Backblock Ballads and Other Verses
I have a poor relation, but
   He never troubles me.
He's bowed with care; he wears an air
   Of abject misery.
Yet, I am happy to relate,
He never is importunate.

I meet him often in the street;
  Sometimes he speaks to me;
I know, indeed, he is in need --
   That's very plain to see.
Yet, tho' he is in want, I own
He never asks me for a loan. 

His cuffs are frayed around the edge;
   His hat's a sight to see;
His coat is torn; his pants are worn,
   And baggy at the knee.
Yet, tho' his need is manifest,
He never brings me one request.

I know he often wants for food,
   His tradesmen are unpaid,
His life's accurst with one large thirst
   That never is allayed.
Yet, ne'er by hint or sign does he
Suggest that it is "up to me." 

Is he too proud?  Well, truly, no;
   To beg he's not ashamed.
Yet, his neglect in that respect,
   Is scarcely to be blamed.
In fact he knows full well, you see,
That I am just as poor as he.

"C. J. D"
The Gadfly, 17 May 1906, p3

This poem was also published in:
Backblock Ballads and Later Verses

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06