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Lyr Req: The Good Workman (Walt Mason)

GUEST,Jim Taylor 28 May 01 - 12:35 PM
Liz the Squeak 28 May 01 - 11:37 PM
Sorcha 28 May 01 - 11:39 PM
GUEST,Jim Taylor 03 Jun 01 - 01:38 AM
Jim Dixon 18 Aug 16 - 10:16 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Aug 16 - 10:43 PM
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Subject: Teaching bees to bumnble words
From: GUEST,Jim Taylor
Date: 28 May 01 - 12:35 PM

When I was a youngster (in the 20's) my dad used to recite a little poem, part of whch went like this: I know a man whose task is humble. He merely teaches bees to bumble and setting hens to swim. So well he does his task appointed, folks keep passing double jointed complaints on him. If anyone knows the rest of ther words, they'd be appreciated.

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Subject: RE: Teaching bees to bumnble words
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:37 PM

I might have this somewhere (eclectic selection of poetry stored in toilet) so will have a look when I can and see what I can do.

That's do about the poem, not the toilet.


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Subject: RE: Teaching bees to bumnble words
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 May 01 - 11:39 PM

I looked for this the last time, and couldn't find it on the web. Search seems to be down, so I can't link to the other thread.

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Subject: RE: Teaching bees to bumnble words
From: GUEST,Jim Taylor
Date: 03 Jun 01 - 01:38 AM

Dear LTS: If you can find it anywhere in your eclectic collection, please do. I'll wait while you look. Thanks Jim

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GOOD WORKMAN (Walt Mason)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 10:16 PM

I pieced this together from various sources, mainly old newspapers and trade journals. It was published around 1920. I inserted line breaks; it was printed without them, as if it were prose.


If I shod geese or peeled pertaters,
Or herded snakes and alligators.
I'd have one settled plan—
I'd say—tho' lowly be my labor,
I'd do it better than my neighbor,
Or any other man.

I'll shoe my geese and peel my 'taters
And herd my dog-gone snakes and 'gators
So well that passers-by
Will watch my curves, exclaiming: "Keno!
He surely is a peacherino!
He's here to do or die!"

I know a man whose work is humble;
He merely teaches bees to bumble,
And setting hens to swim;
So well he does his task appointed
That folks keep passing double-jointed
Big compliments on him.

He works till tired and then works harder
And always has a growing larder,
And coal when blizzards roar;
Then to his fire he sits up closer;
He's paid the coal man and the grocer—
No wolf is at his door.

I know some fellows largely gifted
By dreams of easy grafts uplifted,
Who never shed their coats;
They want a job fit for a seraph,
And some fine day the whiskered sheriff
Will come and get their goats.

They loaf around, for soft snaps yearning,
While the other men are busy earning
The good old scads that knock.
In their vain way they vaguely hanker
To supersede the village banker
Or wind an eight-day clock.

A hundred jobs a day go by 'em,
And they are jarred when they descry 'em—
At toil they've always scoffed;
They have a rooted detestation
For all the brands of perspiration—
They sigh for something soft.

And so at last when they grow older,
And heads are gray and feet are colder,
The poorhouse bears their wail,
Or else they croak in some dark alley
Or toddle down the somber valley
While locked up in a jail.

The man who does his best, whatever
May be the field of his endeavor,
Will find life full and sweet;
And when he leaves this haunt of mortals
With face toward the shining portals,
He'll get there with both feet.

—Walt Mason.

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GOOD WORKMAN (Walt Mason, 1911)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 10:43 PM

This poet must have been obsessed with the work ethic, because he actually wrote TWO poems with the same title and theme. This one was published around 1911. Again, I inserted line breaks:

Walt Mason

I hired a toiler whose name was John
To come with his weapons and mow my lawn,
For long green whiskers were growing there;
It badly needed some tender care.
And John arrived at the break of day,
And whittled grass in a cheerful way;
The job was fierce, for the weeds had grown,
And the dog had scattered some chunks of bone,
But John, he labored to beat the band,
And shaved that lawn with a master hand.

He named his price when the work was o'er,
And I gladly coughed up a quarter more.
And, whenever I find that my lawn is due
For a good, clean shave or a dry shampoo,
I'll hunt up John, if he's still on earth,
And pay him more than the job is worth.
I will hunt up John if I have to trot
From the court house clear to the dumping spot,
For he does his work as a workman should,
And does not quit until he finds it good.

The streets are haunted by shiftless men,
Who seek employment and seek again;
They say that jobs are as hard to find
As pearls of price in a melon rind;
Their hopes are hazy, their chances gone—
For most employers are hunting John!

* * *
[A line in The Chautauquan said: "Walt Mason's 'Lineless Rhymes from Kansas,' which are as wholesome in tone as they are certain to bring a smile, appear in two hundred daily newspapers with a combined circulation of ten million readers."]

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