My love’s not like the lilies fair,
And all that sort of thing;
Although her voice is rich and rare
I seldom hear her sing.
Within a restaurant she works
Wherein I daily dine;
Towards the customer she jerks
The stew of Auld Lang Syne.
I thought her neat, I thought her sweet,
Compare with her could none,
Until one day I heard her bleat
I daily dine there, as I said,
I watch her form divine,
And as she cuts the daily bread
I would that she were mine.
The dusty floor she sweeps and wets,
The cruet stands she cleans;
She folds the flimsy serviettes
And garnishes the greens.
Just such an angel as she seems
I’d like my bride to be,
Excepting when she harshly screams,
For many weeks I passed the place
Where now she reigns as queen;
I marked her sweet angelic face,
Her garb severe and clean.
“Here is an angel in disguise!”
Said I in ecstasy;
Her fairy figure, hair and eyes,
Were all the world to me.
The window ope’d and then and there
She gabbled to my grief
Upon the onion-scented air,
Methought it could not be the girl
Who breathed that vocal blot;
From out those rows of shining pearl
Such harshness issued not.
Next day I saw her smiling sweet
(The window now was closed),
I could not even smell the meat,
Even the onions dozed.
Next day I entered, and I sat
In love’s dream half awake,
And heard amid a flare of fat,
I’ve often tried to think that she
And that harsh voice are twain,
For when she softly speaks to me
It lilts a love refrain.
She sweetly croons of souls and fates
When she is by my side,
When ord’ring hash she imitates
A tug-boat on the tide.
In love’s own sympathetic spell
My heart responsive thuds;
Until I hear her raucous yell —
So does it ever seem to be
When we an angel meet,
Our heart’s romance, our fancy free,
Abides in Sordid-street.
The bell-like voice that in our ear
Recalls the cooing dove
In rage or duty rises clear
Above the crash of grub.
The dainty mouth that’s curved to kiss
Beside a languorous river,
Should not through cabbage vapor hiss —
Edwin Greenslade Murphy, Dryblower’s Verses, Perth, W.A.: E. G. Murphy, 1926, pages 86-87
Previously published (with some differences) in:
The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), 8 February 1914, p. 8
Auld Lang Syne = (Scottish) “times long past” (literally, “old long since”), similar to “the good old days”; commonly known in relation to the song “Auld Lang Syne”, being the poem written by Robert Burns (and later set to music) which was based upon an old Scottish song
twain = (archaic) two (from the Old English word “twegen”, meaning “two”); especially known for the phrase “never the twain shall meet” (from the line “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”, as used by the poet Rudyard Kipling, at the start of the poem “The Ballad of East and West”; included in Barrack-room Ballads and Other Verses, 1892)