Thursday, February 23, 2017

Walt Mason Says Help the Down and Out in Winter, 1916

“Down and Out” by Walt Mason, from the Winston-Salem Journal as reprinted in the Watauga Democrat in Boone, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 3, 1916

The bum comes trembling to our door,
   He’s starved and cold and weak and sore.
Through whiskers full of snow and ice,
   He humbly begs you for the price.
He no doubt is a lazy skate
   Who never tries to pay the freight;
No doubt he loafs on summer days,
   When every busy farmer pays
A handsome wage to those who’ll toil,
   And push the plowshare through the soil.
No doubt he is a chronic shirk,
   Who has it in for honest work.
No doubt the kopeck you bestow
   Will to the grog dispenser go.
Yet loosen up nor ask the bo
   If rum has brought him down so low.
And can the helpful moral spiel
   That you have wound upon your reel,
All suffering to be unwound;
   For snow is deep upon the ground,
And bitter is the winter air,
   And hungry means a bleak despair.
Jack up the beggar man in May,
   If he won’t help to put up hay;
But when he teeters to your door,
   To touch you for a dime or more,
Upon a wintry morn, dig up, dig up,
   Nor point with scorn.
                --Walt Mason

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