Kenneth Slessor

Here you will find the Poem Thieves' Kitchen of poet Kenneth Slessor

Thieves' Kitchen

GOOD roaring pistol-boys, brave lads of gold, 
Good roistering easy maids, blown cock-a-hoop 
On floods of tavern-steam, I greet you! Drunk 
With wild Canary, drowned in wines of old, 
I'll swear your round, red faces dive and swim 
Like clouds of fire-fish in a waxen tide, 
And these are seas of smoke we thieves behold. 
Yet I've a mind I know what arms enchain 
With flesh my shoulders . . . aye, and what warm legs 
Wind quickly into mine . . . 'tis no pale mermaid, 
No water-wench that floats in a smoky main 
Betwixt the tankard and my knees . . . in faith, 
I know thee, Joan, and by the beard of God, 
I'll prove to-night thy mortal parts again! 
Leap, leap, fair vagabonds, your lives are short . . . 
Dance firelit in your cauldron-fumes, O thieves, 
Ram full your bellies with spiced food, gulp deep 
Those goblets of thick ale?yea, feast and sport, 
Ye Cyprian maids?lie with great, drunken rogues, 
Jump by the fire?soon, soon your flesh must crawl 
And Tyburn flap with birds, long-necked and swart!