Town’s Lure and the Landlubber’s Chantey

In 1921, James Stuart Montgomery, according to his passport application, was working for H.D. Senat Advertising in Pennsylvania. Evidently, advertising paid better than writing poetry.

Here are two more poems from Mr. Montgomery, aka – the Finger-Print Poet:

Town’s Lure

Ah, the country’s cruel quiet
And the biting gnawing pain
Of its tireless small voices,
As they hammer on my brain —
How they hammer, hammer, hammer
On my brain, brain, brain —
Oh, the cruel rustic quiet —
I am off for town again.

Oh, the restless restful music,
With its soothing peaceful beat
Of a human mill race rushing,
Foaming through a narrow street.
Hear the slither, slither, slither
Of their feet, feet, feet,
Sniff the Town’s sweet homely stenches,
While she’s basking in the heat.

What willow shaded streamlet’s
Half so beautiful to me
As this dirty, sluggish river,
Rolling sullenly to sea,
With the rusty red old trampers
Dropping down past Liberty,
and the stately, steady liners
Creeping silently to sea?

Oh, the laughing lotus seekers,
Of these mad Arabian Nights,
With their dainty silken houris,
And their everchanging sights —
A-jeweled and embeautied
By the lights, lights, lights,
That gaze on them, unwinking,
From the star encrusted heights.

I would seek Town’s wanton kisses,
Though behind them lurked the knife.
She’s as lovely as a dream girl,
Wicked as a faithless wife —
She’s a devil’s broth of vileness,
Hate and greed, deceit and strife —
She is good and she is evil,
But she’s life, life, life.

(Copyright, 1919, by Bell Syndicate, Inc.)

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Oct 5, 1919

The Landlubber’s Chantey
(As he gazes from his office window at a ship clearing for the open sea.)

Here I drone in this human hive,
Blow, ye sirens, blow!
and three times eight are twenty-five
Blow, ye sirens, blow!
Blue Peter snaps the flutters wide,
The dripping hawser slaps her side,
She’s warping out on the turning tide!
Blow, ye sirens, blow.

Three and four and one make nine —
Roll, ye combers, roll.
The air is sharp with windswept brine,
Roll, ye combers, roll.
She’s dropped the last low line of shore,
The furrowed seas stretch out before —
Then thousand miles to Singapore!
Roll, ye combers, roll!

Lawless days and thirsty knives.
Roar, ye monsoons, roar!
Sudden ends to rum wrecked lives,
Roar, ye monsoons, roar!
On sunken reefs a gray sea moans
Of missing ships and dead men’s bones —
Oh, blast those jangling telephones!
Roar, ye monsoons, roar!

Debit Smith and credit Ross —
Sigh, ye Southern seas.
Brightly burns the starry cross —
Sigh, ye Southern seas.
A breeze with spices laden down;
A Venus done in ivory brown
Gleams through her sketchy cotton gown.
Sigh, ye Southern seas.

Where Christians loaf and heathens sweat,
Heave, ye rollers, heave!
There’s life to live and gold to get.
Heave, ye rollers, heave!
Under the ocean’s sunlit green
Are pearls to grace an Eastern queen —
And eight and nine are seventeen.
Heave, ye rollers, heave!

(Copyright, 1919, by Bell Syndicate, Inc.)

Oakland Tribune, (Oakland, California) Oct 5, 1919

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