When a Man’s Sewing Buttons on his Pants [poem by Grant Hervey, 4 January 1903]

[Editor: A poem by Grant Hervey, published in his “Cuts and Carvings” column in The Sunday Times (Perth, WA).]

When A Man’s Sewing Buttons On His Pants.

(Written at 2 a.m.)

’Tis a grave and solemn moment, free from stir and wordy foment, when the lonely son of woman taketh needle in his hand ;
When the wifeless parlor boarder puts his fractured pants in order, giving heading to the puncture and the breeze’s shrill command !
’Tis a time when doors are fastened : lo, with features strangely chastened doth he slowly thread His weapon while his soul sings sober chants —
For the world grows still and quiet, there’s an end to noise and riot when a man is busy sewing — sewing buttons on his pants !

All bereft of saving thimble, and with fingers all un-nimble, lo, the cotton thread is knotted with a knot of triple strength.
With the needle threaded double sits the forlorn soul in trouble, wielding patches on his shin-bags with a cord of extra length !
With the needle ever jabbing in his finger sits he stabbing in a grim, determined fashion, that reminds of bulldog ants.
Oh, it is no time for joking or for mordant borack-poking when a man essays the task of copper-fastening his pants !

Lo, with cotton sadly tangled and the air blasphemy-spangled doth he labor on intrepid at the button-binding task ;
When a man has got no woman and his pants won’t keep the gloom in, peradventure he must mend them and repair his body’s mask !
’Tis a strange and senseless fashion how a man must spend his cash on woven tubes of serge and tweedings where- within to hide his shins.
When all other beasts are free from (and this scribe would gladly flee from) mending trousers as a penance for their harmless little sins !
’Tis the voice, howe’er, of custom, saying “Sirrah, if you bust ’em, you must plug the orifices with what stuff the devil grants ;”
And this poem forthwith endeth, for the present scribe intendeth at this hour to thread his needle and repair his own lone pants !

The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 4 January 1903, page 12

Editor’s notes:
borack-poking = “to poke borack” is Australian slang, meaning “to ridicule”

mordant = bitingly sarcastic or critical

peradventure = perhaps, perchance, possibly

[Editor: Corrected “wielding” to “wielding”; “2 a.m” to “2 a.m.” (inserted second full stop).]

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