The Horse Drawn Hearse

Hazel was a big old girl, tattooed and rough as guts
who lived on forty acres over run with cross bred mutts,
angora goats and geese and chooks and twenty bloody cats
and a skinny little boyfriend who was known as “Ralph the Rat”.

They’d grown up in the suburbs working welfare for a quid.
Hard work never featured in what Ralph and Hazel did –
always looking for an angle, onto every lurk and rort.
Every district’s got some, so I guess you know the sort.

She bought herself a black draft horse as big as half a whale
some place ’round the ridges at a cockie’s clearing sale.
Then a dodgy situation got potentially much worse
when some where, Hazel came across a big, black horse drawn hearse.

She’d rode a horse drawn carriage on her mother’s wedding day
and she knew how much her step Dad’s loving family had to pay.
Hazel reckoned if they’d pay for splicing like they seemed to do,
they’d be handy with the cheque book when it came to planting too.

She named the big horse “Satan” and you’d have to wonder why
you’d want the devil for an engine on a journey to the sky.
She bought top hats and tail coats. She wasn’t gunna stint
but Ralph the Footman still looked like a rodent with a squint.

Bronco Harry was an old bloke about eighty in the shade
who’d spent his whole life skiting of the mighty rides he’d made.
You’d dodge him like the black plague when he got outside a rum
’cause his outlaw riding exploits were a huge pain in the bum.

Time caught up on Bronco Harry. He made his final ride.
The bar stool buckjump champion of half the country died.
His family were all gullible. They’d swallowed Harry’s bull.
Hazel sold the grieving relatives a horse drawn funeral.

They got the bit done at the church and took the graveyard track.
“Satan” prancing in the shafts with Bronco Harry in the back.
The horse went plunging sideways when some grieving sheila wailed.
Then Hazel started screaming “Whoaaa!” and Ralph the Footman, bailed.

The pace was getting hotter with the headstones flashing by.
A speed hump shot old Hazel nearly half way to the sky.
The front wheels fouled a monument. It spun the back about
and with the action of a woomera, it launched the coffin out.

Hazel hit the gravel and the big horse hit the track.
Wind pressure bent the winkers and he got a look out back.
He saw that coffin flying at him faster than a shooting star
Then a handle caught a trace hook on the broken swingle bar.

Now Harry in his pine box was hooked behind the black
and “Satan” didn’t go too much on coffins up his back,
but he couldn’t lose that bouncing box no matter how he tried,
so he kicked the thing to smithereens, and Harry was…outside!

Well. It stonkered all the mourners. They just stood gaping there
as the corpse of Bronco Harry went cartwheeling through the air
to perform the feat of horsemanship that finally brought him fame.
He landed square astride the black horse, belt hooked around one hame.

“Satan” was barely broke to harness. He had no career plan
for a job description built around the carrying of man
and he sure had no intentions of packing ’round the dead,
so he bucked like seven “Curios” and fourteen “Rocky Neds”.

The re-born buckjump rider stuck to “Satan’s” plunging back
with the grip of rigor-mortis, Harry hung up on the black
and though Harry never had been any better than he said,
he never made a ride while living, like he did when he was dead.

That flabbergasted funeral watched Harry and the horse
go sunfishing through the tombstones and across the watercourse.
With old “Satan” getting stronger as Harry fanned the breeze,
they ploughed through Murphy’ chook shed and vanished in the trees.

They couldn’t kill old Harry twice, but “Satan” died of fright
’cause when they found the corpse and carcase, his hide had turned dead white.
Ralph and Hazel are still paying off the fines the court enforces
And they both get sorta twitchy when someone mentions horses.

Now, when frost bejewels the grasses and the moon hangs cold and low,
spirits rise to sit on headstones for a ghostly rodeo.
Big “Satan’s” eyes glow evil through his tangled, tossing mane
as buckjumping through the grave yard, Bronco Harry rides again!

Jack Drake