Almanac Poetry: ‘The Boy from Natimuk’

The Boy from Natimuk

by Marcus Holt
(with apologies to Banjo Patterson and The Man from Ironbark)

 

 

There was a boy from Natimuk who went to school in town

 

He sauntered into class each day, his teacher gave a frown

 

His hair was much too long behind and much too short on top

 

He refused, despite imploring, to visit a barber’s shop

 

“Cut my hair, my mullet off? No way!” he would remark

 

“I’d rather see the Tigers lose down at Kardinia Park.”

 

The teacher was a biggish bloke, as teachers sometimes are

 

He wore a Cats badge every day, and Cats stickers on his car

 

He liked a joke, he liked a laugh, he was fond of repartee

 

He taught the youngsters to read and write and multiply by 3

 

One day as our friend arrived he whispered “I’ve had enough

 

Just watch me get that mullet off this cheeky little scruff.”

 

There were some other kids in school who had the right concept

 

Their eyes were bright, their heads were full, their hair was quite well kept

 

To them the teacher gave a wink, his wicked eyelid shut

 

“I’ll make this long-haired bogan think his mullet has been cut”

 

So as he taught the finer points of arithmetic

 

He grabbed a pair of scissors and gave them one quick click

 

He swooped around the youngster’s back, took the mullet in his grip

 

And swept the cutting tool across as if to let them rip

 

He laughed an evil laugh and paused a while to gloat

 

Then produced a handful of hair from behind the victim’s throat

 

With no mirror at hand to see what damage had been done

 

Our hero presumed the worst, his beloved mullet was gone

 

He gave a wild cry of pain that the whole school could hear

 

His hair was surely cut he thought, his eyes they filled with tears

 

He rose up on his wobbly feet and faced his trusted teacher

 

“I can’t believe you scalped me!” he accused the horrid creature

 

“I only wish I had the strength you awful classroom villain

 

To cut you down to size right now in front of all these children”

 

He clenched his little fists and with one determined clout

 

He swung right at the teacher’s jaw and knocked the teacher out

 

He ran amok around the room and left the place a wreck

 

He grabbed one of the laughing kids and tried to wring his neck

 

And all the while he wailed “my hair, my hair has been cut off!”

 

And sadness filled his broken heart, the boy from Natimuk

 

The Principal from the next room came in to see show

 

She tried to rein the tiger in but he refused to go

 

And when at last the teacher rose and said “twas all in fun

 

T’was just a harmless little joke, a little overdone”

 

“A joke “ he cried , “ a joke you say, do you think that this was funny?

 

I’m not laughing that’s for sure, I’m not your helpless bunny!”

 

When he got home that afternoon his parents were agape

 

As they heard the story of his mullet’s narrow escape

 

Those teachers have one job to do, to fill your head with stuff

 

One tried to take my beautiful hair but thank the Lord it’s tough

 

And whether he’s learned anything, there’s one thing to remark

 

That flowing mullets are all the go out there in Natimuk.

 

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE

 

More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read HERE

 

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Comments

  1. roger lowrey says

    Love your work Marcus.

    Back in the 1980s I visited Natimuk Primary School while working for the then VTU and driving out to Edenhope to address the much loved “dinner” meetings.

    Many small rural schools were subsequently closed by the Kennett Government. For example, I would be very surprised if schools still remain at nearby places like Netherby, Noradjhua and Connewirricoo,

    I know Apsley is still functioning following last year’s reports of the problems they encountered with border closures with half the kids and teachers living in Victoria and the other half living in SA.

    I am confident Banjo Patterson would be looking down kindly on your adaptation.

    RDL

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