Almanac Poetry: What’s Bart Got?


The Cups King Bart Cummings the great Bart Cummings

gazing out from under wild eyebrows, winning

the race that stops a whole nation twelve times

one for each hole in an egg carton


On the television they ask Bart for his

secret to winning all them Melbourne Cups

The trick is to see exactly what’s in front of your eyes

then he turns away, no need to make things up


The journos say he’s blessed with the eye

he sees the makings in the foal at foot

long arms short cannons well put together

head that’s pretty, getting the bob on the line


On the first Tuesday in November

the siren sounds ten minutes before the race starts

on the concrete factory floor in Pagewood

the workers down tools pad out stand frozen

in front of small tvs and loud speakers


No need to read the form to watch the odds

to make things up – they ask: what’s Cummings got?

What’s Bart got? See his jockey let go at the clock

towering over them at the furlong…

quick run, here they come

come and see:


Light Fingers, Think Big, Think Big again, Rogan Josh, Saintly, Gold and Black, Red Handed, Hyperno, Kingston Rule, Lets Elope, Viewed, and Galillee – from a long way back


What’s Cummings got, no need to make things up

What’s Bart Cummings got

one more hole for one more egg for one more cup

What’s the thing that Bart’s got

that we have not.



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