Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (31)

Das Sonntagsgedicht aus »Canned Classics«:
Harry Graham: Sounding the Toxin

(Milk from excited or irritated cows is, according to the latest scientific opinion, more harmful than that which contains disease germs. The blood of an excited animal throws out poisonous toxins that are most insalubrious.)

O Milkman, be candid and tell me, I pray,
   If your wares are with toxins infected;
If Clara the cow, when you milked her to-day,
   Was unruffled, sedate and collected.
Did she wake in a temper and scornfully laugh
   At the short-horn who came from Strathpeffer?
Did she spurn the advances of Clarence the calf?
   Did she quarrel with Hannah the heifer?
If so, to her produce no time I'll devote,
But rely for my tea upon Gilbert the goat.

O my Butcher, please that if Susannah the sow,
   Whom you recently turned into bacon,
Wore a look of ineffable peace on her brow,
   If her nerves were unstrung or were shaken.
Oh, had Oswald the ox, when you severed his tail,
   Been a martyr to mental disquiet?
Was there anything known about Constance the quail
   Which would make her unfit for my diet?
Pray explain, ere his ham on my platter I pile,
Whether Patrick the pig met his death with a smile.

O, my Dairyman, tell me, I earnestly beg,
   Lest my prospects of breakfast be blighted,
Whether Hetty the hen, on evolving her egg,
   Was upset, overwrought or excited.
O my Grocer, bring news about Sam the sardine,
   When he swam as a child in the ocean,
Was his character tranquil, his outlook serene?
   Was he swayed by blind gusts of emotion?
For, if so, with a grief that is deep and acute,
I must really confine my attentions to fruit!

While the heart of Louisa the lettuce is dead,
   And can harbour no poisonous acid,
Clementina the cabbage, though losing her head,
   Is by nature proverbially placid,
And though Bill the banana (whose coat one must strip)
   Provides suitable food for the glutton,
And Orlando the orange, though prone to »the pip,«
   Is more wholesome than Mildred the mutton,
Without fear of bacilli my tastes I may glut
Upon Percy the pumpkin and Norah the nut!

Sonntag, 21. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (30)

Hundefreundliche Zeilen aus »The Motley Muse«:
Harry Graham: Egregious Eastbourne

[A recent by-law of the Eastbourne Town Council renders the owner of any dog who barks upon the beach liable to a fine of forty shillings.]

Never more shall I and Ponto
Traverse the Marine Parade,
Pass the Pier and wander onto
Eastbourne's Esplanade;
Never more, with lungs like leather,
And a heart as light as feather,
Shall we stray and play together
Where we strayed and played!
On the cruel Council's shingle
Man and beast no more may mingle!

With what never-ending rapture
Ponto would retrieve a stone,
Leap into the sea and capture
Sticks, wherever thrown;
Issue dripping from the ocean,
With his tail in constant motion,
And express his true devotion
In a strident tone,
Till the Judge, his license marking,
Fined him forty bob for barking!

Still, upon the sands, sopranos
Topmost notes in anguish reach,
Masked musicians thump pianos,
Negro minstrels screech;
German bandsmen blare and bellow,
But my Ponto, poor old fellow,
May not raise his loud but mellow
Bark upon the beach!
»Dumb,« indeed, is every beast born
In the neighbourhood of Eastbourne!

Sonntag, 14. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (29)

Sonntag ist Harry-Graham-Tag! Heute gibt es Tischtennisverse aus »Verse and Worse«:
Harry Graham: The Ballad of Ping-Pong
(After Swinburne)
The murmurous moments of May-time,
   What bountiful blessings they bring!
As dew to the dawn of the day-time,
   Suspicions of Summer to Spring!

Let others imagine the time light,
   With maidens or books on their knee,
Or live in the languorous limelight
   That tinges the trunk of the tree.

Let the timorous turn to their tennis,
   Or the bowls to which bumpkins belong,
But the thing for grown women and men is
   The pastime of ping and of pong.

The game of the glorious glamour!
   The feeling to fight till you fall!
The hurricane hail and the hammer!
   The batter and bruise of the ball!

The glory of getting behind it!
   The brief but bewildering bliss!
The fear of the failure to find it!
   The madness at making a miss!

The sound of the sphere as you smack it,
   Derisive, decisive, divine!
The riotous rush of your racket,
   To mix and to mingle with mine!

The diadem dear to the King is,
   How sweet to the singer his song;
To me so the plea of the ping is,
   And the passionate plaint of the pong.

I live for it, love for it, like it;
   Delight of my dearest of dreams!
To stand and to strive and to strike it,
   So certain, so simple it seems!

Then give me the game of the gay time,
   The ball on its wandering wing,
The pastime for night or for day-time,
   The Pong, not to mention the Ping!

Sonntag, 7. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (28)

Aus »Baby's Baedeker«:
Harry Graham: France

The natives here remark »Mon Dieu!« 
   »Que voulez-vous?« »Comment ça va?« 
»Sapristi! Par exemple! Un peu!«
   »Tiens donc! Mais qu'est-ce que c'est que ça?«
They shave one portion of their dogs,  
And live exclusively on frogs.
They get excited very quick,  
   And crowds will gather before long  
If you should stand and wave your stick  
   And shout, »À bas le Presidong!« 
Still more amusing would it be  
To say, »Conspuez la Patrie!«
The French are so polite, you know, 
   They take their hats off very well,  
And, should they tread upon your toe, 
   Remark, »Pardon, Mademoiselle!« 
And you would gladly bear the pain  
To see them make that bow again.
Their ladies too have got a way 
    Which even curates can't resist;  
'Twould make an Alderman feel gay  
   Or soothe a yellow journalist;  
And then the things they say are so  
Extremely—well, in fact,—you know!
The closest scrutiny can find  
No morals here of any kind.