The Automatic Umpire by C.J. Dennis

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A selenium cell installed at Lords, by switching on a bulb as visibility declines, is intended to relieve umpires of much responsibility in deciding when light is too poor for play.  The device suggests possibilities in the football field.

Now, Plugger Palook was a man in a thousand --
   (Said Horace the Howler) not one of yer fools.
But his barrackers vowed that he wasn't allowed
   Full scope for his talents account o' the rools.
For Plugger Palook was a footballer.  Get me?
   An' one of the old-school.  A wonder!  A wow!
He was no lily-handed gazook to be branded
   No sort of weaklin'.  Not Plugger; no how.
Not much of a kicker -- not so you would notice --
   His handball an' passin' left much to desire;
A dub at high-markin', his business was narkin'
   An' knocking out umpires wot rose up his ire.
He'd done in a dozen first half of the season,
   But the depth of officials you never can tell.
Now, a shortage they're fearin'; so, Plugger, not hearin',
   They goes an puts in a serlenium cell!
The dawgs!  Plugger starts in the very first quarter
   An' gets a bit rough'ouse in makin' things hot
When the cells says, "Now, Plugger!  You ain't playin' rugger
   Let up on them larrups."  An' Plugger says, WOT!!"
'Twas the first time in years than an umpire had cheeked him;
   So Plugger lets out a sockdollager crack.
There's a flash an' a sizzle; then he does a mizzle
   And lands out-o'-bounds on the broad of his back.
Well I'll say he was game, tho' a good bit bewildered,
   For he comes back again when he finds he is whole.
Then he tries for to tackle, but soars with a crackle,
   Up, clean thro' the posts; an' the crowd it roars, "Goal!"...
An' the heads calls that football! (said Horace the Howler)
   Deep pity for him in me proud heart it wells.
A champion world-beater!  A reel umpire eater!
   Done in an' disgraced by serlenium cells!

First published in The Herald, 6 June 1935

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 6, 2013 7:17 AM.

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