Posts Tagged ‘James Stuart Montgomery’

Town’s Lure and the Landlubber’s Chantey

November 13, 2011

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

The Finger-Print Poet

November 12, 2011

NEWS!

A MURDER in the tenderloin,
An eminent statesman’s views,
A scandal breaks in the avenue,
It’s news, all news, big news!
A hurried dash for a subway train,
Some feverish pencil jots—
The public must have its morning thrill
Over its coffee pots.

A lone man battling Russian snows,
Another, the desert’s thirst—
Each fired by thoughts of a record “beat”
If he gets on the wire first,
With a story the harried cable clerk
Shall hurl on—dot by dash—
The public reads of the wide, wide world
Along with its breakfast hash.

Battle of typewriters, driven hard,
And crash of the linotypes,
Maddening click of the telegraph,
And the fog from the reeking pipes!
The grueling race by flesh and blood
‘Gainst Time’s unflagging legs—
The public must have its news served hot
And fresh as its breakfast eggs.

One last wild rush, and the presses start
Their rumble and roar overhead;
A stretch, a yawn and a heartfelt sigh—
The paper’s been “put to bed.”
Few of us know what each line has cost,
Nor ask how the price is paid—
We only know that the public wants
Its news with its marmalade.

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

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Nov 2, 1919

The Mysterious Poet

James Stuart Montgomery!! He is the poet of the finger-prints. He revealed his identity to New York publishers simultaneously with an effort to trace his finger-prints in the War Department at Washington.

The mysterious Finger-Print poet was born in Rome, Ga., in 1890. He was educated at the University of Georgia and the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1911. In 1917 he attended the first officers’ training camp at Fort Niagara, N.Y., and was commissioned a first lieutenant. After being assigned to the 316th Infantry, 79th Division, he was promoted to captain and appointed personnel officer and assistant to the regimental adjutant.

On September 30, 1918, he was wounded while serving with his regiment at Montafuson, where some of the fiercest fighting of the famous Meuse-Argonne offensive took place. After some time in a base hospital he was invalided home.

Before entering the army Captain Montgomery wrote verses occasonally merely for his own amusement. In France it helped to while away the time.

Some of his best verse, including “Je Ne Me Fiche” and Her Glove,” was written while he was in a military hospital in France. He is now living in Strafford, Pa.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Nov 2, 1919

Her Glove

It was a waltz — a wild Hungarian air,
A mad, uprushing storm of vivid tone,
That on its own exulting passion seemed to bear
Us up to Paradise — us two alone.
That waltz. ‘Twas one that cried aloud and throbbed
Of loves in their own fires purified,
And rose and fell and laughed and sighed and sobbed
It self to amorous dreaminess — and died.

Still through our veins that molten music rain,
Bathing each sense in rosy, leaping flame;
And I was man as Adam was a man,
She, woman, without reticence or shame.
The star sewn purple of the night above —
Her softness yet a presence on my arm —
With eager fingers stripped she off her glove,
That I might kiss the rose leaf of her palm.

For one eternal instant I have known
The heights and depths of all-consuming love.
She was his promised bride — and he, mine own
Familiar friend. And this — it is a glove.

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

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Oct 26, 1919


Je Ne Me Fiche (I Should Worry)

If you should raise the dander of
The highest high commander of
Your outfit by some petty little sin,
He may fret and cuss and shout,
As he bawls you inside out —
Just wait until he bawls you outside in —
Quite neatly and completely outside in.

When the Q.M. commissary,
In its waggish way and merry,
Announces that the grub has given out,
You are saved, beyond all question,
From the pangs of indigestion,
You never will be troubled with the gout —
The illfulness and pillfulness of gout.

If you lose an ear or arm, sir,
You’ve another. What’s the harm, sir?
And even if they amputate your pegs,
Why, they’re making ’em of cork, sir —
That can dance and walk, sir —
Oh, quite the very latest thing in legs —
The raciest and paciest of legs.

You may even lose your head, sir;
Yet, when all is don and said, sir,
There wasn’t so much in it, let us hope.
If a shell should come and spill you,
Or the gentle Fritzies kill you,
They can’t do more than make you into soap —
The jelliest and smelliest of soap.

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

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Oct 11, 1919