Wot’s Yours? [poem by “Dryblower” Murphy, 1926]

[Editor: This poem by “Dryblower” Murphy was published in Dryblower’s Verses (1926).]

Wot’s Yours?

“I never nursed a dear gazelle,”
The decomposing poet rhymed,
“But when it came to know me well
The high-up, heavenly stairs he climbed.”
The last line may not be correct —
It may be off its quoting feet —
But what, dear souls, can you expect
When singing in a Sunday sheet?
But let me say and let me sigh
I’ve rarely known a barmaid fair —
One with a loving languorous eye,
A star amid the three-star there —
But when her soul I tried to woo
With sentimental metaphors,
Commercially she’d coyly coo —
“Wot’s yors?”

“Wot’s yors?” she’d ask in keen demand,
When unto her my heart I’d bared,
When I had held her shapely hand
And everlasting love declared;
When I’d recited her as mine
Some verses penned by other peas:
When I had toasted her in wine
(McShicker’s pints with bread and cheese);
When I had her sweet face compared
To goddesses of ages dim;
When I had all my classics aired
That cost my pa two hundred jim;
When in an oratoric verse
I’d windmilled my poetic paws,
My song was shattered with her terse —
“Wot’s yors?”

How often have I wandered in
(Your bar-room bardlet never walks)
To find her fixing someone’s pin,
Around her feet some Moet corks?
The clod whose necktie she must fix
Was knocking down a cattle cheque,
While we were spending next to nix
Yet wanted all the quarter-deck!
And when she went to change her dress
And, inter alia, slip him up),
We steered him to a small recess
And made him hark to “Kissing Cup” —
We gave him Lawson, Banjo P.,
And Louis Becke on coral shores,
Until in self-defence said he —
“Wot’s yors?”

We’ve also sought the tender sigh
Of sweet, neat-handed Abigail,
When we discussed our tea and pie,
Our senile scone and ginger-ale.
We’ve sung to her with fire and force
Of gallant Gordens of that ilk,
The while she asked. “Oo spilt the sorce,
An’ put the mustard in the milk?
We murmured as she came along,
With tender looks and tenderer tone,
Some snatches of Venetian song
We learned from father’s gramophone;
Like some long-dead Castilian don.
We hummed a lay of sunny shores,
Until at last she snapped, “Come on —
Wot’s yors?”

’Twas ever thus, as I remarked
When I this sonnet sad began;
The bar-room Byron nipped and narked,
Becomes a sour and sorry man.
What use to quote the inky yelp
Of Ella Wheeler’s message high.
The comfort of the lady-help
Who hugs the boss upon the sly?
What use your rhyming brain to rack
Where Hebe pumps the amber rill,
If she remarks, “You owe a zac;
Your I.O.U. is in the till”!
The Omar lines you say you wrote
Touch not their scheming sordid cores,
As they remark, “Doan act ther goat —
Wot’s yors?”

Edwin Greenslade Murphy, Dryblower’s Verses, Perth, W.A.: E. G. Murphy, 1926, pages 98-99

Previously published (with some differences) in:
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 7 February 1915, p. 8

Editor’s notes:
Banjo P. = Banjo Paterson

nix = nothing, zero (from the German “nichts”, meaning nothing); no; a rejection; to disagree, prohibit, or reject (also, in German mythology, a water being, sometimes described as a demon or monster, which is half-human and half-fish)

Omar = in the context of poetry, a reference to Omar Khayyám

Sunday sheet = Sunday newspaper, Sunday newssheet

three-star = the name of a brandy (alcoholic drink), being either Martell’s Three Star Brandy or Hennessy’s Three Star Brandy

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
doan (don’t)
sorce (sauce)
ther (the)
wot (what)
yors (yours)

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