Colin F. Jones

THE HAPPENING

Then out spake Elephininious,
The Captain of the Bar,
“For every man upon this Earth
Death cometh near or far.”

“For how can man die better
Than consuming fearless grogs[1],
For the hangovers of his fathers
And the breweries of his Gods.”

“Who will stand on my right side
And support the bar with me?
Who will stand on my left side
To drink on bold and free?”

Then out spake Alcomphiniaus,
Of Scottish blood was he,
“I will stand by thy right side
And drink the grog with thee.”

“For who can put us under
With Resches[2] for our aid,
And VB[3] for a booster
Our courage cannot fade.”

Then out spake Purist Grogen,
Of Australian blood was he,
“I shall support thy left side
And sip the grog with thee.”

“For I weren’t bred on water
And life is grog to me
The rivers will flow with liquor
To be fermented in the sea.”

Thus the booze began its flowing
At a gluttonous rhythmic pace,
It was guzzled by the can full
Till the empties littered up the place

Then time had passed the hour
For the closing of the door,
But without a pause the dauntless three
Bought a dozen more.

From the confinement of the club
Across Earth which grew no tree
In either hand a crate of grog
Strode fourth the dauntless three

Even when the lights went out
And the system barred their spree,
The liquor flowed throughout the night.
They drank on, the dauntless three.

In the morning drunk as Lords
They joined the dawn parade
Weary from the battle field
From their liquid escapade.

But here all boldness failed them
Here their hopes all died
‘cause they couldn’t buck the system
No matter how they tried.

Then out spake brave Elephininious,
“Oh God, and boozers too
Today I die a million deaths
For I cannot obtain a brew.”

“For how can man die better
Than from drinking lots of ale
To the spirits of his sires
Who drank it by the pail?”

“But look at us, the dauntless three
All shattered without the booze,
The CO’s[4] put us on the dry
Oh God, tis death we choose.”

So from the club on to the dry
To live on juice and tea,
Suffering in their misery
Strode forth the dauntless three.

Author’s Note: Three Australian 104 Battery gunners went on a drinking spree at Nui Dat South Vietnam – Gunner Elphinstone, the late Gunner Innes and Gunner Heyden. I wrote this poem about it – based on the old classic, “Horatio and the Bridge”

The poem was written in Vietnam and published in the limited book, “Mission in Vietnam” along with my other poem “The Rats of Concord.” Both are true accounts.