Works in the Herald 1922

Possibly there are some clergymen who, while they object to Sunday football and golf, see little harm in Sunday gardening.

My friends!
This is not poetry.  Though if you watch it carefully, you will find it rhymes at 
   the ends.
With this preamble which needs no apology,
I would forgather and talk with you upon Theology
As it is taught today....
They say
We may
Not play
Football, or golf, or two-up, or shinty or handies on Sundays.
Though these games may be quite proper and respectable on, say, Mondays.
Or even Tuesdays.
It seem that we have to choose days
Apart from the Sabbath for such sports as these.
But, listen: Suburban gardening is not a sport in the strict sense of the term, if 
   you please.
Well, all I wish to say
Is that I have a next-door neighbour, Arthur Day,
Who said to me one Sabbath morning, "Say!"
Those early lessons of my youth I've ne'er forgotten.
And I reckon that this modern predilection for Sunday sport is simply rotten.
Still, I've been nurturing a slug near my nasturtiums all this winter
Who is a natural-born sprinter.
I'll bet you . . ."  But I said "Rot!
There's a shell-back snail under my pink geranium
And I know by the shape and general formation of his cranium
That he could beat
This slug of yours, through sheer mentality -- however fleet . . ."
Well, so it started.
And I must own that I am never chicken-hearted
When once it comes to betting
And we were getting,
I own, a trifle hot
(He'd won the lot)
When we saw the whole crowd -- you know the type -- sailing home from church in 
   full rigging;
And Day, who has great presence of mind, said unto me,
"Yonder you see
The Armada approaching.  It is no use trying to emulate Drake.
For goodness sake
Pretend that we are digging!"
So that we did; and, well,
What more if there to tell?
They thought that we were playing with the pansies.
When, as a matter of fact, we were madly backing our fancies.
My friends!
Just here the lesson ends.
But, finally, I should like to ask you
(I don't desire to overtask you
Or weary your mind after you have had, I know, a hard day's work).
But here is one question that we should not shirk;
And, though the matter might be ruled out as ultra vires in any theological court,
I ask you: What ARE games and what IS sport?

The Mooch of Life
Herald, 29 May 1922, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06