Best Famous Busted Poems

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12
Written by Shel Silverstein | Create an image from this poem

A Boy Named Sue

 Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.
Now I don't blame him because he run and hid, but the meanest thing that he ever did was before he left he went and named me Sue.
Well, he must have thought it was quite a joke, and it got lots of laughs from a lot of folks, it seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red and some guy would laugh and I'd bust his head, I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue.
Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean.
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
Roamed from town to town to hide my shame, but I made me a vow to the moon and the stars, I'd search the honky tonks and bars and kill that man that gave me that awful name.
But it was Gatlinburg in mid July and I had just hit town and my throat was dry.
I'd thought i'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon in a street of mud and at a table dealing stud sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me Sue.
Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad from a worn-out picture that my mother had and I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old and I looked at him and my blood ran cold, and I said, "My name is Sue.
How do you do? Now you're gonna die.
" Yeah, that's what I told him.
Well, I hit him right between the eyes and he went down but to my surprise he came up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth.
And we crashed through the wall and into the street kicking and a-gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.
I tell you I've fought tougher men but I really can't remember when.
He kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laughin' and then I heard him cussin', he went for his gun and I pulled mine first.
He stood there looking at me and I saw him smile.
And he said, "Son, this world is rough and if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said 'Goodbye'.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die.
And it's that name that helped to make you strong.
" Yeah, he said, "Now you have just fought one helluva fight, and I know you hate me and you've got the right to kill me now and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But you ought to thank me before I die for the gravel in your guts and the spit in your eye because I'm the nut that named you Sue.
" Yeah, what could I do? What could I do? I got all choked up and I threw down my gun, called him pa and he called me a son, and I came away with a different point of view and I think about him now and then.
Every time I tried, every time I win and if I ever have a son I think I am gonna name him Bill or George - anything but Sue.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Sunflower Sutra

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look for the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The only water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust-- --I rushed up enchanted--it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake--my visions--Harlem and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the past-- and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset, crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye-- corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face, soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb, leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear, Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then! The grime was no man's grime but death and human locomotives, all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance of artificial worse-than-dirt--industrial-- modern--all that civilization spotting your crazy golden crown-- and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what more could I name, the smoked ashes of some cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs & sphincters of dynamos--all these entangled in your mummied roots--and you standing before me in the sunset, all your glory in your form! A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze! How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your grime, while you cursed the heavens of your railroad and your flower soul? Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive? You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower! And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not! So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter, and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack's soul too, and anyone who'll listen, --We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we're all golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

In The Baggage Room At Greyhound

 I

In the depths of the Greyhound Terminal 
sitting dumbly on a baggage truck looking at the sky 
 waiting for the Los Angeles Express to depart 
worrying about eternity over the Post Office roof in 
 the night-time red downtown heaven 
staring through my eyeglasses I realized shuddering 
 these thoughts were not eternity, nor the poverty 
 of our lives, irritable baggage clerks, 
nor the millions of weeping relatives surrounding the 
 buses waving goodbye, 
nor other millions of the poor rushing around from 
 city to city to see their loved ones, 
nor an indian dead with fright talking to a huge cop 
 by the Coke machine, 
nor this trembling old lady with a cane taking the last 
 trip of her life, 
nor the red-capped cynical porter collecting his quar- 
 ters and smiling over the smashed baggage, 
nor me looking around at the horrible dream, 
nor mustached negro Operating Clerk named Spade, 
 dealing out with his marvelous long hand the 
 fate of thousands of express packages, 
nor fairy Sam in the basement limping from leaden 
 trunk to trunk, 
nor Joe at the counter with his nervous breakdown 
 smiling cowardly at the customers, 
nor the grayish-green whale's stomach interior loft 
 where we keep the baggage in hideous racks, 
hundreds of suitcases full of tragedy rocking back and 
 forth waiting to be opened, 
nor the baggage that's lost, nor damaged handles, 
 nameplates vanished, busted wires & broken 
 ropes, whole trunks exploding on the concrete 
 floor, 
nor seabags emptied into the night in the final 
 warehouse.
II Yet Spade reminded me of Angel, unloading a bus, dressed in blue overalls black face official Angel's work- man cap, pushing with his belly a huge tin horse piled high with black baggage, looking up as he passed the yellow light bulb of the loft and holding high on his arm an iron shepherd's crook.
III It was the racks, I realized, sitting myself on top of them now as is my wont at lunchtime to rest my tired foot, it was the racks, great wooden shelves and stanchions posts and beams assembled floor to roof jumbled with baggage, --the Japanese white metal postwar trunk gaudily flowered & headed for Fort Bragg, one Mexican green paper package in purple rope adorned with names for Nogales, hundreds of radiators all at once for Eureka, crates of Hawaiian underwear, rolls of posters scattered over the Peninsula, nuts to Sacramento, one human eye for Napa, an aluminum box of human blood for Stockton and a little red package of teeth for Calistoga- it was the racks and these on the racks I saw naked in electric light the night before I quit, the racks were created to hang our possessions, to keep us together, a temporary shift in space, God's only way of building the rickety structure of Time, to hold the bags to send on the roads, to carry our luggage from place to place looking for a bus to ride us back home to Eternity where the heart was left and farewell tears began.
IV A swarm of baggage sitting by the counter as the trans- continental bus pulls in.
The clock registering 12:15 A.
M.
, May 9, 1956, the second hand moving forward, red.
Getting ready to load my last bus.
-Farewell, Walnut Creek Richmond Vallejo Portland Pacific Highway Fleet-footed Quicksilver, God of transience.
One last package sits lone at midnight sticking up out of the Coast rack high as the dusty fluorescent light.
The wage they pay us is too low to live on.
Tragedy reduced to numbers.
This for the poor shepherds.
I am a communist.
Farewell ye Greyhound where I suffered so much, hurt my knee and scraped my hand and built my pectoral muscles big as a vagina.
May 9, 1956
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

CIA Dope Calypso

 In nineteen hundred forty-nine
China was won by Mao Tse-tung
Chiang Kai-shek's army ran away
They were waiting there in Thailand yesterday

Supported by the CIA
Pushing junk down Thailand way

First they stole from the Meo Tribes
Up in the hills they started taking bribes
Then they sent their soldiers up to Shan
Collecting opium to send to The Man

Pushing junk in Bangkok yesterday
Supported by the CIA

Brought their jam on mule trains down
To Chiang Rai that's a railroad town
Sold it next to the police chief brain
He took it to town on the choochoo train

Trafficking dope to Bangkok all day
Supported by the CIA

The policeman's name was Mr.
Phao He peddled dope grand scale and how Chief of border customs paid By Central Intelligence's U.
S.
A.
I.
D.
The whole operation, Newspapers say Supported by the CIA He got so sloppy & peddled so loose He busted himself & cooked his own goose Took the reward for an opium load Seizing his own haul which same he resold Big time pusher for a decade turned grey Working for the CIA Touby Lyfong he worked for the French A big fat man liked to dine & wench Prince of the Meos he grew black mud Till opium flowed through the land like a flood Communists came and chased the French away So Touby took a job with the CIA The whole operation fell in to chaos Till U.
S.
Intelligence came into Laos I'll tell you no lie I'm a true American Our big pusher there was Phoumi Nosovan All them Princes in a power play But Phoumi was the man for the CIA And his best friend General Vang Pao Ran the Meo army like a sacred cow Helicopter smugglers filled Long Cheng's bars In Xieng Quang province on the Plain of Jars It started in secret they were fighting yesterday Clandestine secret army of the CIA All through the Sixties the Dope flew free Thru Tan Son Nhut Saigon to Marshal Ky Air America followed through Transporting confiture for President Thieu All these Dealers were decades and yesterday The Indochinese mob of the U.
S.
CIA Operation Haylift Offisir Wm.
Colby Saw Marshal Ky fly opium Mr.
Mustard told me Indochina desk he was Chief of Dirty Tricks "Hitchhiking" with dope pushers was how he got his fix Subsidizing traffickers to drive the Reds away Till Colby was the head of the CIA January 1972
Written by Andrew Barton Paterson | Create an image from this poem

The Man from Goondiwindi Q

 I 

This is the sunburnt bushman who 
Came down from Goondiwindi, Q.
II This is the Push from Waterloo That spotted the sunburnt bushman who Came down from Goondiwindi, Q.
III These are the wealthy uncles -- two, Part of the Push from Waterloo That spotted the sunburnt bushman who Came down from Goondiwindi, Q.
IV This is the game, by no means new, Played by the wealthy uncles -- two, Part of the Push from Waterloo That spotted the sunburnt bushman who Came down from Goondiwindi, Q.
V This is the trooper dressed in blue, Who busted the game by no means new, Played by the wealthy uncles -- two, Part of the Push from Waterloo That spotted the sunburnt bushman who Came down from Goondiwindi, Q.
VI This is the magistrate who knew Not only the trooper dressed in blue, But also the game by no means new, And likewise the wealthy uncles -- two, And ditto the Push from Waterloo That spotted the sunburnt bushman who Came down from Goondiwindi, Q.
VII This is the tale that has oft gone through On western plains where the skies are blue, Till the native bear and the kangaroo Have heard of the magistrate who knew Not only the trooper dressed in blue, But also the game by no means new, And likewise the wealthy uncles -- two, And ditto the Push from Waterloo That spotted the sunburnt bushman who Came down from Goondiwindi, Q.
The Evening News, 17 Dec 1904 (This verse was published, copiously illustrated by Lionel Lindsay.
Each stanza had its own illustration.
) The pronounciation of many Australian place-names can be quite unexpected.
Goondiwindi is a case in point.
The town is situated on the border of Queensland and New south Wales, on the banks of the Macintyre River, and its name is pronounced "gun-da-windy", with the main stress on the third syllable, a secondary stress on the first.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Ballad Of How Macpherson Held The Floor

 Said President MacConnachie to Treasurer MacCall:
"We ought to have a piper for our next Saint Andrew's Ball.
Yon squakin' saxophone gives me the syncopated gripes.
I'm sick of jazz, I want to hear the skirling of the pipes.
" "Alas! it's true," said Tam MacCall.
"The young folk of to-day Are fox-trot mad and dinna ken a reel from Strathspey.
Now, what we want's a kiltie lad, primed up wi' mountain dew, To strut the floor at supper time, and play a lilt or two.
In all the North there's only one; of him I've heard them speak: His name is Jock MacPherson, and he lives on Boulder Creek; An old-time hard-rock miner, and a wild and wastrel loon, Who spends his nights in glory, playing pibrochs to the moon.
I'll seek him out; beyond a doubt on next Saint Andrew's night We'll proudly hear the pipes to cheer and charm our appetite.
Oh lads were neat and lassies sweet who graced Saint Andrew's Ball; But there was none so full of fun as Treasurer MacCall.
And as Maloney's rag-time bank struck up the newest hit, He smiled a smile behind his hand, and chuckled: "Wait a bit.
" And so with many a Celtic snort, with malice in his eye, He watched the merry crowd cavort, till supper time drew nigh.
Then gleefully he seemed to steal, and sought the Nugget Bar, Wherein there sat a tartaned chiel, as lonely as a star; A huge and hairy Highlandman as hearty as a breeze, A glass of whisky in his hand, his bag-pipes on his knees.
"Drink down your doch and doris, Jock," cried Treasurer MacCall; "The time is ripe to up and pipe; they wait you in the hall.
Gird up your loins and grit your teeth, and here's a pint of hooch To mind you of your native heath - jist pit it in your pooch.
Play on and on for all you're worth; you'll shame us if you stop.
Remember you're of Scottish birth - keep piping till you drop.
Aye, though a bunch of Willie boys should bluster and implore, For the glory of the Highlands, lad, you've got to hold the floor.
" The dancers were at supper, and the tables groaned with cheer, When President MacConnachie exclaimed: "What do I hear? Methinks it's like a chanter, and its coming from the hall.
" "It's Jock MacPherson tuning up," cried Treasurer MacCall.
So up they jumped with shouts of glee, and gaily hurried forth.
Said they: "We never thought to see a piper in the North.
" Aye, all the lads and lassies braw went buzzing out like bees, And Jock MacPherson there they saw, with red and rugged knees.
Full six foot four he strode the floor, a grizzled son of Skye, With glory in his whiskers and with whisky in his eye.
With skelping stride and Scottish pride he towered above them all: "And is he no' a bonny sight?" said Treasurer MacCall.
While President MacConnachie was fairly daft with glee, And there was jubilation in the Scottish Commy-tee.
But the dancers seemed uncertain, and they signified their doubt, By dashing back to eat as fast as they had darted out.
And someone raised the question 'twixt the coffee and the cakes: "Does the Piper walk to get away from all the noise he makes?" Then reinforced with fancy food they slowly trickled forth, And watching in patronizing mood the Piper of the North.
Proud, proud was Jock MacPherson, as he made his bag-pipes skirl, And he set his sporran swinging, and he gave his kilts a whirl.
And President MacConnachie was jumping like a flea, And there was joy and rapture in the Scottish Commy-tee.
"Jist let them have their saxophones wi' constipated squall; We're having Heaven's music now," said Treasurer MacCall.
But the dancers waxed impatient, and they rather seemed to fret For Maloney and the jazz of his Hibernian Quartette.
Yet little recked the Piper, as he swung with head on high, Lamenting with MacCrimmon on the heather hills of Skye.
With Highland passion in his heart he held the centre floor; Aye, Jock MacPherson played as he had never played before.
Maloney's Irish melodists were sitting in their place, And as Maloney waited, there was wonder in his face.
'Twas sure the gorgeous music - Golly! wouldn't it be grand If he could get MacPherson as a member of his band? But the dancers moped and mumbled, as around the room they sat: "We paid to dance," they grumbled; "But we cannot dance to that.
Of course we're not denying that it's really splendid stuff; But it's mighty satisfying - don't you think we've had enough?" "You've raised a pretty problem," answered Treasurer MacCall; "For on Saint Andrew's Night, ye ken, the Piper rules the Ball.
" Said President MacConnachie: "You've said a solemn thing.
Tradition holds him sacred, and he's got to have his fling.
But soon, no doubt, he'll weary out.
Have patience; bide a wee.
" "That's right.
Respect the Piper," said the Scottish Commy-tee.
And so MacPherson stalked the floor, and fast the moments flew, Till half an hour went past, as irritation grew and grew.
Then the dancers held a council, and with faces fiercely set, They hailed Maloney, heading his Hibernian Quartette: "It's long enough, we've waited.
Come on, Mike, play up the Blues.
" And Maloney hesitated, but he didn't dare refuse.
So banjo and piano, and guitar and saxophone Contended with the shrilling of the chanter and the drone; And the women's ears were muffled, so infernal was the din, But MacPherson was unruffled, for he knew that he would win.
Then two bright boys jazzed round him, and they sought to play the clown, But MacPherson jolted sideways, and the Sassenachs went down.
And as if it was a signal, with a wild and angry roar, The gates of wrath were riven - yet MacPherson held the floor.
Aye, amid the rising tumult, still he strode with head on high, With ribbands gaily streaming, yet with battle in his eye.
Amid the storm that gathered, still he stalked with Highland pride, While President and Treasurer sprang bravely to his side.
And with ire and indignation that was glorious to see, Around him in a body ringed the Scottish Commy-tee.
Their teeth were clenched with fury; their eyes with anger blazed: "Ye manna touch the Piper," was the slogan that they raised.
Then blows were struck, and men went down; yet 'mid the rising fray MacPherson towered in triumph - and he never ceased to play.
Alas! his faithful followers were but a gallant few, And faced defeat, although they fought with all the skill they knew.
For President MacConnachie was seen to slip and fall, And o'er his prostrate body stumbled Treasurer MacCall.
And as their foes with triumph roared, and leagured them about, It looked as if their little band would soon be counted out.
For eyes were black and noses red, yet on that field of gore, As resolute as Highland rock - MacPherson held the floor.
Maloney watched the battle, and his brows were bleakly set, While with him paused and panted his Hibernian Quartette.
For sure it is an evil spite, and breaking to the heart, For Irishman to watch a fight and not be taking part.
Then suddenly on high he soared, and tightened up his belt: "And shall we see them crush," he roared, "a brother and a Celt? A fellow artiste needs our aid.
Come on, boys, take a hand.
" Then down into the mêlée dashed Maloney and his band.
Now though it was Saint Andrew's Ball, yet men of every race, That bow before the Great God Jazz were gathered in that place.
Yea, there were those who grunt: "Ya! Ya!" and those who squeak: "We! We!" Likewise Dutch, Dago, Swede and Finn, Polack and Portugee.
Yet like ripe grain before the gale that national hotch-potch Went down before the fury of the Irish and the Scotch.
Aye, though they closed their gaping ranks and rallied to the fray, To the Shamrock and the Thistle went the glory of the day.
You should have seen the carnage in the drooling light of dawn, Yet 'mid the scene of slaughter Jock MacPherson playing on.
Though all lay low about him, yet he held his head on high, And piped as if he stood upon the caller crags of Skye.
His face was grim as granite, and no favour did he ask, Though weary were his mighty lungs and empty was his flask.
And when a fallen foe wailed out: "Say! when will you have done?" MacPherson grinned and answered: "Hoots! She's only ha'f begun.
" Aye, though his hands were bloody, and his knees were gay with gore, A Grampian of Highland pride - MacPherson held the floor.
And still in Yukon valleys where the silent peaks look down, They tell of how the Piper was invited up to town, And he went in kilted glory, and he piped before them all, But wouldn't stop his piping till he busted up the Ball.
Of that Homeric scrap they speak, and how the fight went on, With sally and with rally till the breaking of the dawn.
And how the Piper towered like a rock amid the fray, And the battle surged about him, but he never ceased to play.
Aye, by the lonely camp-fires, still they tell the story o'er- How the Sassenach was vanquished and - MacPherson held the floor.
Written by Ambrose Bierce | Create an image from this poem

Safety-Clutch

 Once I seen a human ruin
In a elevator-well.
And his members was bestrewin' All the place where he had fell.
And I says, apostrophisin' That uncommon woful wreck: "Your position's so surprisin' That I tremble for your neck!" Then that ruin, smilin' sadly And impressive, up and spoke: "Well, I wouldn't tremble badly, For it's been a fortnight broke.
" Then, for further comprehension Of his attitude, he begs I will focus my attention On his various arms and legs-- How they all are contumacious; Where they each, respective, lie; How one trotter proves ungracious, T' other one an alibi.
These particulars is mentioned For to show his dismal state, Which I wasn't first intentioned To specifical relate.
None is worser to be dreaded That I ever have heard tell Than the gent's who there was spreaded In that elevator-well.
Now this tale is allegoric-- It is figurative all, For the well is metaphoric And the feller didn't fall.
I opine it isn't moral For a writer-man to cheat, And despise to wear a laurel As was gotten by deceit.
For 'tis Politics intended By the elevator, mind, It will boost a person splendid If his talent is the kind.
Col.
Bryan had the talent (For the busted man is him) And it shot him up right gallant Till his head began to swim.
Then the rope it broke above him And he painful came to earth Where there's nobody to love him For his detrimented worth.
Though he's living' none would know him, Or at leastwise not as such.
Moral of this woful poem: Frequent oil your safety-clutch.
Written by Eugene Field | Create an image from this poem

Our Lady of the Mine

 The Blue Horizon wuz a mine us fellers all thought well uv,
And there befell the episode I now perpose to tell uv;
'T wuz in the year uv sixty-nine,--somewhere along in summer,--
There hove in sight one afternoon a new and curious comer;
His name wuz Silas Pettibone,--a' artist by perfession,--
With a kit of tools and a big mustache and a pipe in his possession.
He told us, by our leave, he 'd kind uv like to make some sketches Uv the snowy peaks, 'nd the foamin' crick, 'nd the distant mountain stretches; "You're welkim, sir," sez we, although this scenery dodge seemed to us A waste uv time where scenery wuz already sooper-floo-us.
All through the summer Pettibone kep' busy at his sketchin',-- At daybreak off for Eagle Pass, and home at nightfall, fetchin' That everlastin' book uv his with spider-lines all through it; Three-Fingered Hoover used to say there warn't no meanin' to it.
"Gol durn a man," sez he to him, "whose shif'less hand is sot at A-drawin' hills that's full uv quartz that's pinin' to be got at!" "Go on," sez Pettibone, "go on, if joshin' gratifies ye; But one uv these fine times I'll show ye sumthin' will surprise ye!" The which remark led us to think--although he didn't say it-- That Pettibone wuz owin' us a gredge 'nd meant to pay it.
One evenin' as we sat around the Restauraw de Casey, A-singin' songs 'nd tellin' yarns the which wuz sumwhat racy, In come that feller Pettibone, 'nd sez, "With your permission, I'd like to put a picture I have made on exhibition.
" He sot the picture on the bar 'nd drew aside its curtain, Sayin', "I reckon you'll allow as how that's art, f'r certain!" And then we looked, with jaws agape, but nary word wuz spoken, And f'r a likely spell the charm uv silence wuz unbroken-- Till presently, as in a dream, remarked Three-Fingered Hoover: "Onless I am mistaken, this is Pettibone's shef doover!" It wuz a face--a human face--a woman's, fair 'nd tender-- Sot gracefully upon a neck white as a swan's, and slender; The hair wuz kind uv sunny, 'nd the eyes wuz sort uv dreamy, The mouth wuz half a-smilin', 'nd the cheeks wuz soft 'nd creamy; It seemed like she wuz lookin' off into the west out yonder, And seemed like, while she looked, we saw her eyes grow softer, fonder,-- Like, lookin' off into the west, where mountain mists wuz fallin', She saw the face she longed to see and heerd his voice a-callin'; "Hooray!" we cried,--"a woman in the camp uv Blue Horizon! Step right up, Colonel Pettibone, 'nd nominate your pizen!" A curious situation,--one deservin' uv your pity,-- No human, livin', female thing this side of Denver City! But jest a lot uv husky men that lived on sand 'nd bitters,-- Do you wonder that that woman's face consoled the lonesome critters? And not a one but what it served in some way to remind him Of a mother or a sister or a sweetheart left behind him; And some looked back on happier days, and saw the old-time faces And heerd the dear familiar sounds in old familiar places,-- A gracious touch of home.
"Look here," sez Hoover, "ever'body Quit thinkin' 'nd perceed at oncet to name his favorite toddy!" It wuzn't long afore the news had spread the country over, And miners come a-flockin' in like honey-bees to clover; It kind uv did 'em good, they said, to feast their hungry eyes on That picture uv Our Lady in the camp uv Blue Horizon.
But one mean cuss from Nigger Crick passed criticisms on 'er,-- Leastwise we overheerd him call her Pettibone's madonner, The which we did not take to be respectful to a lady, So we hung him in a quiet spot that wuz cool 'nd dry 'nd shady; Which same might not have been good law, but it wuz the right manoeuvre To give the critics due respect for Pettibone's shef doover.
Gone is the camp,--yes, years ago the Blue Horizon busted, And every mother's son uv us got up one day 'nd dusted, While Pettibone perceeded East with wealth in his possession, And went to Yurrup, as I heerd, to study his perfession; So, like as not, you'll find him now a-paintin' heads 'nd faces At Venus, Billy Florence, and the like I-talyun places.
But no sech face he'll paint again as at old Blue Horizon, For I'll allow no sweeter face no human soul sot eyes on; And when the critics talk so grand uv Paris 'nd the Loover, I say, "Oh, but you orter seen the Pettibone shef doover!"
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Volunteer

 Sez I: My Country calls? Well, let it call.
I grins perlitely and declines wiv thanks.
Go, let 'em plaster every blighted wall, 'Ere's ONE they don't stampede into the ranks.
Them politicians with their greasy ways; Them empire-grabbers -- fight for 'em? No fear! I've seen this mess a-comin' from the days Of Algyserious and Aggydear: I've felt me passion rise and swell, But .
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wot the 'ell, Bill? Wot the 'ell? Sez I: My Country? Mine? I likes their cheek.
Me mud-bespattered by the cars they drive, Wot makes my measly thirty bob a week, And sweats red blood to keep meself alive! Fight for the right to slave that they may spend, Them in their mansions, me 'ere in my slum? No, let 'em fight wot's something to defend: But me, I've nothin' -- let the Kaiser come.
And so I cusses 'ard and well, But .
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wot the 'ell, Bill? Wot the 'ell? Sez I: If they would do the decent thing, And shield the missis and the little 'uns, Why, even _I_ might shout "God save the King", And face the chances of them 'ungry guns.
But we've got three, another on the way; It's that wot makes me snarl and set me jor: The wife and nippers, wot of 'em, I say, If I gets knocked out in this blasted war? Gets proper busted by a shell, But .
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wot the 'ell, Bill? Wot the 'ell? Ay, wot the 'ell's the use of all this talk? To-day some boys in blue was passin' me, And some of 'em they 'ad no legs to walk, And some of 'em they 'ad no eyes to see.
And -- well, I couldn't look 'em in the face, And so I'm goin', goin' to declare I'm under forty-one and take me place To face the music with the bunch out there.
A fool, you say! Maybe you're right.
I'll 'ave no peace unless I fight.
I've ceased to think; I only know I've gotta go, Bill, gotta go.
Written by Philip Levine | Create an image from this poem

My Fathers The Baltic

 Along the strand stones, 
busted shells, wood scraps, 
bottle tops, dimpled 
and stainless beer cans.
Something began here a century ago, a nameless disaster, perhaps a voyage to the lost continent where I was born.
Now the cold winds of March dimple the gray, incoming waves.
I kneel on the wet earth looking for a sign, maybe an old coin, an amulet against storms, and find my face blackened in a pool of oil and water.
My grandfather crossed this sea in '04 and never returned, so I've come alone to thank creation as he would never for bringing him home to work, defeat, and death, those three blood brothers faithful to the end.
Yusel Prishkulnick, I bless your laughter thrown in the wind's face, your gall, your rages, your abiding love for women and money and all that money never bought, for what the sea taught you and you taught me: that the waves go out and nothing comes back.
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