Monday, November 10, 2008

192.Solomon's Wisdom

Wiseman's Ferry is a small settlement on the Hawkesbury River, not far from Newcastle, here in Australia. The story of how the area came to be so-named makes for interesting reading.


Of course, he was a Reprobate
And a Confidence Trickster too,
But I can't help but admire him
For the way that he pulled through.
His name was Solomon Wiseman,
A rather splendid name,
And from the South of England
To our Newcastle he came.
He ran a sloop from the Folkestone coast,
In the British Government's pay,
Carrying spies to land in France
Where Napoleon held sway.
And he often strolled on Folkestone beach
Looking smart and spry,
In a velvet jacket of brightest blue
With a telescope to his eye.
But Solomon's downfall was overdue!
The Government clipped his wings
When they found he was coming back from France
With wine and other things!
Yes, he'd been smuggling all the time
As a Double Agent, no less,
And he was hastily thrown in jail!
So much for his success!
As was the custom in far-off times,
He was shipped to New South Wales,
Where convicts were treated brutally
In rat-infested jails.
But, because he'd given good service,
Even with feet of clay,
He was released after just four years
And sent on his merry way.
He was given a parcel of bushland
On the banks of the Hawkesbury River,
And because his fortunes then improved,
I trust he thanked the giver!
At the very time he settled there
Road-building was under-way.
More and more convict labourers
Arrived there every day.
But they could not cross the Hawkesbury!
Inconvenient? Very.
So what does Solomon Wiseman do?
He builds a sturdy ferry!
The 'powers that be' in Sydney
Were grateful as could be,
And they paid him handsomely year by year,
A very tasty fee.
He went on to become wealthy,
His house was large and grand.
He owned hostelries and businesses.
He was known throughout the land.
And his ferry's still in use today
As the area's remote,
And people enjoy a little trip
On Solomon Wiseman's boat.
But the man himself, I very much fear,
Didn't cover himself with glory.
In fact, he's now become a ghost!
(But that's another story!)


fleuve-souterrain said...

Like this poem a lot! The way you enmesh the history of a place in rhymes is interesting. I'll be waiting to see your new blog addition that you mentioned on my cooments section...

The coffee poem is sweet. I reflected about this black-white issue this way. Now that I;ve been in the States for about 6 yrs, I can see why or how folks here tend to talk along this binary division of Black and White. In India, as my mom, pointed out, Obama would be just another brown man, there being darker complexions than his. In France too, say my French friends, he'd not be "black". But US tends to still describe these two main races as B and W. Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans go by little more than just colour, often some physical features! But here's to coffee anyway!

Now, if I may be audacious enough to request something:
if you have time, please register for FREE at
(sponsored by new Zealand Poetry Society)

and please award points to my 2 poems currently in the race. Titles: "HULLABALOO BY THE LAKESIDE" and "MY FIRST DYING MAN"
Will be grateful, thanks!!

Mari Meehan said...

I trust you will tell it!

Bear Naked said...

What a wonderful way to learn about the history of Australia.
You make everything so interesting.
Thanks Brenda.

Bear((( )))

Darlene said...

A great poem that tells a story. I love your rhymes and am envious of your talent.

I also love the photo of the cloud nestling between the ridges.

Kat said...

Such talented people.. exist. In all centuries. If only we identify them and put them on rails - they'll take this world to places..!!!