P.O.E.T.S. Day! John Banister Tabb

It’s that time again. From the Scottish midlands or wherever Edinburgh lies, we bring you another P.O.E.T.S. Day – Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday.

So gird your loins and set your best poker face. It’s time to get out of work a few hours before closing and get yourself to a bar, but that’s going to require a moderate lie. Don’t worry about the morality of lying. They’re the ones taking your weekend from you. All you are doing is reclaiming your time from the workaday usurpers.

Did you just get a call from someone who found your beloved lost dog? You did? That’s great. Your boss would have to be Scrooge not to let you go pick up Fido immediately. Did your neighbor just call to let you know that your dog was just hit by a car? She did? Bereft and hollowed you have to go right away. The latter works best if you don’t have a dog. Try the former when dogless and you may later have to come up with lies to cover your original lie and it gets complicated.

Keep it simple. Come join us at the bar. Jeopardy starts at three.

Todays poem comes from John Banister Tabb, a former blockade runner for the Confederacy turned Catholic priest after some time in a Union prison. He’s most notable for the creative titles he gave to his poetry collections: Poems (1894), Lyrics (1897), Later Lyrics (1902), and – although published posthumously I feel he would approve of the chosen title – Later Poems (1910).

I’m not terribly familiar with his work but I’ve been reading about St. Christopher, patron saint of children and travelers and came upon this. I kind of liked it. It’s simple but tells a tale.

Without further ado:

St. Christopher

It was a very little Boy
That on the river side
Stood calling, ‘Ferryman, ahoy!
Come, take me o’er the tide!’

The Ferryman came wading on,
And seeing but a child,
‘Get up upon my shoulder, Son,’
He said, and, stooping, smiled.

But when into the stream again
The giant boldly strode,
His every muscle was astrain
Beneath the growing load;

Till finally, with failing strength,
He reached the other bank,

And putting down the Boy, at length
Upon the margin sank.

‘Who art thou,’ wondering, he cried,
‘That hast so burdened me?’
‘The Son of God,’ the Boy replied,
‘Who bore the Cross for thee.

‘Henceforth thy task pursuing here
For love of souls forlorn
Thou’lt bear the name of Christopher,
As thou the Christ hast borne;

‘And little sufferers that see
How great is thy reward
Shall cry, ‘like Christopher are we
Thy Ferrymen, O Lord.”


The beer is cold, the wine is well chosen, and the bar is filled with liquors ready to be drunk straight or to engage in dalliances with all manner of mixtures.

Escape the office.

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