Works in the Herald 1937


Weak, weak, the sodden unsubstantial spud, 
Lacking in fibre and in strong, hot blood.
   Torn from their subterranean cradles, they
   Gaze on the world in argus-eyed dismay;
Meek sentimentalists, ill-shapen, soiled.
And clod-like in the raw; and then, when boiled
   Either they cringe and crumble into bits
   Or else become sly, soapy hypocrites.

Not so the steadfast onion, stoat and strong, 
Portly of form, quick to resent a wrong
   When friend or foe rash liberties would take.
   How valiantly, they support a steak
Or character to flaccid tripe impart;
Yet fume in purple passion to the smart
   Of some too unkind cut that pricks the hide
   Of their high self-esteem and lordly pride.  

I've known men like potatoes in my time.
So meek they count all vioence a crime,
   Such pale, pacific, wide-eyed warts in life,
   They crumble at the first vague hint of strife;
And I've known men more of the onion's breed.
Peaceful enough when rightly used, indeed;
   But quick to spring hot-blooded to the fray
   At the first threat to filch their rights away.

Give me an onion-man to be my friend;
To fight beside me to the bitter end
   And all the tribe of spud-folk to defy
   Till maudlin tears streamed forth from every eye. . . .
Surely some moral's lurking here to see. 
If one would stalk the apt analogy:
   Nations of onions all earth may defy;
   But weak potato nations wilt and die.  

Herald, 27 January 1937
The Queenslander, 5 August 1937, p3
Random Verse edited by Margaret Herron, 1952

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2011