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The T. P. I. ©

{Ten Pound Immigrant}

Thomas Matthew Edgar
Melbourne, Australia

A dismal dark and dusty place, a black and white existence.
The coal town where I spent my youth, I'd give it up for sixpence.
The winter cold, the summer wet, it really wasn't fun.
Escaping from its bitter grasp was project number one.

The Grammar school, the Polytech, the vehicle for flight
I studied hard, I made the grade by working through the night.
To immigrate, to get away, consumed my every action
Australia's technicolour land seductive in attraction.

The TV said it was the land of care-free life and sun.
I took the medical and said, "Australia, here I come!"
The boat was great, five weeks in all, as round the world I sailed.
Exotic lands, cheap fags and booze; I'd found the Holy Grail.

In Melbourne town I disembarked, to greet my future home.
The sun was warm, I couldn't wait, the streets I had to roam.
The trees were tall, the roads were wide, the buildings touched the sky.
But when I reached the migrant camp, Good God was I surprised!

My convict predecessors knew their fate was questionable,
but I was lured by TV ads with females soft and nubile.
The Nissen huts and cyclone fence, and concrete blocks for bathing,
were hardly inspirational; my soul it needed saving.

I wrote to mum and prayed to God to save me from my fate.
To be a 'Ten Pound Immigrant' was not so bloody great.
My mum replied "You've made your bed. Recall, I told you so.
So be a man and sleep in it, and give the thing a go."

I'd joined the ranks of whingeing Poms, and malcontented knockers.
The canteen meals were death on wheels, real culinary shockers.
I whinged about the heat, the cold, the flies, the food, the drink.
If I put up with more of this, I'll surely need a shrink.

Abandoned by my mum, my dad, my sisters, and my cat;
"Poor me!" I cried. "What have I done?" I had it all down pat.
Raised whingeing to an art form, I felt so all alone.
The wandering hero's wandered far, beyond his comfort zone.

Ten pounds it cost me on that day, for a land of milk and honey,
Scrimped and saved for months on end, to me, a lot of money.
I whinged, I moaned, I whined, I groaned, my repertoire undaunted.
In the 'Guinness Book of Records', my skills I should have flaunted.

But when I let my thoughts return to what I'd left behind-
the cold, the fog, the rain, the smog, the unrelenting grind,
misery personified - I didn't feel so sad.
I looked again at my new home; It really ain't so bad!

Can't beat them join them I surmised, I'll learn some Aussie habits.
So I set out to learn to live, on plonk and booze and rabbits.
I learned the language, "Ow Ya goin?" and "Bloody Oath!" and "Shove it!"
I felt at one with my new land, and slowly learned to love it.

One day I may return and stay, to that from whence I came.
Full forty years have now passed by, since I played the migrant game,
to be a 'Ten Pound Immigrant' and circumscribe the earth.
But I will stay until the day . . .
I get my money's worth !

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