Kenneth Slessor

Here you will find the Poem Gulliver of poet Kenneth Slessor


I'LL kick your walls to bits, I'll die scratching a tunnel, 
If you'll give me a wall, if you'll give me a simple stone, 
If you'll do me the honour of a dungeon? 
Anything but this tyranny of sinews. 
Lashed with a hundred ropes of nerve and bone 
I lie, poor helpless Gulliver, 
In a twopenny dock for the want of a penny, 
Tied up with stuff too cheap, and strings too many. 
One chain is usually sufficient for a cur. 
Hair over hair, I pick my cables loose, 
But still the ridiculous manacles confine me. 
I snap them, swollen with sobbing. What's the use? 
One hair I break, ten thousand hairs entwine me. 
Love, hunger, drunkenness, neuralgia, debt, 
Cold weather, hot weather, sleep and age? 
If I could only unloose their spongy fingers, 
I'd have a chance yet, slip through the cage. 
But who ever heard of a cage of hairs? 
You can't scrape tunnels in a net. 
If you'd give me a chain, if you'd give me honest iron, 
If you'd graciously give me a turnkey, 
I could break my teeth on a chain, I could bite through metal, 
But what can you do with hairs? 
For God's sake, call the hangman.