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 !”

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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