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The Umpire

 C.J. Dennis
{Cricket Administrator, Umpire & Scorer} 

Oh, he was old and he was spare; 

His bushy whiskers and his hair, 

His right boot was in need of repair, 

And in his swag upon his back,

He carried a cricket bat oiled as black as black. 

"T’sn't hard to find a game," he said.

 And shook his head, 

So all the corks that hung, 

Around his hat-brim danced and swung 

And bobbed about his face. 

He said they were for keeping flies - 

"The pesky varmints" - from his eyes. 

He called me "Codger". . .

 "Now you see I had me best days," 

Said he.

 "I us’d to bend me back, 

And, I made it hit the track. 

Keep ‘em off stump, young codger, if you can. 

He seemed a funny sort of man. 

All this side of Bourke, 

He’d played the game. 

And umpir’n was as close to the same, 
So, today he supposed he'd have to go, 

Another fifty overs or so. 

"Nigh all my life the tracks I've walked," 

I liked the way he talked. 

And oh, the places he had been! 

I don't know what he had not seen 

On every ground, from every town, 

All through the country, up and down.

"Young codger, don’t shun the dead track," he said. 

And he put his hand upon my head.

I noticed, then, his old eyes were blue 

And Oh! So very true. 

"Ay, once I was a little lad," 

And he seemed to grow quite sad.

I sometimes think: 

When my game is on the brink,

I’ll go umpir’n too 

And hang some corks around my hat, 

And lead a jolly good life like that.