The Melbourne Cup

There is a fever in the air,

and the galloping winds

are upon us again,

as the roses come to bloom

and spread their lyrical scent

across the atmosphere

of Melbourne’s grand event,

as the stakes go up

and the odds flutter

in the breeze.


From across the ditch,

and then from well beyond,

the horses have come

neatly packaged

and scrupulously trained

for this profit-led race

that stops a nation,

or at least stops a city,

at the same time

and the same place

in the social calendar that

has turned around since

heady colonial days.


And we venerate this event

with a bet and a drink,

with dress-ups or a BBQ,

with glorious food

arrayed in grand marquees

or on family picnic tables;

and all the ladies with hats

and the gentlemen with cravats

turn out on parade

and make this day of

horse flesh pounding turf

the stuff of legend and myth,

of Phar Lap visions,

of futile dreams

of winning big,

or beating your mates,

or drinking the most champagne,

and other grand illusions

that surround in time

this circular event.


Then at the barrier,

all the horses tense,

preparing to enter the fray,

for this is the best sport on display;

and jockeys hold their mounts

ready for the jump,

and ready for the fame,

and all the last ditch desperate

bets are made on who will win

and who will get a place.


Then away….


After the revelry is done,

and the blooming roses

have wilted away,

and the winners and the losers

have gone their separate ways

on this grandiose public holiday,

we are left with the thought

that occurs to more than just one:

What was that actually for,

and who has really won?


But then there is next year….