When Your Brains Are Out On Strike [poem by Grant Hervey, 18 January 1903]

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

When Your Brains Are Out On Strike.

“I am barren of ideas,” sighed the rhymester mid the beers,
As he sadly eyed his pewter in pursuit of brilliant thoughts ;
“Lo, my skull is barren now — like a milk-exhausted cow
Do I wander down the by-ways with my mind all filled with warts !
Oh, I cannot write a verse — I can only sit and curse,
Praying duly that some wit-flash may approach on unseen bike ;
I am dull and deadly dry, and I hereby rise and cry :
‘It’s a blanky, purple blanker when your brains are out on strike !’

“Ought to have my ‘copy’ in, but my brain refuse to spin —
I am thick and stupid, denser than a new Jay Pea !
I can only curse and swear — oh, my scalp is growing bare
Where I’ve torn away the plumage, forehead-stroking wearilee ;
I am dull, doubly dull ; all my thoughts are in a ‘mull’
And I sit me lone and cursing in the spasms of the ‘spike’ !
Neither par. nor pleasing pome will from out my think’ry come —
It’s a blanky scarlet rotter when your brains are out on strike !

“Lo, it is the blanky day, when my stuff should speed away
To the fields to cheer the landscape — or to make the same more sad ;
Here I sit tho’ sans a line, using ‘language’ superfine,
Idly scrawling plans of Sheol on my inky blotting pad !
And I forthwith do repeat, in a tone of fiery heat,
And my soul a-surge with anger as I kick a mangy tyke :
Scribes have trouble per the score, but their curses rip and roar
And their heads are dull as heaven and their Brains are out on Strike !”



Source:
Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 18 January 1903, page 12

Editor’s notes:
wearilee = an old form of “wearily”, rare instances are found in old poetry; e.g.:
1) “Robin Hood’s Death and Burial”, in: Samuel Eliot (editor). “Poetry for Children”, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston, c1879, page 211
2) “Rounded with a Sleep”, in: Robert J. Burdette, Old Time and Young Tom”, Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, c1912, page 154

[Editor: Corrected “sighed the the” to “sighed the”; “live a milk” to “like a milk”; doubly dull ’ to doubly dull ; (punctuation); ‘mull” to ‘mull’ (punctuation).]

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