Mr & Mrs Smith

Mr & Mrs Smith

We sing a long awaited day ,
A day of wonder and delight ,
That dazzled though the sky was grey
And blazed to a triumphant night :
We sing a night of huge display ,
When Earth amazed the folk of Mars
With radiant showers of falling stars
From sky to waters no less bright ,
And men were merry at the sight :
All these great deeds , and more than they ,
Shone in a nutshell far away .

And we who gayly to the nutshell came
Saw all this surge of fiery jubilation ,
Saw quaint devices etched in eager flame ,
Heard the great roar of public acclamation :
Yet still securely in the nutshell sat ,
Grateful with such good friends to laugh and chat ,
And with buzz of friendly conversation
Echo the grand rejoicing of the nation :
All this we did , and now with thanks acclaim
The Nutshell and the pair who chose its name .

[ On the reverse side of to Mr & Mrs Wilkins With many thanks and great delight]

Mr and Mrs Wilkins

Mr and Mrs Wilkins

With many thanks and great delight
These verses in your praise we write ,
Hoping in true , though humble lay
Some shred of our great debt to pay
To you, who granted us the sight
Of majesty and beauty bright :
Poets of old hymned patrons’ might
For lesser gifts : we sing as they ,
With many thanks .

When pomp and pageant reached their height
The joyous hours took speedy flight ;
But still as years roll on we may
Remember that right royal day ,
And still your kindness may requite
With many thanks .

[June 1953 ]

On the same sheet as to Mr & Mrs Smith We sing a long awaited day

Middle-aged

Middle-aged

When love was very young , and youth was joy ,
I passed each day a portrait on the stair :
An old man standing by a merry boy ,
With sunlight on the grey , and golden , hair .
“Learn with the child and me to laugh! ” I said,
“Why so withdrawn , so mournful all the while ?
Be merry living — grave enough when dead . ”

When love was growing old , and age was grief ,
I trod again that half-forgotten stair ,
Weary of heart , despairing of relief .
I saw again the pictured faces there :
“Ah, wise old man , to scorn delight , ” I said ,
“Experience will teach that thoughtless child
When life is only sorrow , better dead .”
He eyed me kindly , and I fear he smiled .

3 Oct. 1952

My heart was made of brittle glass

My heart was made of brittle glass ,
I laid it at your feet .
Down at your feet in the dusty grass
Where flowers drooped in the heat .

You bent and took it with a frown ,
You broke the brittle glass .
You tossed the fragments idly down ,
Deep in the dusty grass .

Why do you kneel here in the rain
Searching the trampled mud ?
Before you hold that heart again
Your hands shall smart with blood .

11th May 1952

Missing from L.M.H. kitchen — one blackhandled cook’s knife

From Venture, May 1949
A Cautionary Tale

Missing from L.M.H. kitchen — one blackhandled cook’s knife

I tell you this tale in an ominous wail
With a ghastly and horrible look:
I quake like a leaf as I mention in grief
The name of the blackhandled cook;
I met him one morn as he strolled down the Corn
I shrieked when I heard what he muttered —
‘Twas a hideous curse in regrettable verse
And these are the words that he uttered:
‘From College and Hall, here’s my curse on you all
By candle, by bell, and by book
If you trifle with life you shall die by my knife,
The knife of the blackhandled cook. (ho-ho! etc. ad lib.)

She was earnest and plain and incurably sane,
She worked day and night in the Bod;
Her clothes were a wreck, she did not wash her neck,
She denied the existence of God:
She pounced like a shark on the idlest remark,
Her handshake was limp as a cod —
I fled in dismay when she headed my way,
But that cook stood his ground in the quad . . .
She was slain, she was slain, let us roar the Refrain!
All unwilling this world she forsook
She had trifled with life and she died by that knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook. (ho-ho! etc. ad lib.)

He was pallid as wax and wore corduroy slacks,
His elegant curls were of jet;
His tastes were expensive, his manners offensive
He drank with a very fast set:
The Isis adored him, his tutor deplored him,
He was always in fashion and debt:
He strolled down the High with a glint in his eye —
It’s obvious now whom he met . . .
He was slain, he was slain, let us roar the refrain!
All unwilling this world he forsook,
He had trifled with life and he died by that knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook, (ho-ho! etc. ad lib)

I was rapt and intense, I had no common sense
I was highbrow, long-haired and Byronic;
My verse was ecstatic and melodramatic
My philosophy vaguely Platonic;
I addressed him one day in a courteous way
But discovered his prejudice chronic —
He chased me from Oriel to Martyrs’ Memorial . . .
(I thought that was slightly ironic!)
I was slain, I was slain, let us roar the refrain!
All unwilling this world I forsook:
I had trifled with life and I died by that knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook. (ho-ho! etc. ad lib)

All you that pass by with a sceptical eye
Remember our well deserved fate!
Beware of the cook with hs murderous look,
Avoid him before it’s too late!
As you fling on your gown and parade through the town
Beware, for he lieth in wait —
He has sworn by his handle, by bell, book and candle
A deep diabolical hate!
From College and Hall, there’s his curse on you all,
By candle, by bell, and by book!
If you trifle with life you shall die by his knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook (ho-ho!)
The knife of the blackhandled cook!

Marion G. Jones [May 1949]