A Psalm of Patience [poem by Joseph Furphy]

[Editor: This poem by Joseph Furphy was published in The Poems of Joseph Furphy (1916).]

A Psalm of Patience.

O kid! with face of healthy tan,
With lunch-bag, books and slate;
You needn’t long to be a man,
Self-confident and great;
For ever since the world began
Each boy must spring to Nature’s plan,
Must worry through as best he can —
Make up your mind to Wait.

O young galoot! you find it rough —
This iron hand of Fate!
Your confidence is mostly bluff,
And doubts preponderate —
Are you the genuine all-wool stuff?
Are you a daisy or a muff? —
Patience! you’ll find out soon enough,
If you can only Wait.

O baffled bloke! with no resource!
Whose knowledge comes too late;
Whose prospects change from bad to worse,
Till Hope gives place to Hate!
Sick of existence, and perforce
Impatient for the long divorce —
You’ll get your call in proper course,
Take my advice, and Wait.

O geezer! drawing near the test
That none may obviate;
Don’t waste your time in fruitless quest
Re man’s post-mortem state.
That doubt will soon be set at rest —
You’ll be extinguish’d, grill’d, or blest,
Or spook the world from east to west.
Meanwhile, you have to Wait.

K. B. [Kate Baker] (editor), The Poems of Joseph Furphy, Melbourne: Lothian Book Publishing Co., 1916, page 19

Editor’s notes:
all-wool = genuine, as described, not fake; admirable; excellent; sincere; from the phrase “all wool and a yard wide”, referring to the fine fleece of sheep, or yarn or clothes made therefrom

blest = (archaic) blessed

daisy = someone or something which is first-rate; very good, excellent [see: John S. Farmer and W. E. Henley, A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English, London: George Routledge & Sons, 1905, p. 126]

galoot = someone (usually a male) who is foolish, stupid, awkward, or clumsy; can be used in an affectionate manner, such as “ya daft galoot”

geezer = man, chap, fellow; in later times especially used to describe an old man (an “old geezer”); in the USA, “geezer” refers to an old man, especially one who is eccentric

muff = fool; a silly or weak-minded person [see: John Camden Hotten, The Slang Dictionary, London: John Camden Hotten, 1865, p. 183]

obviate = to avoid, prevent or remove (by the use of an appropriate measure) a difficulty, problem, or need; render unnecessary

slate = a writing slate; a piece of slate, usually held within a wooden frame, used by people to write upon with chalk (especially used by schoolchildren, but used in other situations as well)

Speak Your Mind