Sunday, November 29, 2015


Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid...

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me
to my doom...'

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Forgive Me When I Whine, Red Foley

Today, upon a bus, 
I saw a girl with golden hair.
I envied her, she seemed so gay,
and wished I was as fair.

When suddenly she rose to leave, 
I saw her hobbled down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
And as she passed... a smile.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 legs, the world is mine

I stopped to buy some candy. 
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it'd do no harm.

And as I left, he said to me, 
"I thank you, you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you. 
You see," he said, "I'm blind."
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 eyes, the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play.
He did not know what to do.

I stopped a moment and then I said,
"Why don't you join the others, dear?"
He looked ahead without a word.
And then I knew,
he couldn't hear.

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I'd go.
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Beneath the Faded Word By Peter Thomas.

"It sat out in the shearing shed for 30 years or more,
With cobwebs, dust and binder twine, and sheep dung on the floor.
An old and rusted Lockwood kept its secrets from my eyes,
A cabin trunk of leather, there since 1945.
I asked my dad, who owned it and what we kept it for,
He replied, “It’s Uncle Basil’s, that he brought back from the war.
So don’t you bloody touch it, or I’ll tan your bloody hide!”
But that only made me more intrigued to see what was inside.
I wondered at its mysteries and the secrets that it hid,
Beneath the faded word “Tobruk” stencilled on the lid.
Near Wilcannia, where only hardy cattlemen will go,
Uncle Basil had a station, Baden Park, near Ivanhoe.
A strong and gentle man, who once rode the Birdsville Track
Just to prove he wasn’t hampered by the shrapnel in his back.
So I stood alone and weighed it up; which would I decide,
Should I leave the memories undisturbed, or take a look inside?
I knew I had to take a look to see what it’d hold.
Medals? Spoils from the war – silver, jewels or gold?
The old man went off fishin’ of a Sunday with Bob Gray,
So if I was gonna do it – that would have to be the day.
I started out determined – I was done by ten past two.
With half a broken hacksaw blade, I cut the padlock through,
But even as I opened it, the truth was plain and clear,
The old trunk held no gold or jewels, there was no treasure here .
A pile of letters tied with string, an old moth eaten flag,
A rusty metal helmet and mouldy webbing bag,
A cup made from a jam tin, an emu feathered hat,
And a newspaper clipping with the title “Desert Rat”,
Some photos of the pyramids – a rusty bayonet,
An IOU – Jack Carmody – two quid ( a two-up bet).
I folded out a faded map as the day began to wane,
Foreign places like Benghazi, Tobruk, El Alamein.
Then I came upon a satchel and a little leather book
And a photo of some young blokes – so I took a closer look.
It was 20 young recruits, their faces tanned and worn
From places like Cohuna, Moama and Bamawm.
Farmers, shearers, stockmen off to fight a noble war,
For the empire in a foreign land they’d never seen before.
And scrawled across the bottom, in writing rough and coarse,
Twenty names below the words, the Echuca Boys – Light Horse.
I turned the photo over, and there upon the back
Were words that sent a chill through me, and made my mouth go slack.
A solemn list of 20 – the fate of each the same.
Every one but Uncle Basil had a date beside their name,
Some said April ’43, some said June /July.
A record from our history, the date that each had died.
I turned back to the photo and looked in every face,
And written over each one was a month, a year, a place.
A grinning, sun-bronzed soldier’s face, each now with a name
Like November 1943 – the words El Alamein.
I wonder did they think, as they sailed across the foam,
That amongst them only one – Uncle Basil – would come home?
Recorded in that little book – I remember to this day –
A record of their actions and how each had passed away,
A mortar shell out on patrol; a sniper in the night;
A landmine took one’s legs off – he died before first light
. The death of each was brutal, the reality was stark.
Forty pages written there, I finished just on dark.
I slowly closed that record of the men who kept us free
And turned to see my father, standing silently.
He didn’t do his block as I expected that he would,
He just said, “Come on pack it up, I reckon that we should.”
So with loving care we packed away the treasures from the past,
When I came upon the photograph – it was put aside ‘till last –
And with new respect and love, I recorded there his fate.
Next to Uncle Basil I wrote April ’68.
Yeah, Dad and I we packed it up and put it back again
And wrapped it in a bit of tarp, to keep it from the rain.
We never spoke about it or discussed what I had read.
I reckon that was his way, to respect those men long dead.
There’s a statue of a digger in most every country town,
And a list of names of locals, who fought with great renown.
And now, when I go by, I remember what I read,
Sitting on the floor out there, in our old shearing shed.
And I think of Uncle Gordon, lost somewhere on Ambon,
Uncle Jack on the Kokoda and, in England, Uncle John.
I remember still that photo, with sadness and remorse,
That mob of grinning faces, the Echuca Boys – Light Horse.
In a cemetery near Ivanhoe lies a bloke who’s left his mark,
Basil Thomas, of Echuca, Tobruk and Baden park."

Found on

Brothers of the Phin


Chanced upon a sailor once with an emblem on his chest.
It appeared to be two angry sharks on a trash can for a rest.

His white hat was wrinkled and dirty;... his neckerchief tied too tight
 and he had only one eye open as he staggered through the night.

He was young and scrawny and wiry; with knuckles cracked and oozing.
I could tell from the way he looked and smelled he'd spent the night boozin'.

But as he pulled abreast, he squared his hat and said "Sir, do you have a light?
 I'm due back aboard by quarter to four Or the COB will be settin' me right."

As I fumbled around for my lighter he pulled some smokes from his sock
"and I'll be damned lucky to make it," he muttered 'Cause I'm steamin' against the clock."

Through the flame of my well-worn Zippo I could see a smile on his face.
"But, you know -- it was damn well worth it. That 'Bell's' is a helluva place."

He sucked the smoke deep down in his lungs and blew smoke rings up towards the moon Then he rolled up his cuffs, pushed his hat to the back and said "Maybe there'll be a cab soon."

In spite of the time he was losing He was wanting to shoot the breeze
So we sat on the curb, like two birds on a perch as he talked of his life on the seas.

I asked about the thing on his chest and he looked at me with a grin.
Then he squared his hat, snubbed out his smoke and said "I'm a Brother of the 'Phin."

"I'm one of the boys who go under the sea where the lights from above don't shine;
Where mermaids play and Neptune is king and life and death intertwine."

 "Life on a boat goes deep in your blood and nothing on earth can compare
to the feeling inside as she commences a dive going deep on a hope and a prayer."

"I've sailed some fearsome waters down below the raging main
and I've heard that old boat creak and groan like the wheels of a railroad train."

"It's the one place on earth where there ain't no slack where you don't have more than you need; where each man is prince of his own little space and each lives by the submarine creed."

"There ain't much I've done in this fickle life that would cause other men to take note,
But I've walked in the steps of some mighty fine men who helped keep this country afloat."

"They slipped silently through the layers down below that raging main while up above enemy men-o'-war laid claim to the same domain."

"Brave sailors were they
 in their sleek boats of steel s
ilently stalking their prey
 and closing in for the kill."

"They died as they lived unafraid, proud and free
 Putting all on the line to secure liberty."

"Their bones now rest in glory down in Neptune's hallowed ground
But their souls stand tall at the right hand of God Awaiting the klaxon's next sound."

"So, it's more than a 'thing' that I wear on my chest It's a badge of the brave, proud and true.
 It's a tribute to those who have gone here before riding boats that are still overdue"

"It's the "Dolphins" of a submariner worn proudly by the few
who've qualified at every watch and touched every bolt and screw."

"They know the boat on which they sail like they know their very soul
and through the fires of hell or the pearly gates they're ready for each patrol."

"But when in port they take great sport standing out from all the rest.
 For deep inside they burn with pride for the dolphins on their chest."

Then he stood erect, squared his hat and pulled his neckerchief down to the 'V'
He rolled down his cuffs, put his smokes in his sock and squinted back towards the sea.

"I can hear them diesels calling So I'd best be on my way.
We'll be punchin' holes in the ocean when the sun peeks over the bay."

As I watched him turn and walk away I felt honored to know such men.
for they bring life to Duty, Honor, Country these "Brothers of the 'Phin."

*** Larry Dunn July 2003

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vegetarian's Nightmare by Baxter Black

Ladies and diners I make you, A shameful, degrading confession.
A deed of disgrace in the name of good taste, Though I did it, I meant no aggression.

I had planted a garden last April, And lovingly sang it a ballad.
But later in June beneath a full moon, Forgive me, I wanted a salad!

So I slipped out and fondled a carrot, Caressing its feathery top.
 With the force of a brute I tore out the root! It whimpered and came with a pop!

Then laying my hand on a radish. I jerked and it left a small crater.
 Then with the blade of my True Value spade, I exhumed a slumbering tater!

Celery I plucked, I twisted a squash! Tomatoes were wincing in fear!
 I choked the Romaine, It screamed out in pain, Their anguish was filling my ears!

I finally came to the lettuce, As it cringed at the top of the row.
With one wicked slice I beheaded it twice, As it writhed, I dealt a death blow.

I butchered the onions and parsley. My hoe was all covered with gore.
I chopped and I whacked without looking back, Then I stealthily slipped in the door.

My bounty lay naked and dying, So I drowned them to snuff out their life.
I sliced and I peeled as they thrashed and they reeled, On the cutting board under my knife.

I violated tomatoes, So their innards could never survive.
I grated and ground ‘til they made not a sound, Then I boiled the tater alive!

Then I took the small broken pieces, I had tortured and killed with my hands.
 And tossed them together, heedless of whether, They suffered or made their demands.

I ate them. Forgive me, I’m sorry. But hear me, though I’m a beginner.
Those plants feel pain, though it’s hard to explain, To someone who eats them for dinner!

I intend to begin a crusade For PLANT’S RIGHTS, including chick peas.
The A.C.L.U. will be helping me too. In the meantime, please pass the blue cheese.

Friday, May 15, 2015

An ode to a can of carnation milk

Carnation milk is good for all
 It comes in cans both LARGE and small
 No t*ts to pull
 No hay to pitch
 Just stick a knife in the son of a b#*ch

Tamerlane's Kurgan of San Tash

A vast pile of stones, made when Tamerlane led his army into China, and had each soldier put a stone on the valley slope, and when war was over and the army returned home they picked up a stone from the pile they had made, and the tall mound of remaining stones, numbering tens of thousands, was a cenotaph erected by the fallen to their own memory

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Day Is Done

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And tonight I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The music of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music~
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.


Animal Crackers

Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers, I think;
When I'm grown up and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these.
What do you choose when you're offered a treat?
When Mother says, "What would you like best to eat?"
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
It's cocoa and animals that I love the most!
The kitchen's the coziest place that I know:
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
The cocoa and animals waiting for me.
Daddy and Mother dine later in state,
With Mary to cook for them, Susan to wait;
But they don't have nearly as much fun as I
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by;
And Daddy once said he would like to be me
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea!



Dare to be true;
 Nothing can need a lie;
The fault that needs one most
 Grows two thereby.


The Knight's Leap

So the foemen have fired the gate, men of mine,
And the water is spent and gone?
Then bring me a cup of the red Ahr-wine:
I never shall drink but this one:
And reach me my harness, and saddle my horse,
And lead him me round to the door:
He must take such a leap tonight perforce
As horse never took before.

I have fought my fight, I have lived my life,
I have drunk my share of wine;
From Trier to Coin there was never a knight
Led a merrier life than mine.
I have lived by the saddle for years two score;
And if I must die on tree,
Then the old saddle-tree, which has borne me of yore,
Is the properest timber for me.
So now to show Bishop, and burgher, and priest,
How the Altenahr hawk can die;
If they smoke the old falcon out of his nest,
He must take to his wings and fly!

He harnessed himself by the clear moonshine,
And he mounted his horse at the door;
And he drained such a cup of the red Ahr-wine
As man never drained before.
He spurred the old horse, and he held him tight,
And he leapt him out over the wall
Out over the cliff, out into the night,
Three hundred feet of fall.
They found him next morning below in the glen,
With never a bone in him whole.
A mass or a prayer, now, good gentlemen,
For such a bold rider's soul.


On a Quiet Conscience

Close thine eyes, and sleep secure;
Thy soul is safe, thy body sure.
He that guards thee, He that keeps,
Never slumbers, never sleeps.
A quiet conscience in thy breast
Has only peace, has only rest.
The wisest and the mirth of kings
Are out of tune unless she sings:
Then close thine eyes in peace and sleep secure,
No sleep so sweet as thine, no rest so sure.



I never have had a look at the sea,
I who would love it so.
I never have watched from the surf-drenched shore
The brave ships come and go.
I do not know how the silent tides
Unfailingly ebb and flow.

God who is wise to his children's needs,
Gives me the wide low plain,
He gives me the wondrous, whispering grass,
The kildeer's sweet refrain,
And my reed-fringed pools are myriad seas,
After the last long rain.

I never have been where the mountains stand
Majestic - aloof - apart
But nightly the infinite star-crowned heights
Speak to my waiting heart,
And mine are the winds that are mountain-born,
And of seas they are a part.


Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face and a gray dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


Theme in Yellow

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.


Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee

Ho, for the Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee!
He was as wicked as wicked could be,
But oh, he was perfectly gorgeous to see!
The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.
His conscience, of course, was as black as a bat,
But he had a floppety plume on his hat
And when he went walking it jiggled - like that!
The plume of the Pirate Dowdee.

His coat it was crimson and cut with a slash,
And often as ever he twirled his mustache
Deep down in the ocean the mermaids went splash,
Because of Don Durk of Dowdee.
Moreover, Dowdee had a purple tattoo,
And stuck, in his belt where he buckled it through
Were a dagger, a dirk, and a squizzamaroo,
For fierce was the Pirate Dowdee.
So fearful he was, he would shoot at a puff,
And always at sea when the weather grew rough
He drank from a bottle and wrote on his cuff,
Did Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.

Oh, he had a cutlass that swung at his thigh
And he had a parrot called Pepperkin Pye,
And a zigzaggy scar at the end of his eye
Had Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.
He kept in a cavern, this buccaneer bold,
A curious chest that was covered with mould,
And all of his pockets were jingly with gold!
Oh jing! went the gold of Dowdee.

His conscience, of course, it was crook'd like a squash,
But both of his boots made a slickery slosh,
And he went through the world with a wonderful swash,
Did Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.
It's true he was wicked as wicked could be,
His sins they outnumbered a hundred and three,
But oh, he was perfectly gorgeous to see!
The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Dukite Snake

Well, mate, you’ve asked about a fellow
You met today, in a black-and-yellow
Chain-gang suit, with a peddler’s pack,
Or with some such burden, strapped to his back.
Did you meet him square? No, passed you by?
Well, if you had, and had looked in his eye,
You’d have felt for your irons then and there;
For the light in his eye is a madman’s glare.
Ay, mad, poor fellow! I know him well,
And if you’re not sleepy just yet, I’ll tell
His story, a strange one as ever you heard
Or read; but I’ll vouch for it, every word.

You just wait a minute, mate: I must see
How that damper’s doing, and make some tea.
You smoke? That’s good; for there’s plenty of weed
In that wallaby skin. Does your horse feed
In the hobbles? Well, he’s got good feed here,
And my own old bush mare won’t interfere.
Done with that meat? Throw it there to the dogs,
And fling on a couple of banksia logs.

And now for the story.

 That man who goes
Through the bush with the pack and the convict’s clothes
Has been mad for years; but he does no harm,
And our lonely settlers feel no alarm
When they see or meet him. Poor Dave Sloane
Was a settler once, and a friend of my own.
Some eight years back, in the spring of the year,
Dave came from Scotland, and settled here.
A splendid young fellow he was just then,
And one of the bravest and truest men
That I ever met: he was kind as a woman
To all who needed a friend, and no man—
Not even a convict—met with his scorn,
For David Sloane was a gentleman born.
Ay, friend, a gentleman, though it sounds queer:
There’s plenty of blue blood flowing out here,
And some younger sons of your “upper ten”
Can be met with here, first-rate bushmen.
Why, friend, I—Bah! curse that dog! you see
This talking so much has affected me.

Well, Sloane came here with an axe and a gun;
He bought four miles of a sandal-wood run.
This bush at that time was a lonesome place,
So lonesome the sight of a white man’s face
Was a blessing, unless it came at night,
And peered in your hut, with the cunning fright
Of a runaway convict; and even they
Were welcome, for talk’s sake, while they could stay.

Dave lived with me here for a while, and learned
The tricks of the bush, how the snare was laid
In the wallaby track, how traps were made,
How ’possums and kangaroo rats were killed,
And when that was learned, I helped him to build
From mahogany slabs a good bush hut,
And showed him how sandal-wood logs were cut.
I lived up there with him days and days,
For I loved the lad for his honest ways.

I had only one fault to find: at first
Dave worked too hard; for a lad who was nursed,
As he was, in idleness, it was strange
How he cleared that sandal-wood off his range.
From the morning light till the light expired
He was always working, he never tired;
Till at length I began to think his will
Was too much settled on wealth, and still
When I looked at the lad’s brown face, and eye
Clear open, my heart gave such thought the lie.
But one day—for he read my mind—he laid
His hand on my shoulder: “Don’t be afraid,”
Said he, “that I’m seeking alone for pelf.
I work hard, friend; but ’tis not for myself.”

And he told me then, in his quiet tone,
Of a girl in Scotland, who was his own,
His wife,—’twas for her: ’twas all he could say,
And his clear eye brimmed as he turned away.
After that he told me the simple tale:
They had married for love, and she was to sail
For Australia when he wrote home and told
The oft-watched-for story of finding gold.

In a year he wrote, and his news was good:
He had bought some cattle and sold his wood.
He said, “Darling, I’ve only a hut, but come.”
Friend, a husband’s heart is a true wife’s home;
And he knew she’d come. Then he turned his hand
To make neat the house, and prepare the land
For his crops and vines; and he made that place
Put on such a smiling and homelike face,
That when she came, and he showed her round
His sandal-wood and his crops in the ground,
And spoke of the future, they cried for joy,
The husband’s arm clasping his wife and boy.

Well, friend, if a little of heaven’s best bliss
Ever comes from the upper world to this,
It came into that manly bushman’s life,
And circled him round with the arms of his wife.
God bless that bright memory! Even to me,
A rough, lonely man, did she seem to be,
While living, an angel of God’s pure love,
And now I could pray to her face above.
And David he loved her as only a man
With a heart as large as was his heart can.
I wondered how they could have lived apart,
For he was her idol, and she his heart.

Friend, there isn’t much more of the tale to tell:
I was talking of angels awhile since. Well,
Now I’ll change to a devil,—ay, to a devil!
You needn’t start: if a spirit of evil
Ever came to this world its hate to slake
One mankind, it came as a Dukite Snake.

Like? Like the pictures you’ve seen of Sin,
A long red snake, as if what was within
Was fire that gleamed through his glistening skin.
And his eyes!—if you could go down to hell
And come back to your fellows here and tell
What the fire was like, you could find no thing,
Here below on the earth, or up in the sky,
To compare it to but a Dukite’s eye!

Now, mark you, these Dukites don’t go alone:
There’s another near when you see but one;
And beware you of killing that one you see
Without finding the other; for you may be
More than twenty miles from the spot that night,
When camped, but you’re tracked by the lone Dukite,
That will follow your trail like Death or Fate,
And kill you as sure as you killed its mate!

Well, poor Dave Sloane had his young wife here
Three months,—’twas just this time of the year.
He had teamed some sandal-wood to the Vasse,
And was homeward bound, when he saw in the grass
A long red snake: he had never been told
Of the Dukite’s ways,—he jumped to the road,
And smashed its flat head with the bullock-goad!

He was proud of the red skin, so he tied
Its tail to the cart, and the snake’s blood dyed
The bush on the path he followed that night.
He was early home, and the dead Dukite
Was flung at the door to be skinned next day.
At sunrise next morning he started away
To hunt up his cattle. A three hours’ ride
Brought him back: he gazed on his home with pride
And joy in his heart; he jumped from his horse
And entered—to look on his young wife’s corse,
And his dead child clutching his mother’s clothes
As in fright; and there, as he gazed, arose
From her breast, where ’twas resting, the gleaming head
Of the terrible Dukite, as if it said,
“I’ve had vengeance, my foe: you took all I had.”

And so had the snake—David Sloane was mad!
I rode to his hut just by chance that night,
And there on the threshold the clear moonlight
Showed the two snakes dead. I pushed in the door
With an awful feeling of coming woe:
The dead was stretched on the moonlit floor,
The man held the hand of his wife,—his pride,
His poor life’s treasure,—and crouched by her side.
O God! I sank with the weight of the blow.

I touched and called him: he heeded me not,
So I dug her grave in a quiet spot,
And lifted them both,—her boy on her breast,—
And laid them down in the shade to rest.
Then I tried to take my poor friend away,
But he cried so woefully, “Let me stay
Till she comes again!” that I had no heart
To try to persuade him then to part
From all that was left to him here,—her grave;
So I stayed by his side that night, and, save
One heart-cutting cry, he uttered no sound,—
O God! that wail—like the wail of a hound!

’Tis six long years since I heard that cry,
But ’twill ring in my ears till the day I die.
Since that fearful night no one has heard
Poor David Sloane utter sound or word.
You have seen to-day how he always goes:
He’s been given that suit of convict’s clothes
By some prison officer. On his back
You noticed a load like a peddler’s pack?
Well, that’s what he lives for: when reason went,
Still memory lived, for the days are spent
In searching for Dukites; and year by year
That bundle of skins is growing. ’Tis clear
That the Lord out of evil some good still takes;
For he’s clearing this bush of the Dukite snakes.

When Brownie Died

He was only a dog-and not a pedigreed dog, at that. Reckoned in dollars and cents, the loss occasioned by his death was inconsiderable. But he was a friendly dog, on speaking and romping terms with every child in the neighborhood, and to the tender heart of childhood his death was something akin to a calamity. At noon one day he darted in front of my car and both wheels passed over his body.

His front legs were broken, but by using his hind legs and his nose, he half dragged, half jerked his shattered frame to the parking, where he stretched out to die. School had just dismissed, and in a very short time a solemn circle of children formed about him. I shall never forget the picture; the noon-day sun shining down upon a mangled dog; the circle of sorrowing children who had romped with him but a few hours before, and who loved him as only children can love a canine friend; one of the little lads with his hat removed-an unconscious recognition of the presence of death; quivering lips and moistened eyes all about; truly, a tragedy of childhood.
 He was only a dog-but he loved the children, and his last act was to raise his head, gaze at the circle of pitying eyes, wag his tail as a token of friendship-and then the light went out. He was only a dog-but the grief of that group of children was inexpressible, and, though it was no fault of mine, I felt strangely like a criminal who had robbed childhood of one of its dearest possessions. Through her tears, my dark.eyed girl asked me to write something about "Brownie." It was my car that killed him. It shall be my pen to sing his requiem.

 No dog was he of pedigree-but when his mangled frame lay stretched beneath the noonday sun, the little children came And formed a silent circle 'round the spot where "Brownie's" breath was coming in convulsive gasps-the agony of death. And when the end approached, he raised his head from off the ground And turned a loving eye upon his playmates gathered 'round, And bade them all a mute farewell, and bravely, feebly tried to wag his friendly tail-and it was thus that "Brownie" died.

 No dog was he of pedigree-but when he lifeless lay, the silent band of children there dispersed and walked away. With bitter tears and heaving sobs, and sad, dejected air, and the glory of the noonday sun seemed clouded everywhere. And when the word went swiftly forth that "Brownie" met his end.

From blocks around the kiddies came to see their faithful friend, and gazed awhile in silent awe, and mutely turned aside to hide the covert tears that flowed the day that "Brownie" died. No dog was he of pedigree-but figures of the mart can not compute or value the affections of the heart; And some will say there's one dog less to clutter up the street, and just a dollar lopped from off the next year's tax receipt; but the loss to happy childhood, in whose heart he was enshrined ... is something that can never be computed or defined, and the measure of their grief was such that furtively, a tear that welled up from my heart the day that "Brownie" died.

No dog was he of pedigree-and theologians say the soul of him will not survive to greet the Judgment Day; But little children loved him, and his mission here on earth was to make the children happy-and he thereby proved his worth. And despite my churchly teachings, something whispers , that if children go to heaven, faithful dogs will go there too, and abiding love assures me that a soul all true and tried went to romp with heaven's children on the day that "Brownie" died!

-Phil Carspecken

Lady Paying Her Fare

Ladies, have you ever noticed one of your own sex paying her fare on a street car?
 I saw one today and here's what happened.
Woman with satchel enters car, sits down; enter conductor, asks fare; woman opens satchel, takes out purse, shuts satchel, opens purse, takes out dime, shuts purse, opens satchel, puts in purse, shuts satchel, offers dime, receives nickel, opens satchel, takes out purse, shuts satchel, opens purse, puts in nickel, closes purse, opens satchel, puts in purse, closes satchel. "Stop the car, please."

Guilty Or Not Guilty

She stood at the bar of justice,
A creature wan and wild;
In form, too small for a woman,
In features, too old for a child,
For a look, so worn, and pathetic,
Was stamped on her pale young face,
It seemed long years of suffering,
Must have left that silent trace.

"Your name," said the Judge, as he eyed her,
With a kindly look, yet keen,
"Is Mary McGuire, if you please, sir."
"And your age?" "I'm turned fifteen."
"Well, Mary," and from a paper he slowly and gravely read.
"Y ou are charged here, I am sorry to say it,
With stealing three loaves of bread.
You don't look like an old offender,
And I hope that you can show
The charge is false-Now tell me
Are you guilty of this or no?"

A passionate burst of weeping was,
at first, her sole reply,
But she dried her tears in a moment
and looked in the judge's eye.
"I will tell you just how it was, sir,
My father and mother are dead,
and my little brothers and sisters were hungry,
and asked me for bread.

At first I earned it for them,
by working hard all day,
But somehow the times grew hard, sir,
and work all fell away.
I could get no more employment,
the weather was bitter cold,
The little ones cried and shivered,
Little Johnnie's but four years old.

So what was I to do, sir,
I am guilty, but do not condemn,
I took, (0 God was it stealing)
the bread to give to them.
one so learned in such matters,
so wise in dealing with men,
seemed on a simple sentence,
sorely puzzled just then.

And no one blamed him or wondered,
when he went to her and smiled
And kindly led from the court room himself,
the Guilty Child.
Everyone in the courtroom,
grey-bearded and thoughtless youth,
Knew as they looked upon her,
that the prisoner spoke the truth.

Out from their pockets came handkerchiefs,
out from their eyes came tears,
And out from old, faded wallets,
treasures hoarded for years.
The judge's face was a study,
the strangest ever you saw,
As he cleared his throat and murmured
something about the law.


If I Were Sending My Boy Afar

If I were sending my boy afar
To live and labor where strangers are,
I should hold him close till the time to go,
Telling him things which he ought to know;
I should whisper counsel and caution wise,
Hinting of dangers which might arise,
And tell him the things I have learned from life,
Of its bitter pain and its cruel strife
And the sore temptations which men beset,
And then add this: "Boy, don't forget
When your strength gives out and your hope grows dim,
Your father will help if you'll come to him."
If I were sending my boy away,
I should hold him close on the parting day
And give him my trust. Through thick and thin
I should tell him I counted on him to win,
To keep his word at whatever cost,
To play the man though his fight be lost.
But beyond all that I should whisper low;
"If trouble comes, let your father know;
Come to him, son, as you used to do
When you were little, he'll see you through.
I am trusting you in a distant land.
You trust your father to understand.
Trust me wherever you chance to be,
Know there is nothing to hide from me,
Tell me it all-your tale of woe,
The sting of failure that hurts you so.
Never, whatever your plight may be,
Think it something to hide from me;
Come to me first in your hour of need,
Come though you know that my heart will bleed;
Boy, when the shadows of trouble fall,
Come to your father first of all."

-Edgar A. Guest

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Two Church Spiders

Two spiders, so the story goes,
Upon a living bent,
Entered a church-building one day,
And hopefully were heard to say,
"Here we will have at least fair play,
With nothing to prevent."
Each chose his place and went to work
The light web grew apace;
One on the altar spun his thread,
But shortly came the sexton dread
And swept him off, and so, half dead,
He sought another place.
"I'll try the pulpit next," said he,
"There surely is a prize;
The desk appears so neat and clean,
I'm sure no spider there has been
Besides, how often have I seen
The pastor brushing flies."
He spun his threads, but alas!
His hopes proved visionary;
With dusting-brush the sexton came,
And spoiled his geometric game,
Nor gave him time or space to claim
The right of sanctuary.
At length, half starved, and weak and lean,
He sought his former neighbor,
Who now had grown so sleek and round,
He weighed a fraction of a pound,
And looked as if the art he'd found
Of living without labor.
"How is it, friend," he asked,
"That I endured such thumps and knocks
While you have grown so very gross?"
" 'Tis plain," he answered "not a loss
I've met, since first I spun across
The contribution box."


Boy Or Girl

Some folks pray for a boy, and some
For a golden-haired little girl to come.
Some claim to think there is more of joy
Wrapped up in the smile of a little boy,
While others pretend that the silky curls
And plump, pink cheeks of the little girls
Bring more of bliss to the old home place
Than a small boy's queer little freckled face.
Now which is better, I couldn't say
If the Lord should ask me to choose to-day;
If He should put in a call for me,
And say: "Now, what shall your order be,
A boy or girl: I have both in store,
Which of the two are you waiting for?"
I'd say with one of my broadest grrins:
"Send either one, if it can't be twins."
I've heard it said to some people's shame
They cried with grief when a small boy came,

For they wanted a girl.
And some folks I know
Who wanted a boy just took on so,
When a girl was sent.
But it seems to me
That mothers and fathers should happy be
To think when 'the stork has come and gone
That the Lord would trust them with either one.
Boy or girl? There can be no choice;
There's something lovely in either voice,
And all that I ask the Lord to do
Is to see that the Mother comes safely through,
And guard the baby and have it well,
With a perfect form, and a healthy yell,
And a pair of eyes, and a shock of hair
The boy or girl-and its dad won't care.

-Edgar A. Guest

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must-but don't you quit.

Life is queer with' its twists and turns
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a "failure" turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out';
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.