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Western Walkabout: Phil The Baptist

There’s no ticks or flies on those members of Pastor Phil’s flock in Perth, as Richard Harris’s poem reveals.

The cleanest folk in Como
Pray with Pastor Phil
He dunks them in his bath tub
And makes them cleaner still.

Declare yourself for Jesus
And you will qualify
For a Sunday dip
In a friendly grip
Under the South Perth sky.

With water as scarce as it is today
A free bath with Phil is appealing
Close your eyes and pinch your nose
When your last view is the ceiling

The people pray and sing and shout
While you stand there
Cleansed inside and out
When all is done they adjourn for tea
Biscuits and fruits are what you see

They don’t drink the water
Just dunk you in it
And bring you out
Dripping and beaming for Jesus

While Phil is now a man of God
He grew up in the Kimberley
Where caring men must drench stock
To make them all tick-free
The dogs and cats, the kids as well
Get dunked quite regularly

It’s no great change to work with folk
They’re still Phil’s flock, you see.
No ticks or flies on them in Perth
And all their sins float free.


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