized by a sudden whim,
I went and sat outside the hut
  And watched the light grow dim -
I waited there till after dark,
  But not a sign of Jim.

The evening air was damp with dew,
  Just as the clock struck ten
His horse came riderless - I knew
  What was the matter then
Why should the Lord have singled out
  My Jim from other men?

I took the horse and found him, where
  He lay beneath the sky,
With blood all clotted on his hair;
  I felt too dazed to cry -
I held him to me as I prayed
  To God that I might die.

But sometimes now I seem to hear -
  Just when the air grows chill -
A single whip-crack, sharp and clear;
  Re-echo from the hill,
That's Jim, to let me know he's near
  And thinking of me still.