M.L.

If when I'm gone you chance to think of me,
Think not, I beg, that I am far away,
But that from near-by shades I still can see
And share your pains or smile when you're at play.

Think I am near and still belong to you;
No longer mortal but with love divine
I'll hold and kiss you as I used to do
And you shall look and tell me you are mine.

You will remember too those golden hours
When we through flowery meads walked hand in hand,
When Nature sang and every bliss was ours
And rainbows lit our way through fairy land.

Remember so – and all the rest forget.
Bid every haunting, evil memory begone
Think of the good and bear no vain regret
And so – to where I wait – come gently on.

                                     Arthur Wade (1947)

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Little Boy Ke

This is the tale of the little boy Ke,
Born in Papua where, perhaps you've heard say,
The cannibals live on just one meal a day.

Which some people say is the right thing to do.
I don't think that cannibals ought to have two
And I hope that they'll never invite me – or you.

To continue our story – He was black as the ace
Of spades, or perhaps clubs, and he felt no disgrace
If he went off to bed without washing his face.

He never lost buttons or toes from his shoes,
Nor pieces of shirt, nor the seat of his troos,
He had no clothes at all, so he'd nothing to lose.

Like all little boys he continued to grow,
A bright little, black little fellow, but Oh.
There were so many things that he wanted to know.

He went round the village and asked the wise men
Who thought they knew everything – well- up to then.
If they said 'You be off!' he'd go ask them again.

He wanted to know why it rained every day.
And why all the water kept running away.
Were the clouds going somewhere? Why didn't they stay?

'There were sun, moon and stars, birds, insects and trees,
And no end of questions he asked about these
And other things too. He was so hard to please.

Now this sort of thing began quickly to pall
On the very wise men. It made them look small
And almost believe they knew nothing at all.

The very wise men didn't know where they were
So they sat in the dubu to 'cuss and confer.
There was never a boy who had caused such a stir.

'These questions must stop,' the wisest man said.
'There is only one way – we'll cut off his head
And stew him with sago,' which serves there for bread.

So, in sadness and sorrow, reluctantly they
Sat down and ate up that poor little boy Ke.
He upset their tummies – and does to this day.

                                        Arthur Wade (1947)
 

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Day-Dream

I am sitting in my office, in my office all alone,
Listening to the tramcars and the city's distant drone;
I've a pile of letters round me and a lot of work to do,
A heap of things marked 'urgent' that I should be pushing through;
But the sun is casting shadows all along the eastern wall,
And through the open window I can hear a distant call;
So my pen is lying idle and I'm dreaming in my chair,
For the zephyrs bid me listen to the messages they bear.
But I must be up and doing for the day is growing old,
And waking fellows dreaming, and the story has been told
That a man must chase the rainbow ere he finds his pot of gold.

                                                              Arthur Wade (1947)
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Derby
(W.A.)

Flat,
Featureless,
Foetid;
Muddy as the mass mind of multitudes.
Brown,
Like a sere cloth
Scorched in the flames of Hell.
White,
Slimey white,
Trails of the crawling sea.
Iron,
Torn from the womb of earth,
Geometric.
Protruding ribs,
Spoils of some forest glade,
Now stark and sullen.
Distant and dense,
A gaping press of trees,
Then this –
Wrack and ruin,
Rot and decay,
A mouldering, disintegrating spew,
The coprolitic residue of machines,
Reeking.
Stench of the Gadarine swine
And old fermenting vapours,
Bacchanalian.
Creeping things,
Foul and bestial.
Below and above vision
A mocking sun,
Breeding wind,
Helpless and tied,
Labouring with the land.
Torture and torment,
Where brooding Ahitophel
Sends forth his swarms
With sour cacophony
And sneers –
Lo this, - the handiwork of Man!

                        Arthur Wade (1947)


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Bush Buncombe

                  by Arthur Wade (1947)

I'd been camping in the back-blocks for a half a year or so,
During which I think it never ceased to rain,
I was seedy, I was tired, I considered life was slow
And, like Solomon, I thought that life was vain.

So I emptied out my knapsack for some soothing book to read,
And this is what I found – a painful lot-
A Webster, a discussion on the Athanasian Creed,
Some tables mathematical, a Scott.

A dismal lot, I'd read the Scott a hundred times before,
So I turned the Webster over with a yawn
When out came crowds of highbrows through an academic door
Whose symposia kept me spellbound till the dawn.

I was sitting on a frustum; (that's a slice cut off a tree
Parenthetically also I may state,
'Twould be abecedarian and 'twould cause you ennui
If each word I used I did elucidate).

I gathered that abkari might be nocuous to some,
Not finical I felt I had to urge,
Abstersion wouldn't hurt if deglutition was to come,
Though indulgential ways may cause a splurge.

Now such ratiocination, palliative to the mind,
Only caused me panidrosis since I knew
That I hadn't even usufruct or ownership in kind
Of any real anacreontic brew.

Etiolated I withdrew into my cucullated tent
And called the coryphaeus of my men,
Who on acanthopterygia had diurnally been bent
And on icthyophagy – well, now and then.

Him I told, with objurgations, to coadunate the band,
With cacophony he drove 'em from my lair,
Impedimenta was concatenated straightway out of hand
For nostalgia was now more than I could bear.

Beware the dictionary, child! 'Tis not a catalyst
For acquiring etymology at school.
As for me I'm bradypeptic, have been since an abacist
Incognitient! Don't it make you feel a fool!

                                                 Arthur Wade (1947)


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