Poem – A Fair Exchange

Would you be much impressed, my dear,
Now you’ve adopted shorts,
If males like me came dressed, my dear,
In skirts, to divers sports?
With gussets, flares and pleats and things
Like that, we’d give our fancy wings
To grace the links and courts.

You should not worry very much,
Since male attire you choose,
If, with a chic Parisian touch
And taste in cut and hues,
We garbed ourselves, from neck to knees,
In crepe de chine or ‘summer breeze’
Of pretty pinks and blues.

Would frills and flounces seem absurd
Upon the manly form?
I don’t see why, upon my word,
Such gads, should raise a storm
Of ridicule. And, if they do,
Scorn coming from one garbed like you
Is really rather warm.

Think the position out, my dear,
And be consistent, please.
And, while you dash about, my dear,
In pants shorn to the knees,
You’re drawing from the normal male
The same loud laugh with which you’d hail
A man in fripperies.

Poem – Autumn Interlude

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week,
To blooms, and to things like these, for Winter bleak
Was shouting loud from the hills, and flinging high
His gossamer net that fills frail Autumn’s sky.
So I said goodbye to the bees; for I knew that soon
I should bask no more ‘neath the trees on some high noon
And hark to the drowsy hum close overhead.
For the cold and rain must come, now Summer’s dead.

So I wallowed a while in woe and wooed unease;
And I rather liked it so; for it seemed to please
Some clamoring inner urge – some need apart,
And I felt self-pity surge, here, in my heart
As I said goodbye to the bees, my tireless friends
Who toil mid the flowers and the trees till daylight ends
Who toil in the sun, yet seem to find no irk,
While I loll in the shade and dream; for I do love work.

Ah, fate and the falling leaf! How dear is woe.
How subtly sweet is grief (Synthetic). So
I said goodbye to the bees; and then I wrote
This crown of threhodies, while in my throat
I choked back many a sob and salt tears spent.
But I felt I’d done my job, and was content.
For I’d penned my piece to the bees – the poet’s tosh
Of the Autumn’s drear unease. Ah, me! Oh, gosh!

I said goodbye to the bees last Friday week….
Then the tempest shook the trees, the swollen creek
Went thundering down to the plain, the wind shrieked past,
And the cold, and the wet, wet rain were here at last….
Then, a hot sun, scorning rules, shone forth, alack!
And those blundering, blithering fools, the bees came back,
Humming a song inance in the rain-washed trees. . . .
Now it’s all to do again. . . . Oh, blast the bees!

Poem – The Lips Of Ages

Down thro’ the ages these same sticks
Have played on man their knavish tricks.
Down thro’ the ages these false lips
Have been as blessings or as whips
To scourge poor man to actions rash
In waging wars or wasting cash.
Down thro’ the years, when Adam grieves,
Look to those painted lips of Eve’s.

Once, modesty suggested stealth
In simulating glowing health;
But now, alas, no shame restrains
Toilets performed in trams, in trains,
At table; for these candid days
Make nothing of the frank displays
Of carmine, lard and lanoline
To make plain Jane a beauteous queen.

Down thro’ the ages pig and sheep
Have tribute paid that men might weep
Or laugh or love or go quite mad
Because of lips in grease-paint clad.
Down thro’ the years, when heroes fall
Look not for mortal wound at all
Seek on his brow the thin red line
Of carmined lips – Eve’s fatal sign.

Poem – One Dull Man

 

Why did you play your spade in there? (said she).
I can’t think why you don’t take care (said she).
You fuss and fiddle with every card
As tho’ you found the game too hard
You hung on to your trumps until
They caught you napping. Really, Will,
You think and hesitate so long;
Then in the end you play it wrong.
Why, you can’t even call your hand.
You men! I cannot understand.
You are so stupid, dull and dense.
The game requires just common-sense.
But Bridge for you holds little gain:
Yet you’re supposed to have a brain (said she).

Tired? You? I hope I am no cat (said she)
But I must say I do like that (said she)
What about me? You go to town,
And gossip there with Smith and Brown.
And go to lunch and have a drink,
Yet in the evening you can’t think.
What about me? Your life’s the best.
Why should you crave for so much rest?
Ask any doctor. He will say
A business man should always play.
You should play more. You know you should.
A change of occupation’s good.
Yet, when I ask you to go out,
You say you’re tired and moon about.
What about me? Do I complain?
Why, it’s a wonder I keep sane
With all the dull monotony
That this existence holds for me.
You’ll tell me that I’m lazy soon.
Why, I played all the afternoon! (said she).

Did you, my dear? I didn’t know (said he).
Well, I suppose I must be slow (said he).
Yes, slow and dull. Again you’re right –
You always are . . .Heigh, ho! . . . Good night (said he).

Poem – The Alcoholic Albatross

Brothers, what are we to think
When we muse upon strong drink?
Is it bad or is it good?
Is it poison or is it food?

Albatrosses, so say some,
Find great benefit in rum,
And, in gratitude for nips,
Bring fair winds to troubled ships.

Others say the cocktail shaker
Is a noted trouble maker;
And declare that men stir up
Woe in every claret-cup.

But, so far as I’m concerned,
I may say I’ve never learned
Whether alcohol, in place,
Benefits the human race.

Take your choice. If you should think
Drink is good, why, have a drink;
But, if you are at a loss,
Give it to some albatross.

Poem – The Lost Drink

I had spent the night in the watch-house —
My head was the size of three —
So I went and asked the chemist
To fix up a drink for me;
And he brewed it from various bottles
With soda and plenty of ice,
With something that smelt like lemon,
And something that seemed like spice.
It fell on my parching palate
Like the dew on a sunbaked plain,
And my system began to flourish
Like the grass in the soft spring rain;
It wandered throughout my being,
Suffusing my soul with rest,
And I felt as I “scoffed” that liquid
That life had a new-found zest.

I have been on the razzle-dazzle
Full many a time since then
But I never could get the chemist
To brew me that drink again.
He says he’s forgotten the notion —
‘Twas only by chance it came —
He’s tried me with various liquids
But oh! they are not the same.

We have sought, but we sought it vainly,
That one lost drink divine;
We have sampled his various bottles,
But somehow they don’t combine:
Yet I know when I cross the River
And stand on the Golden Shore
I shall meet with an angel chemist
To brew me that drink once more.

Poem – Our Mat

It came from the prison this morning,
Close-twisted, neat-lettered, and flat;
It lies the hall doorway adorning,
A very good style of a mat.

Prison-made! how the spirit is moven
As we think of its story of dread —
What wiles of the wicked are woven
And spun in its intricate thread!

The letters are new, neat and nobby,
Suggesting a masterly hand —
Was it Sikes, who half-murdered the bobby,
That put the neat D on the “and”?

Some banker found guilty of laches —
It’s always called laches, you know —
Had Holt any hand in those Hs?
Did Bertrand illumine that O?

That T has a look of the gallows,
That A’s a triangle, I guess;
Was it one of the Mount Rennie fellows
Who twisted the strands of the S?

Was it made by some “highly connected”,
Who is doing his spell “on his head”,
Or some wretched woman detected
In stealing her children some bread?

Does it speak of a bitter repentance
For the crime that so easily came?
Of the wearisome length of the sentence,
Of the sin, and the sorrow, and shame?

A mat! I should call it a sermon
On sin, to all sinners addressed;
It would take a keen judge to determine
Whether writer or reader is best.

Though the doorway be hard as a pavestone,
I rather would use it than that —
I’d as soon wipe my boots on a gravestone,
As I would on that Darlinghurst mat!