Poetry: John Cooper

John Cooper
Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks,
Memories that may not have come to me for many, many weeks,
Though they are sad memories, they are ones I’ll always keep,
Memories that sometimes come to me as dreams, in my sleep.
Sometimes there are memories that to my face they bring a smile,
Memories from the past that make my life worth while,
These are the happy memories of family, and of friends,
Of the good times in my life that from my memory descends.

Jock And The Worm

Jock was eighty-five years old,
To the Doctor and his story told,
That he was feeling a bit off-colour,
And that his brain was getting duller.
The Doctor poked and prodded,  
Then asked as his head he nodded,
“Jock, do you drink any alcoholic liquor?
Because that can affect your brain and ticker”.
“I do drink a bit”, said Jock with a wink,
Single malt scotch, it’s the best I think,
Tis that what gives me the most cheer.
And I think it’s better than gin or beer?”
Five or six glasses each night is my fare,
As I sit all alone in my chair,
And oh how it does warm me up,
I drink from a glass, not an old tea cup.
The Doctor looked at Jock and said, 
As two glasses before him he spread,
“There is something that you ought to see”,
And this might make it as clear as can be.
The Doctor one glass with water filled,
A glass of water made Jock go chilled,
               The other the Doc filled with whisky,
                And at the sight of that, Jock got all frisky.

“Sit there, I’ll be back in a bit”, 
The Doc left the room, lickety-split,
  Out to the garden to find an earthworm,
That he brought back in, holding it firm.
Jock saw the worm and did not know what to think,
He thought from the glass of whisky, he would like to drink,
The Doc put the worm into the water glass, 
And round and round it swam with class.
After when the Doctor from the water took the worm,
In his fingers it sure did squirm, 
He placed it into the scotch where it ceased to swim,
No doubt that the worm was dead, it’s future grim.
The Doctor asked of Jock, “Now what does that tell you?”,
And Jock without hesitation got the clue,
One conclusion only, could Jock confirm, 
Drink scotch and you will never have worms. 
Band Boys Murders
This is a story as told, it is true,
And which I will now relate to you,
About the murder of three teenage boys,
Young fellows who had not long stopped playing with toys.
They had each joined the Manchester Regiment, 
As ‘Band Boys’ they were in their element,
Musicians their brass instruments they played,
For the Regiment, marching music they made. 
The Regiment had been sent to Ireland,
To help keep peace in that troubled land,
The Irish amongst themselves were fighting ,
And British rule had them dividing. 
The soldiers had gone out on patrol,
The band boys in the barracks, under their own control,
It is reported they were kicking a football around,
Then for an unknown reason they went towards the town.
Ballincollig Barracks was from where the boys left,
They were walking down the road, three abreast,
When they got past the village of Ovens, near Srelane Cross, 
They meet the IRA, and then their lives were not worth a toss.
It was the 5th of June, nineteen twenty one,
Not one of the boys was carrying a gun,
Nor any weapon of offence or defense,
What happened to them just does not make sense.
Taken to an empty house, near the town of Alerlea,
The IRA would not listen to their plea,
Accusing them of being British spies,
And took no notice of their mournful cries.
Questioned and tortured, for the next three days,
I am sure their minds were in a haze,
Then out to the back yard, near a small tree,
They were shot, these boys three.
Then buried near a bush and left to rot,
It must have been a relief, being shot,
They were just three boys, of the band,
 What happened to them I will never understand.
Boy Matthew Carson, aged seventeen,
Boy Charles Arthur Chapman, aged seventeen,
Boy John Cooper, aged sixteen,
Had they not left the barracks, what their lives might have been.
On the 15th August nineteen twenty three,
The bodies were exhumed from under the tree,
And taken to Bandon Workhouse ground,
The three boys together under one mound.
After partitions and letters from Carson’s father,
To the British Government to do what was proper,
The boys were then finally brought back home,
So that they would not be alone.
They were again buried together, these boys three,
In September, nineteen twenty four, a military funeral for all to see,
At Ashton-under-Lyne, near Manchester town,
At rest together they were finally laid down. 
I am sure when the parents signed the enlistment papers,
 Did not think that their sons would be subject to such capers,
Three families, who would never forgive, 
The Irish Republican Army, for what they did.
The youngest boy, by my father and uncle I’m told,
Was my uncle, whose named I hold,
He died aged just sixteen years,
And to think of how he died still brings me tears.
It has now gone over one hundred years,
Since three mothers each shed their tears,
For sons who should never have died,
I can only imagine how much they cried.
Now I wonder if the world has learnt from such atrocities,
Have people, even a little, improved their moral qualities,
If only we could learn from history past,
And bring peace to our world and make it last.

Fair Dinkum
I consider myself Australian,
Even though my dad, was a Pom,
But my mum she was ‘fair dinkum’,
Convict stock, she came from.
Now thinking about ‘fair dinkum’,
Just what do these words mean,
To me it means ‘honestly’,
That’s the meaning that I glean.
It’s about as Aussie, as you can get,
If fact it’s ‘dinky-di’,
Which means it’s ‘on the level’
And I will tell you why.
Because, on the level,
Means genuine and true,
If you are called ‘dinky-di’,
We can depend on you.
You might be called a ‘cobber’,
Which means you are a ‘mate’,
As a ‘mate’ you are a good friend,
And that you are first rate.
Australian slang has many words,
Too many to relate,
Here I’ll select some of them,
And try and set you straight.
 ‘Dunny’ is a toilet,
There are many different types,
Some are just holes in the ground,
And some of them have pipes.
Some are very private,
Like the one you have at home,
Others are quiet open,
And people ,can hear you groan.
Now ‘Drongo’ is a funny word,
It means you are a fool,
Like being a bit of a ‘Galah’,
A bloke who’s not real cool.
And then there’s ‘you little ripper’,
That’s ‘bloody fantastic mate’,
It sorta means you are OK,
And that you're real straight.
Now if you’re working ‘flat out’,
It means you’re really busy,
You could be doing hard ‘yakka’,
And getting in a ‘tizzy’.
If you are  described as a ‘dag’,
You could be a bit of a ‘nerd’,
‘Deadset’, you could be a ‘geek’,
Or that is what I’ve heard.
‘G’day’, well that means hello,
It’s an Aussie greeting true,
If I heard you use it,
I reckon your ‘true blue’.
Now if you are ‘true blue’,
That means you’re patriotic,
You are a genuine Aussie,
Not one who is neurotic.
‘Budgie smugglers’, are swimming ‘trunks’,
Sometimes we call them ‘speedos’,
They cover the essential bits,
But don’t protect from the mosquitoes.
‘Avos’, are a sort of fruit,
The flash call them avocados.
The’re are always coloured green,
Nothing like tomatoes.
‘Ambo’, is an ambulance,
Also a paramedic,
 They can be male of female,
And are usually sympathetic. 
‘Donger’, ‘doodle’ and ‘willie’, 
Can all mean the same thing,
It is a male private part,
Can’t be hid with a G-string. 
‘Fair suck of the sav’,
Is an exclamation of wonder,
Of awe or disbelief,
A saying from down under.
‘Jumbuck’, it is just a sheep,
As mentioned in ‘Waltzing Matilda’,
A ‘swagman’ put her in his ‘tucker bag’,
After he had killed her.
Beyond the ‘Black Stump’,
Is a long way away,
Somewhere in the ‘Outback’,
Exactly where is hard to portray.
It could be somewhere out past ‘Woop Woop’,
A name for any small town,
Where a ‘Swaggie’ might be heading to,
Because on his luck, he is down.
‘Brekkie’, that means breakfast,
While ‘dinner’ can be lunch,
And tea, it can be dinner,
It’s all confusing, that’s the crunch. 
To ‘Chuck a Sickie’,
Is what Aussies do so well,
To take a day away from work,
When not crook, and no one will tell.
You might tell the boss,
You had to ‘chunder’,
That you were really crook,
With trouble there down under.
Motor vehicles have terms describing them,
Like, ‘three on a tree’ or ‘four on the floor’,
Or a ute with an ‘eight and a gate’,
And there is probably more.
In the bush, ‘utes ‘have ‘bull bars’,
To keep the front from folding,
And several big spot lights,
For ‘roos ‘in their sights to be holding.
‘Lippy’, that is lipstick,
It is what the ‘Sheilas’ use,
To make themselves attractive,
To ‘blokes’, who they pursue.
 Now ‘Dry-as-a bone’ is a rain coat,
The type a stockman wears,
It comes in lengths of long and short,
And very seldom tears.
‘Shonky’, is dubious and underhanded,
‘Spit the dummy’, is to get upset,
While ‘sprung’, is caught doing something wrong,
And ‘stonkered’, might make you fret.
‘Banana Benders’ come from Queensland,
A ‘Cockroach’ is from New South Wales,
‘Taswegians’ are from Tasmania,
‘Sand Gropers’ from Western Australia hail.
Victorians, are called ‘Cabbage Patchers’,
‘Camberrians’ are from the ACT, 
South Australians, they are ‘Crow Eaters’,
‘Top Enders” are from the Territory,
If you are in the ‘Big Smoke’,
It means you’re in the city,
When Bango was writing Clancy,
He said the foetid air was dusty and gritty.
‘Barbie’, is a Barbecue,
Where Aussie’s cook their ‘snags’,
 The fellows have a ‘cold-one’,
And suck upon their ‘fags’.
Look, is to have a ‘Captain Cook’,
While ‘cark it’ is to die,
‘Cockie’ is a farmer,
But I can’t tell you why.
‘Billabong’, is a water pool,
That a ‘Swagman’ might camp by,
‘Bonza’, well that is great,
Like the best that you can buy.
‘Deadset’, I am telling you the truth,
While to tell a ‘porky’ is to lie,
To ‘shoot through’ is to leave the place,
‘Stickybeak’ is one who’s nosy and prone to pry.
‘Stubby’, is a small bottle of beer,
‘Longneck’, is a big one,
‘Shout’, is to buy the drinks,
‘Pub’ is where stories are spun. 
And so Australian slang you see,
Is just a way of speaking,
Aussies use these types of words,
When to express themselves they’re needing. 
I think this poem is now long enough, 
Anymore might make you cry,
So with one more bit of strine,
‘Hooroo’, which means goodbye.

If I Could Phone To Heaven
If I could phone to heaven, I would call there every day,
And speak to my wife, the late, Victoria May,
I would tell her all that’s happened, about things in my life,
What I had for dinner, and how I keep out of strife.
If I could phone to heaven, our children, I would talk about,
That you would want to know about them, there isn't any doubt,
Just what each of them are doing, and are they all Ok,
Johnny, Ian , Brian, and of course there’s, Lynda Gay.
If I could phone to heaven, I’m sure you would want to know,
News of our fourteen grandchildren, oh, the photos I would love to show,
Each of them are now fully grown, most with children of their own,
I think there are twelve boys, fifteen girls, and another that’s half grown.
If I could phone to heaven, I would tell you how much you are missed,
By me and all who knew you, there is such a long, long list,
We all miss your laugh, your smile, and the love you gave,
To each and every one of us, oh, for your love we crave.


  1. You write beautiful Poetry John Cooper 👏👏👏 well done keep up the great work.

  2. I enjoyed reading your poems John, Fair Dinkum.

  3. Band Boys Murder was so touching


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