Posts Tagged ‘James J. Montague’

Evenhanded Science

August 23, 2012

Image from Twister SifterVintage Mugshots


By James J. Montague

The burglar made small trouble through the years
When he wholly was dependent on himself,
For he wasn’t very wide between the ears
And he made a rather trifling plie of pelf.
With a jimmy and a blackjack as his aids
And his finger prints to leave a glaring trail
It was seldom that his bold, nocturnal raids
Did not land him very shortly, in a jail.

But when science learned the use of T N T —
When it found out how to make a diamond drill
Then the yegg man and the thug began to see
The advantage of enlightened modern skill.
In the reading rooms were found the leading crooks
Spending many earnest hours at a time
In perusing all the scientific books
Which would aid them in the latest arts of crime.

Now, proficient in the chemist’s highest art,
Knowing how to blow a safe without a sound
How to pry  the very strongest vault apart
Without wakening a single soul around.
And to glove their hands before they start a job
So they will not leave behind a finger print,
They may confidently undertake to rob
Any safe that isn’t guarded like a mint.

Science has no pets among the human race —
She supplies the good with moving picture shows
She has scattered automobiles every place
She has cut down trees to fashion silken hose.
She has showered lavish gifts on you and me
And, though giving her her just and honest due,
Any thinking man can hardly fail to see
That the criminal has benefitted, too.

Montana Standard (Butte, Montana) Sep 17, 1928

Image from Kitchy Kitchy Coo

The Machines of Today

August 11, 2012




I see a sleek gasoline engine
Careering along to a blaze;
It’s efficient, no doubt,
But no steam does it spout
As it speeds on its glorious ways.
It lacks the old bright shining boiler
And the smoke that shoots out of the stack,
And it doesn’t careen
Like the good old machine
That was here half a dozen years back.

Ah! That was the grand age of fires;
The whistle would sputter and scream,
While the folks of that day
Fled madly away
From the fountains of cinders and steam.
The galloping clang of the horses,
The beat of their feet as they sped,
And the volume of sound
That was broadcast around
Might almost awaken the dead.

The machine of today may be faster,
Their deafening sirens ring shrill,
It’s a joy to the eye
To observe them go by.
Their perilous task to fulfill,
But my pet was the raring old steamer
With its smoke and its clamor and roar,
And I’m sad in my heart
That it won’t play a part
In the life of the town any more.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Jul 21, 1934

To A Trout

July 19, 2012


You thought yourself extremely smart,
You lay there, like a graven statue
Defying any human art
Or human cleverness to catch you.
You cast a cold sardonic eye
And seemed to grin with calm dispassion
Upon the most alluring fly
That I could fashion.

But greed o’er powered you at last,
You leaped at my dull feathered hackle
And found yourself held firm and fast
By slender rod and thread-like tackle.
You lash the waters of the brook
The silver spray in clouds you scatter
But still that small remorseless hook
You cannot shatter.

No use to sulk beneath a snag
That line, though tenuous and slender
Will never slacken, never sag
Till it compels you to surrender.
In vain to rush and dart about,
Endeavoring to postpone disaster
You’ll soon discover, Mr. Trout
You’ve met your master.

The rod held firmly in my hand
As ends this long exciting hour.
I rag you slowly toward the land
Despite your craft and fighting power.
I see your sinewy writhing back,
You soon will feel the net around you.
What’s this? The line is limp and slack!
You’re free; confound you.

Montana Standard (Butte, Montana) Oct 3, 1928

*     *     *     *     *

More Trout Poetry:

Thinkin’ of the Old Trout Brook   — A Trouting Idyl  — The Spring Affliction

Trotzky and Lenine

December 1, 2011

Image from Life magazine website

More Truth Than Poetry
By James J. Montague.

Trotzky and Lenine.

From Azov’s frozen border
To Poland’s boundary line,
They’re bringing law and order,
Are Trotzky and Lenine.
The high ideals that fill ’em,
No turbulence can stem,
If people kick they kill ’em,
And that’s the last of them.

Well may the people heed ’em,
When fervently they cry,
“You need the brand of freedom
That only we supply.
In still enclaved dominions
The luckless subject cowers
To other men’s opinions,
But you can cringe to ours!

“You buy the goods we sell you
Without a growl or kick:
You do just what we tell you
And do it mighty quick.
And while we reign resplendent
You sh???? your ??????  fates
That you are not dependent
On haughty potentates!”

Within all Russia’s border,
There soon would be once more
A state of law and order,
Excepting for the war.
And thus the propagation
Of freedom will be spread,
Till all the population
Is either free or dead.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Sep 25, 1920